SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch Complete - The Full Series - PABX017

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SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch Complete - The Full Series - PABX017

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Overview

Music by Bach, Beethoven, Bloch, Busoni, Chopin, Brahms, Debussy, Kabalevsky, Liszt, Mozart, Rachmaninov, Saeverud, Schumann et al

JASCHA SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch - Volume 1
JASCHA SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch - Volume 2
JASCHA SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch - Volume 3
JASCHA SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch - Volume 4
JASCHA SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch - Volume 5
JASCHA SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch - Volume 6
JASCHA SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch - Volume 7
JASCHA SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch - Volume 8
JASCHA SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch - Volume 9
JASCHA SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch - Volume 10
JASCHA SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch - Volume 11

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This set contains the following albums:

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SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch, Volume 1 (1955-67) - PAKM065

Introducing Jascha Spivakovsky (1896-1970), "One of the greatest pianists of our time"

First solo piano release from a brilliant pianist who never recorded commercially


“Back in Russia when I was four years old, my mother dragged me through
snowdrifts
twenty feet deep to hear an outstanding prodigy. YOU were that prodigy.”

Vladimir Horowitz, 1948

“The sensation of London. At the last evening concert in the Albert Hall it is estimated that
3,000 people were unable to gain admission, and there were scenes of wild enthusiasm.”

The Mercury

“Supreme mastery of the instrument and brilliant technique [and] that rarer quality to be described only as soul …
much as I want to hear Cortot, I want to 
hear Spivakovsky again still more”
Dover Express


Producing this first volume of recordings by the pianist Jascha Spivakovsky has been something of a global endeavour. Co-ordinated by Spivakovsky's grandson, Eden Spivakovsky initially from Singapore, now in Australia, with transfers overseen by Spivakovsky's son, Michael at a renowned mastering studio in Melbourne, Australia, the choices for this volume were then sent to me in France for audio restoration and remastering.

After much deliberation, this first volume concentrates on Jascha Spivakovsky's solo work - later volumes will include concerto and chamber music, the latter alongside Jascha's renowned violinist brother, Tossy Spivakovsky, and will delve further into the past. Most of the present recordings were made by Jascha during rehearsals for concerts and broadcasts in Australia in the 1960s, and were recorded by Michael Spivakovsky onto a mono Tandberg reel-to-reel tape recorder using a standard-issue microphone. They were not therefore intended for release, and it has been my task to elevate the quality of the recordings to a standard which not only is acceptable to modern listeners but also does full justice to Jascha Spivakovsky himself.

Using the most up-to-date audio restoration and remastering software, I've been able to correct pitch anomalies, compensate for the tonal inaccuracies of the microphone, eliminate electrical hum, greatly diminish tape hiss, and digitally "rehouse" Jascha in one of the more intimate concert halls at Santa Cecilia, Rome, renowned for fine musical acoustics which complement the piano's tone, without introducing a wash of unnatural reverberation.

This page can only serve as an introduction to the incredible musical story of Jascha Spivakovsky - for a fuller picture I strongly recommend you visit www.jascha.com and immerse yourself in an amazing musical voyage of discovery. As Damian Thompson of The Spectator wrote to me a few days ago, in response to first hearing Jascha Spivakovsky: "Greatest pianist I've never heard of? More like one of the greatest pianists I've heard."


Andrew Rose


SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch, Volume 2 (1955-67) - PAKM067

Jascha Spivakovsky: Second splendid volume from the brilliant pianist

More unreleased recordings from the Spivakovsky family archive, XR remastered by Andrew Rose


Following on from the well-received first volume, this second release by Jascha Spivakovsky continues to concentrate on his solo work. The present recordings were made by Jascha during rehearsals for concerts and broadcasts in Australia in the 1950s and 1960s, and were recorded by Michael Spivakovsky onto a mono Tandberg reel-to-reel tape recorder using a standard-issue microphone. They were not therefore intended for release, and it has been my task to elevate the quality of the recordings to a standard which not only is acceptable to modern listeners but also does full justice to Jascha Spivakovsky himself.

Using the most up-to-date audio restoration and remastering software, I've been able to correct pitch anomalies, compensate for the tonal inaccuracies of the microphone, eliminate electrical hum, greatly diminish tape hiss, and digitally "rehouse" Jascha in one of the more intimate concert halls at Santa Cecilia, Rome, renowned for fine musical acoustics which complement the piano's tone, without introducing a wash of unnatural reverberation.

This page can only serve as an introduction to the incredible musical story of Jascha Spivakovsky - for a fuller picture I strongly recommend you visit www.jascha.com and immerse yourself in an amazing musical voyage of discovery.

Andrew Rose

SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch, Volume 3 (1955-67) - PAKM070

This release of the Russian-born pianist Jascha Spivakovsky features recordings of four pivotal Beethoven Sonatas from key periods of the composer's output. Spivakovsky had a great affinity for Beethoven and his daring yet poetic readings demonstrate a fusion of passion with classical structure that mirrors the pianist's modern approach to Romanticism at the keyboard, whereby the heart of the score is revealed through transparent textures, a polished singing sound, and attentive voicing.

"Last night's concert at the Town Hall would be belittled If it were described merely as a piano recital. It was an experience of mind and spirit and a sincere artist's submergence of self and technical awareness into the world of Beethoven"
Sir Neville Cardus, Sydney Morning Herald, 1947

"From whatever angle one viewed the performance it was stamped with unmistakeable signs of rarity and greatness ... I have never seen an artist sit at the keyboard with less apparent concern for its existence other than as a medium for the realisation of a long-matured imaginative conception. So inflexible is Spivakovsky's mental control that not a bravura passage in all the four sonatas escaped its relationship to the interpretive whole"
John Sinclair, The Herald, 1947


SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch, Volume 4 (1948-66) - PAKM073

This fourth in our ongoing series of recordings by Jascha Spivakovsky offers a superb selection of recordings from a variety of sources, accompanied by excellent sleevenotes written for us by Mark Ainley, which details each performance.

From a technical point of view, once again there were a number of challenges to overcome, and recording quality was particularly varied. The opening piece, Bach's Fantasia in C minor, originated from an acetate disc Spivakovsky made in 1948. These were particularly delicate, designed for no more than a handful of replays before they begin to deteriorate, and are easily damaged. The disc in question was reasonably well preserved for its age, but there was some surface damage too severe to remove - I could only try to minimise its impact on the performance.

Thereafter we have a series of taped recordings made in different environments and with different microphones and equipment using different pianos on tapes of varying quality. In remastering these I have aimed for the best possible quality from each individual recording first and foremost, rather than trying to make each sound the same. This does mean there's a certain lack of continuity of sound, though of course not of performer. Happily the performances themselves are of such quality than any tonal jumps between pianos will quickly be forgotten as each new performance takes hold.

Finally, if you're wondering why this series is "From Bach to Bloch", it's simple: by the time we've finished, Bach will be the earliest composer in the series, dates-wise, Bloch the latest, with a whole lot of other fine music in between!

Andrew Rose

SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch, Volume 8 (1955-67) - PAKM080

This 8th volume devoted to the artistry of Jascha Spivakovsky features an array of solo works ranging from Baroque through late Romantic periods. All of these performances showcase the pianist’s musical versatility and remarkable interpretative abilities, his trademark crystalline transparency of texture and beauty of tone ever-present as he respects key stylistic parameters of each era while bringing individual touches to his interpretations.

Spivakovsky’s affinity with the music of Beethoven has been evident from the six sonata readings issued in previous volumes and is now even more apparent in the stellar 1955 and 1957 broadcast performances of two more in this volume. In these less frequently played early sonatas - Op.14 No.1 and Op.27 No.1 - the pianist’s magnificent clarity, rhythmic precision, and mindfully crafted phrasing serve to highlight both structure and character. Particularly notable is his capacity to provide emphasis without distorting the melodic line or hardening tonal quality: boldly shaped runs and accented octaves are never harsh yet provide the strong contrasts idiomatic to Beethoven’s writing, all the while sustaining the lyrical elements of the music.

A 1960 ABC broadcast of Schumann’s Arabeske finds Spivakovsky playing with fluid phrasing and sumptuous tone, his skilled pedalling enhancing colour without sullying the overall texture. The three Chopin works presented here from a 1967 ABC TV broadcast were featured elsewhere in this series in different interpretations, yet these later traversals help us to better appreciate variations and similarities in the pianist’s approach. Aged 70 at the time of the transmission (of which only the audio survives) and having already curtailed his international touring schedule due to a health crisis, Spivakovsky shows no diminution in his power or technical capacity, yet he eschews bombastic showmanship to temper strength with lyricism. The G Minor Ballade features the same breadth and expansiveness as the 1966 home practice session, with some differences in timing and phrasing. The Revolutionary Etude offers a touch more intensity than the home recording of a few years previously, yet with equal clarity and mindful shaping, while the Fantasie Impromptu is similar in intensity and drive to the issued 1955 reading yet with even greater depth of tone.

In a 1955 ABC broadcast of a once-popular Gluck encore - the Gavotte in A Major, beautifully arranged by Brahms - Spivakovsky plays with a sumptuous sonority, marvellous tonal and rhythmic control, and refined dynamic gradations. Time stands still as his burnished singing line in the middle section soars over the detached accompaniment. Two works by Brahms find the artist at his best, with wonderfully transparent layering and legato phrasing on his prized 1910 Blüthner recorded at his home in 1961. He plays in a manner similar to what can be heard in recordings made by pianists who knew the composer, with a vitality of rhythm and clarity of texture often lacking from the overly-serious readings of today. Jascha brings a unique combination of poise, enthusiasm, and wit to these performances, with supple phrasing and nuancing in the Intermezzo Op.119 No.3 and buoyancy and vivaciousness in the Capriccio Op.76 No.2.

With the final ‘encore’ of La Campanella - one of the few recordings we have of Spivakovsky playing Liszt - the 70-year-old pianist closes his 1967 television broadcast and this compilation with dazzling finger work, deftly-defined articulation, and glistening tone. Even in works as overtly virtuosic as this showpiece, he burnishes the melodic line and discreetly adjusts his timing to underline the emotional content of the work.

Once again Jascha Spivakovsky reveals his master musician status by striking an ideal balance between objectivity and individuality, being faithful to the score while adding refined personal touches that bring the music to life.

Mark Ainley

SPIVAKOVSKY Bach to Bloch, Volume 9 (1953-61) - PAKM081

This 9th volume of private recordings of the great Russian pianist Jascha Spivakovsky features the artist playing a wide range of repertoire, from Bach through to Spivakovsky’s contemporaries. As in previous releases, the listener can marvel at the glorious pianism of a musician who left behind no commercial solo discs and who is today enjoying worldwide appreciation by a new generation of piano fans.

This compilation opens with a live recording of Gavottes I & II from Bach’s English Suite No.3, an encore at a 1961 concert that took place shortly after Spivakovsky’s release from hospital (the same week as the Beethoven Concerto No.4 from Volume 7 and the same concert as the Bach-Busoni D Minor Concerto from a future