KENTNER Beethoven: Hammerklavier Sonata, Liszt: 2 Pieces (1939/41) - PAKM034

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KENTNER Beethoven: Hammerklavier Sonata, Liszt: 2 Pieces (1939/41) - PAKM034

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BEETHOVEN Hammerklavier Sonata
LISZT Liebesträume No. 3, Gnomenreigen

    Recorded in 1939 & 1941
    Total duration: 50:51

    Louis Kentner, piano

    This set contains the following albums:

    An astonishing transfer of a sublime performance

    Setting new standards for 1930s piano remastering

    The sound quality of the remastered Beethoven Hammerklavier recording here came as something of a surprise to me. My initial response to the discs, upon replay, was that they were not only in excellent physical condition, but also that the recording appeared to be quite good for its era, if a little on the thin side. There was also a problem throughout most of the sides with swish, something which appears to afflict 78rpm discs at the recording stage, rather than being a product of a particular pressing; otherwise they were fine.

    I set about the XR remastering using a later Wilhelm Kempff recording as a sonic reference and, upon completion of restoration, had a nice-sounding 'finished' product, though one which sounded a little muted and was perhaps still somewhat unconvincing in the bass. At this point in the restoration process I had just received copies of the Ashkenazy Beethoven Sonata recordings and, noting that for his recording of this piece, Ashkenazy's piano was perfectly in tune (and therefore ready for me to use), decided our of curiosity to quickly re-equalise the Kentner to the tonal "map" of Ashkenazy's piano.

    The result was nothing short of astonishing. Suddenly the recording came to life in a way it simply hadn't previously - the piano tone was entirely convincing and immediately showed Kentner's interpretation in an entirely new light. Although there inevitably remain some artefacts of shellac surface noise and other hints as to the vintage of the recording, it's easy to forget whilst listening to this performance that it pre-dates the Second World War. Quite simply, this is the best sound quality I've heard from any piano recording of its era. For me this remastering truly represents a personal milestone.

    Andrew Rose

    • BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 29 ‘Hammerklavier' in B flat, Op. 106
      Recorded in 1939
      Issued as five UK Columbia 78: DX.912-916

      Matrix numbers CAX.8492 - 8501
      Takes 2, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1

    • LISZT: Liebesträume No. 3
    • LISZT: Gnomenreigen (from 2 Konzertetüden)
      Recorded on 3rd September, 1941, at Abbey Road Studio 3, London
      Issued as UK Columbia 78: DX.1038

      Matrix numbers CAX.8928-1 - CAX.8927-1

    All transfers from original UK Columbia 78rpm discs from the Pristine Audio collection.
    All transfers and XR remastering by Andrew Rose at Pristine Audio, October 2009
    Cover artwork based on a photograph of Louis Kentner

    Total duration: 50:51

    Louis Kentner, piano