Feuermann - one of the greatest cellists ever to be recorded
Two magnificant Philadephia recordings - superb transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn
Review of this release: Audiophile Audition
Notes on the recording:
The sources for the transfers were vinyl 78 rpm test pressings for the Bloch (including an unpublished take of the fourth side), and first-edition pre-war U.S. Victor “Gold” label shellacs for the Strauss. These two recordings, along with Feuermann’s December, 1939 recording of the Brahms Double Concerto with Heifetz (Ormandy again conducting) comprise the cellist’s complete recordings with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
notes from Wikipedia
Emanuel Feuermann (November 22, 1902, Kolomyia, Austro-Hungarian Empire – May 25, 1942, New York City) was a celebrated cellist.
Both of Feuermann's parents were amateur musicians. Feuermann's father, who played the violin and cello, was his first teacher. Feuermann's older brother Sigmund was also musically talented and their father decided to move the family to Vienna in 1907. At the age of nine, Feuermann received lessons from Friedrich Buxbaum and then studied with Anton Walter at the Music Academy in Vienna. In February 1914, aged eleven, he made his concert debut, playing Joseph Haydn's Cello Concerto in D major with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Felix Weingartner.
In 1917, Feuermann went to Leipzig where he studied with Julius Klengel. In 1919 Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Grützmacher (1866-1919), the nephew of Friedrich Wilhelm Grützmacher, died and Klengel recommended Feuermann for Grützmacher's position at the Gürzenich Conservatory in Cologne. In 1929, Feuermann became professor at the Musikhochschule in Berlin.
His musical collaborations during this time included violinists Carl Flesch, Szymon Goldberg, and Joseph Wolfsthal and Paul Hindemith, who played the viola in a string trio with Feuermann and Wolfsthal. Other collaborators included Jascha Heifetz and Artur Rubinstein.
On April 3, 1933, with the rise of Nazism, he lost his position at the Berlin Conservatory because of his Jewish background. He moved to London, along with Goldberg and Hindemith. He toured Japan and the United States (New York City). He then returned to Europe, where he married Eva Reifenberg in 1935. He played the solo part in the premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's Cello Concerto with Thomas Beecham conducting. He moved for some time to Zürich, but happened to be in Vienna at the time of the Anschluss. Bronislaw Huberman helped Feuermann and his family escape to Israel. From Israel they moved to the United States in 1937.
He taught at the Curtis Institute of Music.
His relationship with Paul Hindemith suffered, when Hindemith chose Gregor Piatigorsky to premiere his Cello Concerto.
Feuermann died in 1942 of an infection resulting from a minor operation for haemorrhoids.
Klengel wrote of Feuermann, "Of all those who have been entrusted to my guardianship, there has never been such a talent...our divinely favoured artist and lovable young man."
Musicians such as Artur Rubinstein and Arturo Toscanini considered him the greatest cellist.
When Feuermann made his American debut in 1935, the hall was packed with fellow cellists, who had come to hear something truly extraordinary. Following the performance a critic wrote, "Difficulties do not exist for Mr. Feuermann, even difficulties that would give celebrated virtuosi pause." In 1938 an English reviewer wrote in The Strad, following a concert, "I do not think there can any longer be doubt that Feuermann is the greatest living cellist, Casals alone excepted...In Feuermann we have a spectacular virtuosic artist of the front rank, the Wieniawski, shall I say, of the cello." He settled in the United States as a refugee from Nazi Europe in 1937.
The pallbearers at his funeral included some of the greatest musicians of his time: the pianists Rudolf Serkin and Artur Schnabel, the violinists Mischa Elman and Bronislaw Huberman, and the conductors George Szell, Eugene Ormandy, and Arturo Toscanini. During the procession, Toscanini broke down and cried, "This is murder!"
In 1954, when asked which cellists he particularly admired, Pablo Casals said, "What a great artist Feuermann was! His early death was a great loss to music."
Many believe that Feuermann's interpretation of Antonín Dvořák's Cello Concerto and his performance of Johannes Brahms's Double Concerto with Jascha Heifetz rank among the best ever.
Feuermann owned and played a Gofriller cello, later owned by American cellist Joseph Schuster; from Schuster, it passed to Jascha Silberstein. From 1932 until his death, Feuermann also owned an instrument made by another Venetian master luthier Domenico Montagnana in 1735. This instrument, which continues to bear his name, is today in the hands of a Swiss cellist and collector. Feuermann later traded it in for the De Munck Stradivarius cello built in 1730.
Notes from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Feuermann
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