The legendary Schnabel Beethoven series continues
"They embody what may well prove to be the sonically finest transfer
that these recordings from the 1930s have received" Fanfare
Volume Three of this series marked the first commercial use of new software designed to deal with wow and flutter in mechanical recordings. It was a collaborative effort between myself and Mathis Nitschke of Celemony in Germany - restoration work was already underway and these files were sent to Mathis for treatment, before I was able to continue remastering. Since then I have "straightened out" Volumes One and Two from their final masters.
This fourth volume, however, marks the first in which the new pitch stabilisation process has commenced in what is probably its rightful place: at the beginning. In theory this should result in more accurate XR re-equalisation than ever possible before, though I strongly doubt whether any improvement would be such that it would be easily audible. But what this fourth volume has also benefited from is a general overall improvement in source quality over the third, and it is this - more than the precise point at which "Capstan" technology was applied - which has contributed most to the results heard here.
Of the three sonatas in this volume, it was the last-recorded, No. 12, which gave the most trouble as a consequence of greater surface "shash", but in the run of things all three were remarkably good and have produced a volume of which I'm particularly pleased and proud.
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 11 in B flat major, Op. 22
Recorded 12 April 1933, issued as HMV DB 2211-13
Matrix Numbers 2B.6616-21. All 1st takes except side 6: take 4
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 12 in A flat major, Op. 26 "March Funébre"
Recorded 25 April 1934, issued as HMV DB 2850-52
Matrix Numbers 2B.6166-6171. Takes 2, 2, 2, 1, 2, 4
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 13 in E flat major, Op. 27, No. 1 "Quasi una fantasia"
Recorded 1 November 1932, issued as HMV DB 1820-21
Matrix Numbers 2B.4461-64. Takes 2, 2, 1, 1
Artur Schnabel piano
Gramophone Historic Review
Beethoven Sonata Society Volume 2 (incl. Sonata No. 13)
"This Society, the oldest of the tribe, goes
ahead swimmingly with Vol. 2. I believe there is a good deal to be said
in favour of eventually making these records available for everybody,
but I take it there is no immediate intention of doing that. The
Societies are a sort of test of faith, rather after the style of the old
Quaker's attitude that I often recall: you remember how, when a friend
lamented to him the misfortune of another member of their community, and
said how sorry he was, Quaker No. 1 replied, "Aye, friend, and what is
thy sorrow worth? Mine's worth a guinea." Not sorrow, but rejoicing,
here: and is it not worth a guinea or two to rejoice so refreshingly?
Vol. 1 of Beethoven, I learn, was over-subscribed, as was the first
Wolf. (Somebody has cried "Wolf " and it really is so.) There are a few
vacancies for Beethoven 2 and Wolf 2, and for Sibelius and the Haydn
quartets (apply to the Secretary, at H.M.V.). The manager of the
Societies will get some very useful insight into "what the public
wants." It actually is "wants" for once—not, as almost always is meant
when that phrase is used, "what the public will stand." The other side
of the counter knows that!"
From The Gramophone, March 1933