Works by Schumann, Schubert and Beethoven
KASP 57722

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KASP 57722—Works by Schumann, Schubert and Beethoven

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The American Record Guide said of this disc:

"Swiss pianist Aeschbacher (1912-2002), a pupil of Schnabel, was a thorough artist and well deserves to be remembered for his recordings, recitals, and appearances with Furtwangler. While the recordings are monaural, the sound is perfectly good, with no distortion.
The Fantasy Pieces are most sensitively played. 'Traumes Wirren's attests to the pianist's technical ability, and one would have to return to Richter in order to find a rival. Beethoven's Sonata 17 is known these days as the Tempest Sonata. Aeschbacher plays the opening movement with pin-point accuracy and restrained use of pedal. Any fury built into the printed page is revealed in his thrilling execution of the notes. The ensuing Adagio is highly concentrated and the final Allegretto a model of delicacy and nuance. This is easily one of the best performances I have encountered of this music.
Schubert's Sonata fragment in E, D 459 and the Adagio in C, D 459A are exquisitely played. There is imagination aplenty, without distorting the music. That he lived to 90 years of age only serves to underline the tragedy of not hearing him before this reissue. The brief notes are to the point, and this outstanding issue is of the not-to-be-missed category."

The Audiophile Audition wrote:

"The opening Schumann 1837 Fantasiestuecke, Op. 12 (20 October 1954) from Stuttgart reveals Aeschbacher for the natural Schumann disciple we know from his exquisite Davidsbuendler Taenze released prior on KASP 57671."
"Wonderful dynamic shades permeate Aeschbacher's rendition, and those who revel in the Leschetizky-Schnabel tradition should find in Aeschbacher a remarkably athletic and intellectually acute exponent whose gifts demand more exposure ... "

According to the Classical Music Guide:

"Aeschbacher is one of Schumann's great interpreters of all time."

Though there was never any doubt in our minds about the great artistry of Swiss pianist Adrian Aeschbacher (1912-2002), or of our desire to present another disc of his playing, we were particularly pleased that our previous release, of his performances of the Romances and Davidsbündlertänze of Schumann, and the Moments Musicaux of Schubert on KASP 57671, received unanimous praise.

Originally a student of his father, the choral conductor, Carl Aeschbacher, Adrian Aeschbacher later worked with Emil Frey and Volkmar Andreae at the Zürich Conservatory before moving to Berlin in 1932, where he studied with Artur Schnabel. During his early and middle years he had a very active performing career in Europe and South America. He also made many recordings, particularly of works of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Brahms though, aside from the previous KASP release, few of them are currently available, with the exception of performances of the Beethoven First Concerto and the Brahms Second Concerto with Furtwängler, and the Bach D minor Three Piano Concerto with Edwin Fischer and Paul Baumgartner.

It is no exaggeration to describe the performance presented here of Schumann's Fantasiestücke as one of the finest ever made. Adrian Aeschbacher breathed this composer's idiom in a way not equaled by many others.

If he understood Schumann through and through, Adrian Aeschbacher succeeded no less with the two Schubert works he plays here. The E major Sonata Fragment on this disc moves along beautifully, yet efficiently, with taste and class. The C major Adagio, by contrast, rather like some of the Moments Musicaux, becomes a larger and deeper work than it seems at first glance, and provides some of the most gorgeous and heartfelt moments on this recording.

Finally, we come to Beethoven's Tempest Sonata. Beethoven was also a leading composer in the musical life and career of Adrian Aeschbacher. His teacher, Artur Schnabel, was the first person to record the 32 piano sonatas of the great man from Bonn, and was particularly famous for his insight into this music. Aeschbacher spent a great deal of time working on, and thinking about this music, too. And, in the 1958-59 season, he performed the entire cycle of the 32 sonatas in Zürich, later repeating it in Bern, Basel, Düsseldorf and Amsterdam. As one can hear in this interpretation, by turns gentle, stormy, dramatic but always convincing, Adrian Aeschbacher was deeply imbued with the spirit of this music.

KASP 57722:

Robert Schumann
Fantasiestücke, Op. 12

Franz Schubert
Sonata Fragment in E Major, K. 459
Adagio in C Major, K. 459A

Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2 (Tempest)

Adrian Aeschbacher, Piano


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