Walter Gieseking: His First Concerto Recordings
Gieseking, Walter; Wood, Henry; London Philharmonic Orchestra; Rosbaud, Hans; Böhm, Karl; Staatskapelle Berlin; Walter, Bruno; Wiener Philharmoniker; Saxon State Orchestra
Although his post-war recordings are best known, many regard Gieseking’s finest years in the studio as the 1930s and this set includes all the concerto recordings he made in that decade. He didn’t record much Liszt, but the first concerto he set down was that composer’s 1st, and he gives a swashbuckling performance, revealing a very different side of his pianism to the refinement of his justly renowned Debussy and Ravel. Another Gieseking favourite was Grieg and he gives a classic account of the concerto with the two exquisitely performed Lyric Pieces which were the filler on the final side of the original 78rpm set also included. Gieseking’s Beethoven is classical and Mozartean so it’s no surprise that the 1st concerto comes off particularly well, though Bruno Walter’s contribution in the ‘Emperor’ makes it also a major event. Columbia’s sound is excellent for its time.