Franz Haydn (1732-1809):
-- DISC 1 --
Sonata No. 13 in G Major, Hob.XVI:6
Fantasia (Capriccio) in C Major, Hob.XVII:4
Sonata No.62 in E Flat Major, Hob.XVI:52
Tema con Variazioni in C Major, Hob.XVII:5
Sonata No.50 in D Major, Hob.XVI:37
Arietta con Variazioni in A Major, Hob.XVII:2
-- DISC 2 --
Sonata No.13 in G Major, Hob.XVI:6
Capriccio in G Major, Hob.XVII:1
Sonata No.35 in A Flat Major, Hob.XVI:43
Arietta con Variazioni in E Flat Major, Hob.XVII:3
Sonata No.60 in C Major, Hob. XVI:50
Andante Varie in F Minor, Hob.XVII:6
Piano: Nadia Reisenberg
Producer: Michael Rolland Davis
Engineer: Ed Thompson
(ADD) Recorded by Westminster 8/55, 12/56, 3/58.
Remastered using 20-Bit State-of-the-Art Technology - HDCD Encoded
Nadia Reisenberg (1904-1983), who studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, emigrated to the United States where she became a pupil of Alexander Lambert (a Liszt student) and Josef Hofmann. Her career as teacher and virtuosa spanned over 60 years. During her years at Juilliard, she produced many fine artists. She was a gifted performer with rare sensitivity and musical elegance. These historic and collectible performances are a testimonial to her illustrious career.
Nadia Reisenberg was born in Vilnius in 1904. She studied in St Petersburg with Leonid Nikolaev, who also taught Shostakovich, before leaving around the time of the Revolution, eventually making her way to New York. There she studied with the Liszt student Alexander Lambert and later with Josef Hofmann. Concert soloist, recitalist and teacher Reisenberg died in 1983. Ivory Classics have here reissued her three Westminster LPs, originally recorded between 1955-58 and devoted to her Haydn readings. They were made before the Christa Landon edition was published so the editions used were of their time. Nevertheless these are tremendously compelling examples of superior pianism ? and not simply Haydn pianism. Her impulse toward precise articulation means that you will find few examples of exaggeration, either in matters of tempo or dynamics. The last emerges as perfectly natural and not at all mechanically constricted. She is a romanticist, certainly, but an astute one. Her first movements tend to be energetic but elegant, her slow movements vested with real expressivity, her finales full of verve. Indeed in almost all performances one finds examples of a consummately lyrical but immaculately aware mind at work.
Thus for example one can admire the genial left hand pointing in the Minuet of the G major Sonata or the beautiful diminuendi she makes in the repeated phrases of that sonata’s Adagio. She can be robust, as in the Fantasia in C major, and she can charm ? listen to the opening movement of the E flat major sonata. Her fingerwork in the Adagio is a well nigh perfect instrument for conveying sensitive lines, her communicative generosity reaching an apogee in the same work’s Presto finale, the line kept constantly and invigoratingly alive. She doesn’t overplay the etched humour of the finale of the D major sonata preferring instead to infer than to parade. The contrasts she makes between forte passages in the opening movement of one of the most impressive of the sonatas, the E minor, No 53 is consistently illuminating. And if the slow movement seems somewhat under inflected here it is nevertheless sensitive. The finale is certainly full of the most delicious voicings, rippling left hand, filigree right, marvellously alive and inventive. The sense of just momentum generated internally, as it were, is evident in the Rondo finale of the A flat sonata in which the melodic curve is splendidly delineated. Her trills in the E flat major Arietta con Variazioni are perfectly weighted and she abjures over-sentimentalising here and elsewhere. Her pointing is superb and in the Allegro of the C major sonata, No 60, she can run from felicitous treble to a stuttering bombastic bass without cocking an eyebrow or turning a hair. And so in the finale she can turn her hand to a fine and sturdy Allegro, running the gamut of technical flourishes with utter security.
All in all I would be strongly tempted to recommend this Ivory Classics double to those yet to be smitten by Haydn’s piano music. Irrespective of the year of publication of these discs, irrespective of the edition used, these enlivening, elucidatory and generous performances resound down nearly fifty years of recorded history; they were something of a revelation to me and earn an early place in my Record of the Year selection.
Music Web.com, Feb. 2003
Reisenberg is sensational! She brings seasoned mastery, pinpointed fingerwork, singing tone, unerring proportion, and graceful firmness to each one of these ingenuous works. Moreover, she underscores the composer's metric and harmonic sleights-of-hand with effortless expressive economy, and scales her dynamics to telling effect. Tempos are impeccably judged. Excellent, informative booklet notes top off this truly distinctive release.
Classics Today, May. 2000
Nadia Reisenberg was born in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1904 and came to the States in 1922. She studied at Curtis Institute in Philadelphia with Josef Hofmann who, with Paderewski, was in the audience at her debut recital in New York in 1924. She performed the complete cycle of Mozart's piano concertos in New York in 1938-39, almost 20 years before Lili Kraus did. A highly respected teacher, she was active up to her death in 1983. If her Mozart marathon was as distinguished as this series of sonatas and shorter pieces by Haydn, it must have been memorable. Originally released on 3 LPs on the Westminster label; on these two CDs they have sensibly been arranged so that each disc contains three sonatas, alternating with shorter pieces. Ms. Reisenberg plays this music - much of it underrated, if not virtually unknown - with affection, authority, impeccable technique and clarity of articulation, without a whiff of 'prettiness', and with a sense of adventure and - above all - humour, that is extraordinarily refreshing. And she is beautifully recorded: what more could one ask for?
International Classical Record Collector, Aug. 1999
These discs were extremely well received at the time of their release in the 1950's on Westminster. Reisenberg, to her great credit, did not romanticize or over dramatize Haydn. Nor were her dynamics ever exaggerated as one so often hears on the modern instrument today. This is sensitive, expressive playing, classically eloquent where needed and sparkling in the fast movements. Technically, too, all is on the highest level, with exceptionally well balanced voicing and careful, never smudged articulation. Her well defined lyrical shaping throughout gives much pleasure.
International Piano, Apr. 1999
These Nadia Reisenberg discs remind us of an elegant pianist, one whose delicacy of touch and detail of phrasing serve Haydn well. The outer movements of the Sonatas get the bold treatment they merit, while the slower movements have an elegantly simple surface that disguises a sophisticated poetic instinct. Recording transfers are impeccable.
BBC Music Magazine, Mar. 1999
Nadia Reisenberg (1904-1983) enjoyed a formidable international career as a performer. She was a student of Leonid Nikolaiev, guru to many of Russia's great pianists. In this recording, issued originally on the Westminster label in the mid 50's, Ms. Reisenberg delivers thoroughly idiomatic readings that spare no detail in their chiaroscuro delineation of Haydn's sparse but active counterpoint and sudden contrasting shifts of mood and register. The remastering is eminently effective: the quality of the recorded sound is at once clean, intimate, and warm, enhancing the gilded, bell-like edge Ms. Reisenberg draws from the upper registers of the piano.
American Record Guide, Jan. 1999
What a pianist this woman was! Where has she been all my life? I have never until now heard her playing, and under the impact of these discs, I greatly regret that I did not seek her recordings out long ago. These revelatory Haydn performances have been remastered in flawless, vivid, and alluring sound. Reisenberg's technique, indeed, is so good that it draws no attention to itself. Even the little G-Major Capriccio, emerges under her hands sounding like a masterpiece, full of arresting tonal transformations, which she executes with laughing-out-loud brilliance and aplomb. This Ivory 2-CD release of Nadia Reisenberg may very possibly transform your view of Haydn's too often underrated piano works. You simply must go out and buy these discs.
Fanfare Magazine, Jan. 1999
I must say that her artistry was undeniably of the highest order. This collection of Haydn works is a success in every way. Even the remastered sound of these 1950's recordings is excellent. Reisenberg's digital dexterity is stunning throughout all works, her dynamics are wide-ranging but never fulsome, her tempos judicious without sounding mechanical or calculated, and her technique is fully up to the demands. There isn't an unmusical note played by her, and I feel it a great shame that her talents were not fully recognized in her time. This is a major reissue worthy of consideration by virtually anyone.
www.cosmik.com/classics, Jan. 1999
In their own time these recordings were heralded as inspirational and models of Classical geometry and measure. They are no less brilliant today, and the Ivory restoration process has made them documents for all time. Reisenberg was a 'Romantic-Classic,' a chaste disciple of an art that originally thrived on self-expression, even to the point of sacrificing the music. But here we find a sublimated taste, a temperament reserved wholly for the musical art at hand. These are refined, revelatory readings.
Gary Lemco, Audio Auditions