Lili Kraus (1905-1986)
Lili Kraus was born in Budapest Hungary in 1903. She studied at the Franz Liszt Academy. At 17 years of age she studied at the Budapest Conservatory under Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók. She later studied piano with the famous pianist Artur Schnabel.
During the 1930s, Lili toured Europe, Japan, Australia, and South Africa. Lili and her family were captured by the Japanese and interned in separate concentration camps from June 1943 until August 1945. After the war Lili moved to New Zealand where she played, performed, and taught piano. She became a citizen of New Zealand and toured a lot and taught many students. From 1967-1983 Lili taught piano at the Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. She then moved to Asheville, North Carolina and died in 1986.
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Franz Schubert was an Austrian composer, pianist, and violinist. He is known today for his famous ‘Trout’ Quintet, Unfinished Symphony, piano sonatas, and his more than 600 lieder, or German Art Songs. Schubert was an extremely prolific composer during his short life (he lived to be 31 years old and died from Syphilis). Schubert was one of the pallbearers at Beethoven’s funeral in 1827. He died the following year.
Here are selections from Franz Schubert’s Valses Sentimentales op. 50 played by Lili Kraus. I hope that you enjoy this beautiful music.
On September 13, 1889 violinist Herr Krahmer and pianist Herr Schmalfuss recorded Beethoven’s Romance in F Major, op.50. Here is that recording.) First you will hear an extract from the piece played by Louise Chisson (recorded in 2010). Then you will hear the 1889 recording which will be followed by a recording of the whole piece played by Jascha Heifetz with the RCA Victor Orchestra.
The 1889 recording is in very bad shape and it is hard to make out the violin and piano. If you listen carefully you can hear the instruments. In December of 1889 Johannes Brahms was recorded playing the piano. A historic year indeed! Enjoy.
Here is a recording of ‘Két Gitár’ (a traditional gypsy tune called Two Guitars) and Brahms Hungarian Dance no.5 performed in a gypsy style by gypsy violinist Roby Lakatos and pianist Frantisek Janoska for ABC Radio.
Roby Lakatos is a gypsy violinist who has a family that goes back seven generations of gypsy musicians all the way back to the “King of Gypsy violinists” Janos Bihari. He can play in just about any style (gypsy music, classical, and jazz) and has performed with many of the world’s great orchestras as well as his own ensemble. He makes playing the violin look effortless and doesn’t even break out in a sweat when he plays.
Frantisek Janoska is an up and coming pianist who is comfortable playing gypsy music as well as jazz. He often performs with Roby Lakatos’ ensemble and his brother Roman (a jazz violinist). Frantisek Janoska has his own group which performs gypsy music as well as jazz and classical music in a gypsy style.
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Franz Schubert was an Austrian composer. He composed piano sonatas, waltzes,various other dances, symphonies, string trios, piano trios, quartets, quintets, and more than 600 German Art Songs (or lieder). Today Schubert is known for his ‘Trout’ Quintet, his chamber music, and his more than 600 songs.
In 1826 Schubert was at Mr. Kupelweiser’s wedding. He played a waltz but never wrote it down. The waltz was passed down by ear for several generations. In the 20th century Richard Strauss (a friend of a distant relative of Kupelweiser) was asked to transcribe the waltz. He wrote down the melody and harmonized it adding a few of his own harmonic touches to the music.
Here is the ‘Kupelweiser’ waltz played by a pianist from a youtube recording. I don’t know the name of the pianist who is playing the waltz.
Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)
Frederic Chopin was a Polish composer and piano virtuoso. Chopin wrote almost all of his compositions for solo piano. He wrote concertos for piano, etudes, preludes, nocturnes, waltzes, impromptus and mazurkas, polonaises, and much more. Most of his music is simple in texture with an accompanied melody. His music is often very expressive and full of ornamental flourishes. There is always a slight melancholic emotion in Chopin’s music.
Jorge Bolet (1914-1990)
Jorge Bolet was a Cuban pianist that was born in America. Bolet has been described by many pianists as a great pianist. It took him a long time to get recognition as a pianist. It wasn’t until a recital at Carnegie Hall in 1974 that Bolet got major recognition. Bolet is especially known for his expressive interpretations of Franz Liszt’s piano music, but he recorded music by many other composers. Here is a recording of Chopin’s Nocturne op.15, no.2 played by Jorge Bolet. The playing is very expressive and full of emotion. He gets colors out of the piano that many pianists (including great pianists) don’t always get in their interpretations (for example Vladimir Horowitz). Jorge Bolet often performed on Baldwin pianos instead of Steinways.
Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)
Frederic Chopin was a Polish composer and pianist. He is unique as a composer because most of his compositions are for solo piano. Besides his works for solo piano Chopin also composed 2 piano concertos, 4 works for piano and orchestra, a piano trio, duos, 20 songs for voice and piano, 1 piano duet, and some arrangements and transcriptions.
Chopin composed his two piano concertos when he was 19 years old. They were composed shortly before he moved to Paris. He would spend most of his life composing and performing in Paris and die there in 1849.
Artur Rubinstein (1887-1982) is a famous 2oth century Polish-Jewish pianist. He is known for his fine interpretations of Chopin’s piano music . His playing has an impeccable sense of style, warm lyricism, and passionate eloquence. Here is a recording of Artur Rubinstein playing the 2nd movement of Chopin’s piano concerto no.1. I hope that you enjoy it.
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
Edvard Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is best known among classical music lovers for his Piano Concerto and Peer Gynt suite for orchestra.
Edvard Grieg also composed several sets of pieces for piano called the lyric pieces. Here is the first set of lyric pieces by Edvard Grieg. They are played by pianist Eva Knardahl. Eva has recorded all of Grieg’s piano music.
Edvard Grieg was a fine pianist and he composed his piano concerto for himself when he was a young man. Grieg made several piano roll recordings. You can hear two of them on youtube if you search for Grieg piano rolls. Enjoy!