Discussion:
Paul Badura-Skoda, brilliant pianist, 91
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J.D. Baldwin
2019-09-30 20:24:53 UTC
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I just learned that Paul Badura-Skoda died last week at the age of 91.
He came to my attention via some reviews of his Beethoven sonata
recordings, which were performed on "period" instruments of
Beethoven's era. I am, to put it mildly, over-familiar with this part
of the classical repertoire, and Badura-Skoda's renditions opened my
eyes to a whole new way of seeing these pieces. I would recommend any
of them to anyone with two ears and a functioning brain between them.
The recordings of the final three sonatas (op. 109-111) are
particularly astonishing.

He also led me to a deeper understanding of some of Schubert's
greatest solo piano works.

I once met the Maestro. He performed an all-Mozart program at the
Kennedy Center as part of a series marking the 200th anniversary of
Mozart's death (so, 1991). I've seen performances by some real
greats, up to and including Rudolf Serkin, and that was one of the
three or four great concerts of my life. The audience demanded, and
got, three encores.

When attending a performance by an artist I *really* admire, I try to
take a couple of CD inserts and a pen on the off chance I get an
opportunity to have them signed. So when I heard that he'd be in the
greenroom after the concert, I hustled back there. Some other
audience members had vinyl albums with them for signing! Anyway, I
presented him with my CD inserts of Beethoven sonatas, and he held
them in front of him and said that he was unaware those had been
reissued on CD. I said I had those and named a few of the other
Beethoven sonata CDs I owned, and he was (or acted) impressed that I
could rattle them off. I congratulated him on an amazingly crisp
performance of the K.545 sonata, which Mozart named his "easy" sonata,
and admitted that I could never quite get all the way through it,
myself. He laughed and said he has never considered that sonata to be
"easy" at all. He shook my hand -- something about which I have not
shut up since -- and I said good night.

Just needed to get that story out. Anyway, go check his stuff out if
you don't already know it.

Obit:

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/classical-music-news/pianist-paul-badura-skoda-has-died-at-the-age-of-91

Pianist Paul Badura-Skoda has died at the age of 91
Rob Cowan
Thu 26th September 2019

Badura-Skoda was much respected and played under the baton of
Wilhelm Furtwängler, Herbert von Karajan, Hans Knappertsbusch,
Hermann Scherchen and George Szell

Hearing of the Austrian pianist Paul Badura-Skoda's passing on
September 25 just short of his 92nd birthday brought back happy
memories of enjoying his many distinguished recordings on the
Westminster label. In fact, in 2017 Deutsche Grammophon, who own
Westminster's catalogue, released a 20-disc "Paul Badura-Skoda
Edition" in honour of the pianist's 90th birthday.

Until his death, Badura-Skoda had been among the last pupils of
Edwin Fischer still performing. He was much respected, having
played under the baton of Fischer's friend and colleague Wilhelm
Furtwängler, as well as under Herbert von Karajan, Hans
Knappertsbusch, Hermann Scherchen (who conducts Beethoven's five
concertos included in the "Edition") and George Szell. Along with
his piano-playing contemporaries Friedrich Gulda and Jörg Demus he
was part of the so-called "Viennese Troika".

Badura-Skoda was an especially noteworthy exponent of Mozart's
piano concertos, a number of which he set down on disc, although
his way with Schubert -- most notably the piano-four-hands
repertory with Demus (DG) -- was unforgettably persuasive and he
was also highly adept in the music of Chopin (whose concertos he
recorded under Artur Rodzinski), Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov and
Scriabin. He toyed with many keyboard instruments, from accordion
and a "Computer-Controlled Bösendorfer Grand Piano" to numerous
early instruments, all included in a seven-disc set on the Kleos
label (CDKL5117) that featured among its contents works by Bach,
Berg, Brahms, Chopin, Haydn, Liszt, Martin, Ravel, Scarlatti, and
Villa-Lobos (see Replay, April 2005).

Perhaps most revealing of all are his two cycles of Schubert solo
sonatas, the first from 1967-68 for RCA Victor (the CD reissue was
reviewed by Jed Distler in our December 2017 issue) and a second
recording (Arcana, 1991-96) where Badura-Skoda used only
fortepianos from Schubert's time, or a little later, and where
"depth, insight, beauty, authenticity and penetrating
interpretation" (according to one critic) won the day.

He is probably the only pianist to have not only recorded the
Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert sonatas complete, but to have
employed both historic and modern instruments as part of the plan.
Badura-Skoda also made distinguished chamber music recordings with
the likes of the cellist Antonio Janigro and the violinist Jean
Fournier.

Twentieth-century music was also on his agenda. He collaborated
with the Swiss composer Frank Martin, producing editions and
recordings of his music, as well as preparing several articles on
it.

He was widely celebrated for his musical scholarship, often along
with his wife Eva Badura-Skoda. The Badura-Skodas edited one of
the volumes of Mozart's piano concertos for the Neue Mozart-
Ausgabe (consisting of K.453, 456, and 459). They also produced
books on the interpretation of the piano music of Mozart and the
keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach, which have been
translated into several languages. Scholar-musicians of this high
calibre are not exactly thick on the ground and I would urge
readers to investigate further, preferably using the "Paul Badura-
Skoda Edition" as a starting point.
--
_+_ From the catapult of |If anyone objects to any statement I make, I am
_|70|___:)=}- J.D. Baldwin |quite prepared not only to retract it, but also
\ / ***@panix.com|to deny under oath that I ever made it.-T. Lehrer
***~~~~----------------------------------------------------------------------
J.D. Baldwin
2019-09-30 20:49:44 UTC
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Mozart K.545:



Enjoy.
--
_+_ From the catapult of |If anyone objects to any statement I make, I am
_|70|___:)=}- J.D. Baldwin |quite prepared not only to retract it, but also
\ / ***@panix.com|to deny under oath that I ever made it.-T. Lehrer
***~~~~----------------------------------------------------------------------
Lewis Perin
2019-09-30 22:22:27 UTC
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Post by J.D. Baldwin
I just learned that Paul Badura-Skoda died last week at the age of 91.
He came to my attention via some reviews of his Beethoven sonata
recordings, which were performed on "period" instruments of
Beethoven's era. I am, to put it mildly, over-familiar with this part
of the classical repertoire, and Badura-Skoda's renditions opened my
eyes to a whole new way of seeing these pieces. I would recommend any
of them to anyone with two ears and a functioning brain between them.
The recordings of the final three sonatas (op. 109-111) are
particularly astonishing.
He also led me to a deeper understanding of some of Schubert's
greatest solo piano works.
I once met the Maestro. He performed an all-Mozart program at the
Kennedy Center as part of a series marking the 200th anniversary of
Mozart's death (so, 1991). I've seen performances by some real
greats, up to and including Rudolf Serkin, and that was one of the
three or four great concerts of my life. The audience demanded, and
got, three encores.
When attending a performance by an artist I *really* admire, I try to
take a couple of CD inserts and a pen on the off chance I get an
opportunity to have them signed. So when I heard that he'd be in the
greenroom after the concert, I hustled back there. Some other
audience members had vinyl albums with them for signing! Anyway, I
presented him with my CD inserts of Beethoven sonatas, and he held
them in front of him and said that he was unaware those had been
reissued on CD. I said I had those and named a few of the other
Beethoven sonata CDs I owned, and he was (or acted) impressed that I
could rattle them off. I congratulated him on an amazingly crisp
performance of the K.545 sonata, which Mozart named his "easy" sonata,
and admitted that I could never quite get all the way through it,
myself. He laughed and said he has never considered that sonata to be
"easy" at all. He shook my hand -- something about which I have not
shut up since -- and I said good night.
Just needed to get that story out. Anyway, go check his stuff out if
you don't already know it.
Thanks for the personal story!

/Lew
---
Lew Perin / ***@acm.org
https://babelcarp.org

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