The Complete Josef Hofmann: vol. 9
52058-2 (2 CDs) | $36
The culmination of over a decade of releases, Marston is issuing the final volume of the complete Josef Hofmann recordings. Hofmann combined unparalleled virtuosity with emotion, understanding, and spontaneity to create some of the finest piano playing ever recorded. This set begins with newly mastered transfers of the three wax cylinders from 1896, originally released on our three-CD set The Dawn of Recording. Using new pitch stabilization technology, we have been able to improve, albeit slightly, the sonic reproduction of the cylinders recorded in Russia by the twenty year-old Hofmann, shortly following the death of his teacher, Anton Rubinstein. Included on this final volume are several alternative takes of Columbia and Brunswick recordings not offered on earlier volumes, the soundtrack of the film produced by the Bell Telephone Company that was shown in movie theaters to promote their radio program, “The Telephone Hour”, as well as a recently discovered, superior-sounding, source for the Cadillac Hour program from 1936, in which Hofmann gives a spectacular performance of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”. We issued this broadcast on volume six, but we want to make sure that Hofmann enthusiasts have the opportunity to own this better-sounding source. We have waited several years to produce this set, hoping to be able to discover further broadcast recordings of Hofmann in the interim (notes for the set will include a listing of Hofmann broadcasts which we know were recorded). As none of the eagerly-sought recordings have appeared, we are going ahead with some non-musical recordings concerning Hofmann. Half of the set will feature a collection of recorded interviews, conducted mostly by Gregor Benko. In these, which date back to the 1970s, we hear fascinating commentary by Rudolph Ganz, Jorge Bolet, Charles Rosen, Gian-Carlo Menotti, Glenn Gould, Constance Keene, Nella Rubinstein, Ruth Steinway, and Hofmann’s son, Anton, speaking candidly about Hofmann the pianist and Hofmann the man. One interview, with a minor pianist whose name will be unfamiliar to most, Thadeus Sadlowski, is both fascinating and funny (while most of them are anything but funny.) Choosing these interviews from the large number that Gregor Benko collected and recorded, then editing them for content, has taken hundreds of hours of intense work, and we feel that they make a fitting finale to the complete Josef Hofmann CD series. We will never cease our search for additional Hofmann recordings, which if discovered, we will make every effort to publish.