Frederic Lamond
Rare Broadcasts and Selected Recordings

52071-2 (2 CDs)  | $ 36.00
PIANO

 

Frederic Lamond
Frederic Lamond was born in Glasgow in 1868. As a teenager, he studied with Hans von Bülow; had lessons with Liszt at Weimar and Rome; was coached by Brahms; and was greatly influenced by Anton Rubinstein, with whom he was well acquainted. In addition to being an early champion of Brahms, Lamond is considered an authority on Beethoven's piano music and is a member of that small circle of Liszt pupils who had the opportunity to make records. This two-CD set includes two concerto broadcasts, never before available, and his acoustic recordings of Beethoven sonatas issued here for the first time on CD. The set also includes a fascinating spoken reminiscence by Lamond about Liszt.

CD 1 (77:37)

BROADCASTS

BEETHOVEN:
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37
1.I. Allegro con brio (Cadenza by Clara Schumann)16:40
2.II. Largo9:14
3.III. Rondo - Allegro8:59
 Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, conducted by Eduard van Beinum 
 29 October 1939 
LISZT:
4.Piano Concerto No. 2 in A, S. 12521:51
 Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, conducted by Eduard van Beinum 
 7 February 1937 
5.Gnomenreigen, S. 145, No. 23:56
 Encore from Concertgebouw broadcast 
 7 February 1937 

SELECTED ACOUSTIC RECORDINGS

BEETHOVEN:
Piano Sonata No. 6 in F, Op. 10, No. 2
6.II. Allegretto3:32
 7 November 1921 
7.III. Presto2:29
 7 November 1921 
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2, “Moonlight”
8.I. Adagio sostenuto3:58
 16 June 1922 
9.II. Allegretto1:57
 16 June 1922 
10.III. Presto agitato5:01
 16 June and 3 April 1922 

CD 2 (73:32)

SELECTED ACOUSTIC RECORDINGS, continued

BEETHOVEN:
Piano Sonata No. 18 in E-flat, Op. 31, No. 3
1.II. Scherzo: Allegretto vivace3:59
 18 September 1923 
2.III. Menuetto: Moderato e grazioso3:52
 16 June 1922 
Piano Sonata No. 21 in C, Op. 53, “Waldstein”
3.I. Allegro con brio8:04
 16 June and 27 September 1922 
4.II. Introduzione: Adagio molto2:41
 18 September 1923 
5.III. Rondo: Allegretto moderato - Prestissimo9:19
 18 September 1923 
Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57, “Appassionata”
6.I. Allegro assai8:58
 18 September 1923 
7.II. Andante con moto4:51
 18 September 1923 
8.III. Allegro ma non troppo - Presto4:33
 18 September 1923 
CHOPIN
9.Mazurka in C-sharp Minor, Op. 63, No. 31:44
 17 December 1941 
10.Mazurka in F Minor, Op. 7, No. 32:29
 17 December 1941 

BBC BROADCAST: 25 March 1945

11.Lamond recounts his first meeting with Franz Liszt6:40
12.Transcendental Etude No. 5, “Feux Follets No. 5,” S. 1394:59
13.Lamond speaks about Liszt’s legacy7:30
14.Liebesträume, S. 541, No. 23:59
 Spoken reminiscences pre-recorded 6 March 1945 
 Piano selections pre-recorded 8 March 1945 
 

 


Producer: Ward Marston

Audio Conservation: Ward Marston

Audio Assistance: J. Richard Harris, Andrew Rose, and Aaron Z Snyder

Booklet notes: Jonathan Summers

Photographs: Gregor Benko, Frederick Fellers, and Donald Manildi

Booklet Design: Takeshi Takahashi

The recording of the Chopin mazurkas used with kind permission of the British Library

The Concertgebouw broadcasts used with kind permission of AVRO.

Marston would like to thank the estate of John Stratton, Stephen R. Clarke, Executor, for its continuing support.

Marston would like to thank the sponsor of this set, Donald Manildi, whose generous contribution made this set a reality.


FREDERIC LAMOND

Born into an impoverished family in Glasgow, Scotland, Frederic Lamond (1868–1948) had his first lessons in music from his brother David. At the age of fourteen Lamond went to Frankfurt where he enrolled at the Hoch Conservatory, hoping to study with Clara Schumann but this was not possible, and he instead received piano lessons from Max Schwarz. This was a fortunate set of circumstances, as Clara Schumann was not fond of Liszt or his music and it was through Schwarz that Lamond then became a pupil of Hans von Bülow, who in turn suggested he continue his studies with Liszt, in 1885. For the last two years of the composer’s life therefore, Lamond became a pupil of the most important pianist and teacher of the nineteenth century or any other time. Lamond’s Berlin debut took place on 17 November 1885, and after appearing in Vienna and Glasgow he made his London debut in a series of recitals. At the fourth of these, given in St. James’s Hall on 15 April 1886, Liszt (who died only three months later) was in the audience. In 1888 Lamond played in Saint Petersburg and was introduced to Anton Rubinstein, who attended his second recital there.

Lamond continued his career mainly in Germany but played Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at London’s Crystal Palace in 1890 where Lamond’s own Symphony in A, Op. 3 was also performed. For the Philharmonic Society he played Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in 1891, and in 1896 toured Russia, returning to London in 1897. In 1904, he married actress Irene Triesch, and resided from then on in Berlin except during the years of World War I. Lamond visited the United States for the first time in 1902 when he played Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall; during the 1920s he made frequent tours there and was appointed professor at the Eastman School of Music in 1923. In 1917 he was appointed professor at the conservatory in The Hague, while during the 1930s he performed cycles of Beethoven sonatas in many European capitals including Berlin. In 1935 Lamond toured South America, and a year later celebrated his Golden Jubilee by giving a series of seven recitals in several European capitals, as Anton Rubinstein had done before him, covering the entire output written for the keyboard from Byrd to Liszt. As war approached, Lamond and his wife fled the Nazi regime, leaving most of their possessions behind.

Although Lamond had spent most of his life in Germany, he had retained his British nationality. He was now in his seventies and, with little money, had to earn a living. In 1940 he went to Glasgow where he gave piano lessons at the Glasgow Academy of Music and on an old upright piano in a music shop. In addition to his teaching he also performed, giving concerts during World War II in Scotland, Bath, and London, including a few at the Wigmore Hall in 1945, where he was billed as “Lamond—the greatest living exponent of Beethoven.” It was nonetheless a sad end to the career and life of a remarkable pianist who had known such great figures as Liszt, Anton Rubinstein, Richard Strauss, and Brahms. Just prior to Tchaikovsky’s death, the composer had arranged for Lamond to play his Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23 in Moscow: Lamond did this, but by the time of the performance Tchaikovsky was dead and Lamond stood between Scriabin and Taneyev at the mass for the departed composer.

LAMOND IN THE NETHERLANDS

Lamond made his first appearance in the Netherlands in February 1899 at the small hall of the Concertgebouw. Even at the young age of thirty-one, he was specializing in Beethoven and this Beethoven evening consisted of no fewer than five of the piano sonatas beginning with the Hammerklavier, followed by Op. 110 and Op. 111. After the intermission Lamond played the Waldstein and ended with the Appassionata; the audience were delighted and he was repeatedly recalled. The press received him well with one critic noting that he was a serious artist who disdained to please the crowd and that what seemed a risky program for a first appearance proved completely successful.

Thereafter, Lamond appeared frequently in the Netherlands and in February 1937 played Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto in Amsterdam. A few days later pianist Josef Pembaur (1875–1950) was due to play Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in A (a work he had performed in September 1935 with the Concertgebouw and van Beinum, a broadcast of which has survived) but due to the sudden death of his wife, Pembaur had to cancel his performance. Lamond was asked to substitute at short notice. Not only did the almost seventy-year-old Lamond agree, but he also did not change the program, playing his master’s composition with the authority and wisdom of his years. It is our good fortune that the performance was broadcast. Preserved by Radio Hilversum, it is presented here for the first time.

At the performance on Sunday 7 February 1937 the critic of De Tijd was a little apprehensive of the abilities of the “elderly and placid Beethoven player ” to negotiate the intricacies and hurdles of the Liszt concerto. He waited with tension as Lamond came slowly down the stairs and was first surprised to see him calmly put on his glasses as he was using the score. What occurred slowly but surely was the second surprise—“he plays Liszt beautifully! Without fuss.” The critic went on to note how Lamond radiated a power that only great personalities possess, imbuing the music with a peace, performing the lilting passages with quiet but steel fingers, figuring out what the music was about, giving a performance of lofty eminence proving that the score was a fascinating piece of music. When the applause would not calm down he played Liszt’s Gnomenreigen with clarity, a fine musical structure and technique.

By 1939 Lamond was seventy-one and still playing taxing programs. During July he had given concerts in Utrecht, Amsterdam, and Scheveningen as well as at the Beethoven Festival in Freiburg im Breisgau. On 27 October he gave a recital that began with the Piano Sonata in B Minor by Liszt, which he followed by the Moonlight and Waldstein sonatas of Beethoven. Another demanding Liszt work, the Variations on , was the main work in the second half. Two days later Lamond took part in a broadcast concert with the Concertgebouw Orchestra that opened with the Overture Anacreon by Cherubini after which Lamond played Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37. The final work was Don Quixote by Richard Strauss with cellist Gérard Hekking as soloist. Issued here for the first time, the performance of the Beethoven concerto captures all the qualities of the great nineteenth-century pianists—drama, strong structure, flowing cantabile tone allied to long phrases, and a sense that the music is a living, breathing entity. All this can be heard in the second subject of the first movement alone. At the end of the first movement, Lamond chose to play a rarely heard cadenza by Clara Schumann.

LAMOND AND BEETHOVEN

Lamond’s affinity with the works of Beethoven was something almost spiritual. Lamond wrote in his autobiography, “I longed for pureness, truth, simplicity. Beethoven was my god—the creed of my life—my one and all. Through continually absorbing his wonderworks I began to regard the practical side of life, that which gives pleasure to the majority of human beings, with repugnance.” A pamphlet by Lamond on some of Beethoven’s piano works, published in 1944, is headed with the quotation: “Haydn is the way to Heaven, Mozart is Heaven itself, and Beethoven is the God therein.” In 1922 he became the first pianist to record a complete piano concerto, Beethoven’s Emperor (unfortunately by the sonically inferior acoustic process). He also made acoustic recordings of the Moonlight, Waldstein, and Appassionata sonatas, plus two movements each from Beethoven’s Op. 10, No. 2 and Op. 31, No. 3, reissued here for the first time.

He had first recorded the Moonlight sonata in November 1921 along with the Sonata in F-sharp, Op. 78, but neither of these recordings was issued. A second attempt at the Moonlight the following April was partially successful with only the second side of the last movement being issued; the remainder of the sonata was recorded in June along with the first side of the Waldstein and the “Menuetto” from Op. 31, No. 3. The rest of the first movement of the Waldstein was recorded in September 1922 with the remainder of the sonata being recorded a year later in September 1923. At the same session, the Appassionata was completed, the first side having been recorded a year before. Despite all these different recording dates and the sonically inferior sound, the performances still come across with conviction and dedication. Lamond followed his own advice to his students when he said, “Try to play in some way of your own, as if you were telling the world for the first time of the wonders of Beethoven. Don’t be a mere pianist; try to reach the higher plane of music.”

In 1931 the editor of Gramophone magazine, Compton Mackenzie, was being urged by correspondents to do what he could to get all thirty-two of the Beethoven piano sonatas recorded. He wrote, “This project was being discussed by the authorities of His Master’s Voice some time before electric recording came in, and I understand that the artist chosen for this important enterprise was Frederic Lamond, a choice with which not the most critical lover of Beethoven’s piano sonatas could have quarrelled.” However, between the introduction of electrical recording in 1925 and 1930 Lamond remade all the sonatas he had recorded by the acoustic process and added Op. 26; Op. 31, No. 2; and Op. 110. By this time however, Artur Schnabel had conquered Berlin with his performances of the complete sonatas, repeating the effect in London in 1932. He was duly asked to record them all for HMV, a task which he undertook over the following three years.

Lamond’s recordings and pre-eminence as a Beethoven player had been supplanted almost overnight by Schnabel and it must have been a difficult and uncomfortable time for him, especially as the Second World War was approaching.

LAMOND AND THE BBC

Ian Whyte (1901–1961), a pupil of Vaughan Williams and Stanford, was head of music for BBC Scotland from 1931 to 1945, often conducting broadcasts with the BBC Scottish Orchestra, which he established in 1935 and conducted from 1945 to 1960. In the mid-1930s, while Lamond was living in Berlin, he was trying to get an engagement with the BBC the day following a London concert he was to give in January 1936. It appears this fell through, and later, during the Second World War while Lamond was living in Glasgow suffering financial difficulties, Whyte received a letter in June 1940 from a Herbert Tatlock drawing his, and the BBC’s attention to Lamond. Another similar letter was sent five days later by a Professor Whittaker who had sat on BBC committees. The BBC was interested, and within a month, Lamond’s agent Ibbs and Tillet offered Ian Whyte three recital programs. Over the next five years Lamond played two short programs of twenty-five to thirty minutes each and a handful of concertos—Beethoven’s Third in an outside broadcast from Dumferline, the Emperor, and four performances of the Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat. None of these broadcasts has survived, but on 6 March 1945 Lamond recorded his reminiscences of Liszt at the BBC studios in Glasgow for broadcast. Two days later he returned to record Feux Follets and Liebesträume No. 2 for inclusion in the program. The whole program was first broadcast on 25 March 1945 and was repeated in November 1951. The seventy-seven-year-old Lamond is obviously reading from a script, but still one can hear the enthusiasm, reverence, and awe he experienced as an eighteen-year-old boy on meeting the great Franz Liszt. Feux Follets would show weaknesses in many pianists’ technique, but at Lamond’s age it was perhaps not the best work to choose for a broadcast.

LAMOND AND DECCA

From 1919 Lamond had recorded for HMV (and its sister company Electrola in Germany), but like another great HMV pianist, Mark Hambourg, he was dropped in the mid-1930s when producer Walter Legge began to wield power and personal preferences. Perhaps as a result of his appearances in London during the Second World War, Lamond was asked by the relatively new Decca Record Company to make some recordings in 1941. On 15 and 16 May he recorded Beethoven’s Moonlight and Waldstein sonatas and four Liszt pieces. Only two of the Liszt pieces were issued, and although a further attempt at the Moonlight sonata was made on 17 December, nothing apart from the two Liszt sides was issued. The very last side Lamond recorded was of two Chopin Mazurkas and a test pressing survived, a tape of which resides in the British Library. This is a valuable recording as it is the only representation of Lamond in this repertoire and is recorded with Decca’s renowned high quality of sound. At the time of his death on 21 February 1948, Lamond was one of only two remaining Liszt pupils, the other being José Vianna da Motta who survived him by three months.

© Jonathan Summers, 2013

 

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EDUARD VAN BEINUM

Eduard van Beinum (Arnhem, Netherlands, 1900– Amsterdam, 1959) was born into a musical family. He studied the violin, played the viola, was an accomplished pianist, but is best remembered as a conductor. While attending a Concertgebouw Orchestra performance conducted by Willem Mengelberg in his hometown of Arnhem at age fourteen, van Beinum was purported to have said that one day he would be conducting this orchestra; this prediction had a rapid path to realization. In the late summer of 1927, in response to a newspaper advertisement, van Beinum made his conducting debut with the Haarlem Orchestral Society on 10 October 1927. Van Beinum remained there until 1931. He established a reputation as being encouraging to musicians, regularly playing French repertoire, and championing Dutch compositions. On 30 June 1929 van Beinum faced the Concertgebouw Orchestra for the first time after receiving an invitation to guest-conduct. Despite its relatively short history (the Concertgebouw was founded in 1888 and Willem Mengelberg took the baton in 1895) this orchestra quickly became one of the world’s greatest. Van Beinum’s debut led to several guest engagements, and when the second conductor, Cornelis Dopper left the orchestra, van Beinum assumed his post in 1931. Van Beinum’s years as second conductor demonstrated stylistic differences to Mengelberg: van Beinum worked with an orchestra with modesty and faithfulness to the composition, while Mengelberg was a larger than life personality who led the musicians with a heavy hand. The result was van Beinum received respect from the musicians, though he was met with less enthusiasm from audiences. But van Beinum’s star did rise, and invitations to guest conduct at other symphonies grew. In response to an offer as principal conductor from the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague, the Concertgebouw directors appointed van Beinum to second principal conductor next to Mengelberg in 1938. The outbreak of World War Two and the German occupation of the Netherlands dramatically affected life in the Netherlands including the arts. For the Concertgebouw a curtailing of “degenerate” repertoire and dismissal of Jewish orchestra members took place. After Holland’s liberation in May 1945, Willem Mengelberg was convicted of having been a Nazi collaborator and sentenced to exile for six years. Van Beinum got off with an official reprimand. The verdict was that his wartime conduct, although less than firm at times, did not warrant a suspension and he became the Concertgebouw’s chief conductor. Van Beinum’s thirteen years as principal conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra (1945–1959) was the zenith of his career. Outside of the Netherlands, van Beinum took over the leadership of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1947 (he left after two successful seasons); made his U.S. guest-conducting debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1954; and served as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1956 to 1959. His way of handling an orchestra, which had endeared him to musicians before and during the war, further increased his popularity and prestige. His way of approaching the music also commanded respect. He paid careful attention to the score, never placing himself in the foreground. He spoke about this in his acceptance speech after receiving an honorary degree from the University of Amsterdam: “I believe it to be the sacred duty of the reproducer to step back, to serve as an instrument, an inspired medium, in order that (...) the music may sound through him—in this case through an ensemble made up of a hundred and one individuals—as fully and therefore as truthfully as possible.” Eduard van Beinum suffered a massive heart attack during a Concertgebouw rehearsal on 13 April 1959, and was pronounced dead on the scene.