Moura Lympany: The Decca Legacy
Moura Lympany
Label
Decca
Catalogue No.
4829404
Barcode
00028948294046
Format
7-CD
About

The complete Decca recordings of a much-loved English pianist, including previously unissued material, newly remastered and issued with a comprehensive introduction to her early life and recording career.

When Moura Lympany first visited Decca’s West Hampstead studios in 1941 to record a pair of Preludes by Rachmaninov, even the composer himself had committed no more than seven of them to disc, and Eileen Joyce (with Lympany, a fellow pupil of the legendary piano pedagogue Tobias Matthay) had recorded only six. But the ecstatic critical reception to her first recordings – noting the strength of her tone and the subtle play of rubato – enabled her to complete the set within 18 months.

The complete set has been previously reissued by Eloquence, but in this box set of her complete Decca recordings it has been coupled with her remake of the cycle for LP, produced by John Culshaw using Decca’s new ‘ffrr’ technology. In the interim period she had been wooed away from Decca by Walter Legge at HMV, but she returned both to re-record staples of her repertoire and to add works such as Balakirev’s fiendishly difficult Islamey and the Third Concerto of Rachmaninov: both commanding and original accounts. Here also comparisons can be made between her later and her lesser-known early recordings of the Second Concerto by Saint-Saens and the big Romantically styled concerto by Khachaturian which had become a signature work after giving the UK premiere in 1940 .

Also in 1947, Lympany recorded Chopin’s B minor Sonata for Decca, but the results were not released. Now available for the first time, her performance displays an extraordinary insight into one of the great Romantic masterworks, and the subtle sensuality she imparts to the Largo may well be one of the most moving accounts on record.

Eloquence has also unearthed a pair of superb live broadcasts: the quirky and lighthearted First Piano Concerto by Alan Rawsthorne (recorded in 1945, with the BBCSO conducted by Sir Adrian Boult), and a landmark work of 20th-century pianism, the Sonata by Samuel Barber, from December 1950. No collector of pianists and great piano recordings will want to be without this comprehensive tribute to Lympany’s art.

The extensive booklet is superbly annotated with a reminiscence by Bryce Morrison and a fascinating note by Stephen Siek, as well as several rare and some previously unseen photographs from the Moura Lympany Archive.

TRACK LISTING / ARTISTS

CD 1
RACHMANINOV Complete Preludes (1941-43 Recordings)

CD 2
CHOPIN Piano Sonata No. 3 (previously unpublished Decca recording)
MENDELSSOHN
Capriccio brillant (Neel)*
Rondo brillant (Kisch)*
LISZT Piano Concerto No. 1 (Kisch)*

CD 3
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto (Kisch)*
GRIEG Piano Concerto (Beer)*
DOHNÁNYI Capriccio in F minor, Op. 28 No. 6*
POULENC Novelette No. 1 in C major*
BALAKIREV Islamey – Oriental Fantasy*

CD 4
SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 2 (Braithwaite)*
KHACHATURIAN Piano Concerto (Fistoulari, 1945)*
RAWSTHORNE Piano Concerto No. 1 (Boult) (previously unpublished broadcast recording)

CD 5
RACHMANINOV Complete Preludes (1951 recordings) 

CD 6
SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 2 (Martinon)
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 (Collins)

CD 7
KHACHATURIAN Piano Concerto (Fistoulari, 1952)
BARBER Piano Sonata (previously unpublished broadcast recording)

Track previews
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22, R. 190: I. Andante sostenuto
10 Preludes, Op. 23: No. 8 in A-Flat Major: Allegro vivace
13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 9 in A Major: Allegro moderato
13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 10 in B Minor: Lento
13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 11 in B Major: Allegretto
13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 12 in G-Sharp Minor: Allegro
13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 13 in D-Flat Major: Grave - Allegro - Grave
Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58: I. Allegro maestoso
10 Preludes, Op. 23: No. 5 in G Minor: Alla marcia
10 Preludes, Op. 23: No. 6 in E-Flat Major: Andante
10 Preludes, Op. 23: No. 7 in C Minor: Allegro
10 Preludes, Op. 23: No. 9 in E-Flat Minor: Presto
13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 7 in F Major: Moderato
10 Preludes, Op. 23: No. 10 in G-Flat Major: Largo
13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 1 in C Major: Allegro vivace
13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 2 in B-Flat Minor: Allegretto
13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 3 in E Major: Allegro vivace
13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 4 in E Minor: Allegro con brio
13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 5 in G Major: Moderato
5 Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3: No. 2 Prelude in C-Sharp Minor
10 Preludes, Op. 23: No. 1 in F-Sharp Minor: Largo
10 Preludes, Op. 23: No. 2 in B-Flat Major: Maestoso
10 Preludes, Op. 23: No. 3 in D Minor: Tempo di minuetto
13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 8 in A Minor: Vivo
13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 6 in F Minor: Allegro appassionato
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22, R. 190: II. Allegro scherzando
Six Concert Etudes, Op. 28: No. 6 Capriccio in F Minor
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22, R. 190: III. Presto
Piano Concerto in D-Flat Major: I. Allegro ma non troppo e maestoso
Piano Concerto in D-Flat Major: II. Andante con anima
Piano Concerto in D-Flat Major: III. Allegro brillante
Piano Concerto No. 1: I. Capriccio. Allegro molto
Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54: II. Intermezzo. Andantino grazioso
Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54: III. Allegro vivace
Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16: I. Allegro molto moderato
Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16: II. Adagio
Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16: III. Allegro moderato molto e marcato
Trois novelettes, FP 47/173: I. Modéré sans lenteur
Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54: I. Allegro affettuoso
Islamey, Op. 18
Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58: II. Scherzo. Molto vivace
Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58: III. Largo
Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58: IV. Finale. Presto non tanto
Capriccio brillant, Op. 22
Rondo brillant, Op. 29
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major, S. 124: I. Allegro maestoso
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major, S. 124: II. Quasi adagio
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major, S. 124: III. Allegretto vivace - Allegro animato
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major, S. 124: IV. Allegro marziale animato - Presto
10 Preludes, Op. 23: No. 4 in D Major: Andante cantabile
Recording information

CD 1
Recordings: Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, UK, 29 May 1941 (Op. 3 No. 2, Op. 23 Nos. 1, 3, 4 & 10), 25 September 1941 (Op. 23 Nos. 2, 7 & 8, Op. 32 Nos. 1, 2 & 6), 12 November 1941 (Op. 23 No. 5), 20 February 1942 (Op. 23 Nos. 6 & 9, Op. 32 Nos. 11 & 12), 4 June 1942 (Op. 32 Nos. 5), 4 June 1942 (Op. 32 Nos. 3, 7 & 10), 26 August 1942 (Op. 32 Nos. 4, 8, 9 & 13)
Original Decca 78rpm Releases: October 1941 (K1023: Op. 3 No. 2, Op. 23 No. 1), December 1941 (K1024: Op. 23 Nos. 2 & 3), February 1942 (K1025: Op. 23 Nos. 4 & 5), April 1942 (K1026: Op. 23 Nos. 6, 7 & 9, Op. 32 No. 1), May 1942 (K1027: Op. 23 Nos. 8 & 10, Op. 32 No. 6), August 1942 (K1028: Op. 32 Nos. 2, 3 & 7), August 1943 (K1029: Op. 32 Nos. 4 & 5; K1030: Op. 32 Nos. 8, 9 & 10; K1031: Op. 32 Nos. 11, 12 & 13)
Transfer and Remastering: Andrew Hallifax: King’s Sound Archive, King’s College, London, UK

CD 2
CHOPIN Piano Sonata No. 3
Recording Producer: Terence Gibbs
Recording Location: Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, UK, 17 April 1947
Matrix nos.: AR 11161-66

MENDELSSOHN Capriccio brillant
Recording: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 15 March 1945
Original Decca 78rpm Release: Decca K1191 (April 1948)

MENDELSSOHN Rondo brillant
Recording Producer: Victor Olof
Balance Engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson
Recording Location: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 28 October 1947
Original Decca 78rpm Release: Decca K1806 (August 1949)

LISZT Piano Concerto No. 1
Recording Producer: Terence Gibbs
Balance Engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson
Recording: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 2 September 1947
Original Decca 78rpm Release: K 1834-36 (May 1948)
Transfers & Audio Restoration: Mark Obert-Thorn

CD 3
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto
Recording Producer: Victor Olof
Balance Engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson
Recording Location: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 8 October 1947
Original Decca 78rpm Release: Decca K 1884-87 (August 1948)

GRIEG Piano Concerto
Recording Producer: Victor Olof
Balance Engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson
Recording Location: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 14 March 1945
Original Decca 78rpm Release: Decca K 1134-37 (August 1946)

DOHNÁNYI Capriccio in F minor, Op. 28 No. 6
Recording: Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, UK, 14 February 1944
Original Decca 78rpm Release: M 556 (April 1944)

POULENC Novelette No. 1 in C major
Recording: Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, UK, 14 February 1944
Original Decca 78rpm Release: M 556 (April 1944)

BALAKIREV Islamey
Recording Producer: Terence Gibbs
Recording Location: Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, UK, 19 April 1947
Original Decca 78rpm Release: K 1798 (July 1949)
Transfers & Audio Restoration: Mark Obert-Thorn

CD 4
SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 2
Recording: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 24 July 1945
Original Decca 78rpm Release: K 1161-63 (February 1946)

KHACHATURIAN Piano Concerto
Recording: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 16 May 1945
Original Decca 78rpm Release: K 1145-48 (October 1945)

RAWSTHORNE Piano Concerto No. 1
Recording: BBC Studios, London, UK, 12 October 1945
BBC Transcription Discs
Transfers & Audio Restoration: Mark Obert-Thorn

CD 5
Recording Producer: John Culshaw
Recording Location: Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, UK, 9 & 11 January 1951
Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer
Original Decca LP Release: LXT 2579-80 (May 1951)

CD 6
SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 2
Recording: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 8 May 1951
Original Decca LP Release: LX 3064 (September 1951)

RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3
Recording Producer: John Culshaw
Balance Engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson
Recording Location: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 27 & 29 May 1952
Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer
Original Decca LP Release: LXT 2701 (August 1952)

CD 7
KHACHATURIAN Piano Concerto
Recording Producer: John Culshaw
Recording Location: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 31 October – 1 November 1952
Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer
Original Decca LP Release: LXT 2767 (February 1953)

BARBER Piano Sonata
Recording: BBC Maida Vale Studio 2, London, UK, 7 December 1950
Transfers & Audio Restoration: Mark Obert-Thorn

Reviews

‘Here is the very luxury of piano tone and art in the playing.’ The Times, October 1941 (Rachmaninov Preludes, 1941)

‘Brilliant playing.’ The Times, January 1946 (Khachaturian)

‘Moura Lympany plays, in my view, superbly; she gives us the music with the pianistic conviction of the person who has written it.’ Gramophone, July 1951 (Rachmaninov Preludes, 1947 recording)

‘A fluent and sparkling performance, very French in the best sense.’ Gramophone, October 1951 (Saint-Saëns)