Nearly 65 years ago, when Swiss pianist, Paul Baumgartner (1903–1976), and German pianist, Erik Then-Bergh (1916–1982), paid separate visits to the Beethovensaal in Hanover, they each recorded a monumental set of variations – very possibly on the same Hamburg Steinway D – and in each case the resulting LP proved to be the only that either artist ever made for the Deutsche Grammophon label. In addition, since each elected to commemorate what might arguably be termed connoisseur literature, neither disc became a best seller by classical music standards and in fact, both faded into obscurity fairly soon after they appeared. Thus, modern listeners may be especially grateful that – perhaps ironically – today’s advanced digital technology offers an unprecedented window into the past that enables these superb performances to re-emerge into the sunlight. While today, neither Baumgartner nor Then-Bergh is as well remembered today as their gifts should merit, perhaps the present release will help restore at least some of the recognition they deserve, for they were not simply brilliant virtuosos but performers of far rarer gifts: as can easily be seen from the performances presented here, they were, first and foremost, both extraordinarily intelligent and sensitive musicians.
Both recordings are mastered from the original tapes and the detailed notes are by the distinguished Stephen Siek, connoisseur, teacher and performer.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli, Op. 120
Paul Baumgartner, piano
Variations and Fugue on a theme of Georg Philipp Telemann, Op. 134
Erik Then-Bergh, piano
FIRST RELEASE ON DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON CD
Recording Producers: Dr. Fred Hamel, Erna Elchlepp (Beethoven); Dr. Fred Hamel (Reger)
Balance Engineers: Heinz Wildhagen (Beethoven); Karlheinz Westphal (Reger)
Recording Location: Beethovensaal, Hanover, Germany, 9–12 February 1952 (Beethoven); 5, 6 & 8 December 1951 (Reger)
Remastering: Michael Beier; Chris Bernauer
‘Then-Bergh’s impressive dexterity, range of colour and imaginative flair are a constant wonder’ (Reger) MusicWeb International