Frieda Kwast-Hodapp ∙ German Radio Recordings 1948 ∙ 2CD


Frieda Kwast-Hodapp was a most remarkably gifted pupil of the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, where she studied under Professor James Kwast. In 1898, she participated in the prestigious Mendelssohn Stipendium competition and emerged as the victor, surpassing all other contestants, including Wilhelm Backhaus who secured second place. Her talent as a concert pianist quickly gained international recognition, establishing her as a celebrated figure throughout Europe. However, in 1931, she made the decision to retire from the concert stage, leading a mostly secluded life thereafter. A decade later, she attended a memorial service for Max Reger in Heidelberg, which reignited her desire to perform. Nevertheless, concertizing became increasingly challenging during the tumultuous events of the Second World War. In 1948, she experienced a final moment of triumph in her career, receiving enthusiastic acclaim from audiences and critics across several German cities as “The grande dame of the piano has returned.” Unfortunately, her success was short-lived, as she passed away the following year. Percy Grainger, a fellow pupil in Kwast’s class, who later became a celebrated pianist and composer, once described Hodapp as “the most prodigious talent amongst woman pianists I have ever encountered.”

Frieda Kwast-Hodapp’s commercial recording legacy is limited, with only one recorded session. She captured three Scarlatti Sonatas (G Minor L338, G Major L388 & L487) and Bach’s Prelude and Fugue No. 20 in A Minor (BWV 865) for the German Electrola label, released as a single 78 rpm shellac record (Electrola G-EH 832). Additionally, she made piano roll recordings for Hupfeld and Welte & Söhne. The radio recordings presented on this double album provide a significant discovery of her artistry, including a live performance of the Reger Piano Concerto, which she premiered on 10 December 1910, accompanied by the Gewandhaus Orchestra under the baton of Arthur Nikisch.

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FRIEDA KWAST-HODAPP German Radio Recordings 1948

CD 1

SCRIABIN: Preludes, Op 11
REGER: Andantino espressivo, from My Diary, Op 82

Recorded · 19 March 1948 · Berlin · Studio Heidelberger Platz · NWDR · Radio Studio Recording

FORTNER: Sonatina (1935)
Recorded · 04 May 1948 · Frankfurt · Altes Funkhaus · HR · Radio Studio Recording

BACH: Prelude & Fugue No 1 in C Major, BWV 846, WTK, Book I
BACH: Prelude & Fugue No 2 in C Minor, BWV 847, WTK, Book I
BACH: Prelude & Fugue No 3 in C-sharp Major, BWV 848, WTK, Book I
BACH: Prelude & Fugue No 4 in C-sharp Minor, BWV 849, WTK, Book I
BACH: Prelude & Fugue No 5 in D Major, BWV 850, WTK, Book I
BACH: Prelude & Fugue No 6 in D Minor, BWV 851, WTK, Book I
BACH: Prelude & Fugue No 7 in E-flat Major, BWV 852, WTK, Book I
BACH: Prelude & Fugue No 8 in E-flat Minor, BWV 853, WTK, Book I
BACH: Prelude & Fugue No 6 in D Minor, BWV 875, WTK, Book II
BACH: Prelude & Fugue No 17 in A-flat Major, BWV 886, WTK, Book II

Recorded · 26 April 1948 · Stuttgart · Studio I · SDR · Radio Studio Recording

CD 2

BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No 29 in B-flat Major, Op 106
Recorded · 10 October 1948 · Berlin · Studio · Kleiststraße · RIAS · Radio Studio Recording

REGER: Piano Concerto in F Minor, Op 114
Frieda Kwast-Hodapp ∙ piano
Ewald Lindemann ∙ conductor

Recorded · 07 March 1948 · Berlin · Titania Palast · RIAS · Live Recording

Article number: MC 1059
UPC barcode: 791154050811
Release date: 1 April 2022
Booklet: 12 Pages
Total timing: 78:11 CD1 ∙ 78:32 CD2
From the Original Masters ∙ © 2021 Meloclassic

October 2022 ∙ MusicWeb International ∙ Rob Challinor ∙ Frieda Kwast-Hodapp ∙ German Radio Recordings 1948
Kwast-Hodapp’s recorded legacy is greatly enhanced by these treasures from German radio. This is such a valuable document. The Reger Concerto will never set the world’s stages alight but to have such a convincing performance by the performer it was written for and who had worked on it with the composer himself is an absolute treasure. I enjoyed the few minutes of her recordings that she laid down in 1933 and never thought I would have the opportunity to get to know this wonderful pianist better and in such a wide and varied range of repertoire; thanks must go to Michael Waiblinger whose booklet notes are once again detailed and informative and mostly to Lynn Ludwig at Meloclassic for another first class release.
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October 2022 ∙ Rondo Magazin ∙ Eleanore Büning ∙ Frieda Kwast-Hodapp ∙ German Radio Recordings 1948
Manchmal taucht sie noch, wie ein Gespenst, im Nebensatz auf: die legendäre Pianistin Frieda Elise Hodapp, verheiratete Kwast. Neulich zum Beispiel, im Programmheft der Berliner Philharmoniker. Die wagten sich an das f-Moll-Klavierkonzert von Max Reger, mit Marek Janowski am Pult und Marc-André Hamelin am Flügel, der dieses spätestromantische Wunderwerk fulminant über die Rampe brachte. Frieda Kwast-Hodapp, die es anno 1910 uraufgeführt hatte, sei, so hieß es dazu, seinerzeit die „bevorzugte Beethoven- und Brahms-Interpretin in den Konzerten von Arthur Nikisch bis Wilhelm Furtwängler“ gewesen. Und: „Sie muss über eine enorme ‚Pranke‘ verfügt haben, sonst wäre sie an Regers kraftstrotzendem Solopart unweigerlich gescheitert.“ Ja, hatte sie. Sogar noch im Alter. Davon zeugt das sensationelle Doppelalbum „German Radio Recordings 1948“ (Melo­classic/Danacord), das wieder aufgefundene Masterbänder präsentiert. Bislang gab es nur eine einzige Aufnahme (Scarlatti, Bach) mit Kwast-Hodapp. 1948, ein Jahr vor ihrem Tod, spielte sie dann für den RIAS besagtes Regerkonzert ein, live im Titania-Palast – eine Super-Pranke! Dazu Klavierstücke von Fortner, Skrjabin und Bach nebst Beethovens Hammerklaviersonate. Sie hatte da bereits mehr als elf Jahre lang pausiert, es sind ein paar Patzer zu hören. Aber auch toller Drive, starke Akzente, eine schlanke, unpompöse Diktion sowie Reste von kühl servierter Virtuosenbrillanz. Kwast-Hodapp war alles andere als eine zweite Elly Ney! Bevor sie selbst 1931 ihre Karriere abrupt beendete, hatte sie in ganz Europa konzertiert, mit Mengelberg, Busoni, Klemperer, Scherchen, Walter, Schuricht, Blech u.v.a.m. Ihr Comeback nach 1941/42 kam nie richtig in Gang.
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July 2022 ∙ British Gramophone ∙ Rob Cowan ∙ Frieda Kwast-Hodapp ∙ German Radio Recordings 1948
A remarkable 1948 live recording of Reger’s Piano Concerto by the work’s dedicatee, Frieda Kwast-Hodapp. The Reger is preceded on disc 2 of Meloclassic’s revelatory double-pack by a RIAS studio recording of Beethoven’s Hammerklaviersonata (also 1948), which, although occasionally smudged in terms of detail, features a richly emotional, even Schnabelian account of the Adagio sostenuto. Disc 1 consists of 18 of Scriabin’s 24 Preludes, Op 11, miniatures by Reger and Fortner and a selection from both books of Bach’s ’48’. And to think that Kwast-Hodapp only made one commerical disc recording, an Electrola 78 of works by Bach and Scarlatti.
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June 2022 ∙ MusicWeb International ∙ Frieda Kwast-Hodapp ∙ German Radio Recordings 1948
It’s especially valuable that these 1948 broadcast performances have survived because they include the Reger, which had been dedicated to her, as well as Bach, whose Preludes and Fugues she often performed. Melo Classic provides a note explaining that Kwast-Hodapp received serious injuries in a railway accident just before she made these radio broadcasts and thereafter had to rely on printed music; she could no longer play from memory. I’m sure this explains the finger slips in the Hammerklavier. But these are maters of superficial interest whereas this twofer is of huge significance. Considering the tribulations that the tapes have been through they sound fine and restoration work has clearly been deservedly lavished on them. This is something of a major undertaking which has been augmented by a first-class booklet note.
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