Jakob Gimpel · Piano Recitals in Germany 1956-1961


Jakob Gimpel’s solo recordings of works by Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin and Mendelssohn presented here were made for German radio between 1956 and 1961. Gimpel did not have the career that an artist of his stature deserved. Like many others, Gimpel was an extremely gifted pianist with a technique and musical insight to match any on the highest levels of the performing circuit. Many of his commercial recordings did not receive wide circulation. Our discovery of rare radio recordings brings his artistry back into the present.

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JACOB GIMPEL plays Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin & Mendelssohn

Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No 12 in C-sharp minor, HS 244/12
Chopin: Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante in E-flat Major, Op 22
Chopin: Impromptu No 2 in F-sharp Major, Op 36
Chopin: Étude No 11 in A minor, Op 25
Chopin: Mazurka in A-flat Major, Op 50/2
Chopin: Mazurka in C-sharp Major, Op 63/3
Chopin: Scherzo No 1 in B minor, Op 20
Scriabin: Piano Sonata No 5, Op 53

Recorded ∙ 22 February 1956 ∙ Stuttgart-Untertürkheim ∙ Krone ∙ Süddeutscher Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording

Chopin: Scherzo No 2 in B-flat minor, Op 31
Mendelssohn: Songs Without Words in F-sharp minor, Op 67/2

Recorded ∙ 06 October 1961 ∙ Frankfurt ∙ Raum 3 ∙ Hessischer Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording

In cooperation with Peter Gimpel, the son of Jacob Gimpel

Article number: MC 1031
UPC barcode: 791154054079
Recording dates: 1956-1961
Release date: March 2015
Total timing: 69:24
Booklet: 8 Pages
From the Original Masters ∙ © 2015 Meloclassic

June 2015 ∙ Audiophile Audition ∙ Gary Lemco ∙ Jakob Gimpel plays Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin & Mendelssohn
Jakob Gimpel (1906-1989) enjoyed – or suffered, depending upon one’s perspective – an illustrious career marked by swathes of neglect, if not abuse. MeloClassic resurrects selections from two recitals that embrace a goodly repertory not available in other sources, including the Cambria discs produced from Gimpel’s appearances at the Ambassador Auditorium in Los Angeles. From 22 February 1956, in Stuttgart, we have eight potent examples of Gimpel’s often incandescent playing, as in the voluptuously explosive Fifth Sonata of Alexander Scriabin. Only the opening piece, Liszt’s Twelfth Rhapsody, seems eccentric, frenetic, and overly histrionic, though the digital antics remain peerless. The Chopin works more than justify Gimpel’s high reputation in the music of this composer. The B Minor Scherzo enjoys wizardly and poetical impulses in its outer section, while the aerial noel of its trio section demonstrates Gimpel’s natural ease with the Chopin style. The Impromptu No. 2, long a Gimpel favorite and proffered encore vehicle, flows with an exact pulse and continual color nuance. The elastic rubato of the Andante spianato exhibits the old-world charm we associate with such luminaries in this piece like Josef Hofmann. The Frankfurt recital of 6 October 1961 yields two works, the Chopin Second Scherzo and a Mendelssohn Song without Words. The Scherzo proves rather briskly driven, without any undue sentimentality. Gimpel’s Chopin tends to remain understated, often opting for a naïve simplicity of expression that actually casts a pristine light on music that has been too often contorted to suit a “personality.” The Mendelssohn carries a light, etude character, suggestive of a dainty hunting-motif. The brisker filigree more than suggests that either of the Mendelssohn concertos would lie easily and gratefully under Gimpel’s fleet fingers.
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August 2015 ∙ British Gramophone ∙ Rob Cowan ∙ Jakob Gimpel plays Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin & Mendelssohn
The brothers Jacob and Bronislaw Gimpel make an impressive showing on two separate CDs, pianist Jacob with a recital of Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin and Mendelssohn. Jacob offers a powerful account of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No 12 and a performance of Chopin’s Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise brillante where the Andante, which is fluidly played, commands a wide range Of expression and the Polonaise is dextrous, witty and generally imposing.
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September 2016 ∙ Classical Source ∙ Colin Anderson ∙ Jakob Gimpel plays Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin & Mendelssohn
The Pole Jacob Gimpel (1906-89) includes copious amounts of Chopin in recordings from 1956 and 1961. Powerful and poetic artistry is at work here, such as in a respectively richly expressive and sovereign Andante spianato & Grand Polonaise, and then in a selection from the Etudes, Mazurkas and Scherzos (the first two) he continues to impress and delight. Gimpel also bewitches and dazzles with Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.12, dabbles with the occult in Scriabin’s intoxicating Fifth Sonata – heady stuff – and ultimately charms with a Mendelssohn Song without Words.
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