Poldi Mildner · Piano Recitals in Germany 1950-1958


Poldi Mildner was one of the last vestiges of the Golden Age of pianism. A phenomenal prodigy, she studied with some of the greatest teachers of the first half of the 20th century — Rosenthal, Schnabel, Teichmüller, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev. Our unique CD collects her recordings for the German radio in the 1950s. None of these radio performances have been published before.

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POLDI MILDNER plays Schubert, Chopin, Liszt and Debussy

Schubert: Fantasie in C Major, Op 15, D 760 “Wanderer Fantasie”
Recorded ∙ 28 November 1950 ∙ Baden-Baden ∙ Studio 1 ∙ Südwestrundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording

Chopin: Piano Sonata No 2 in B-flat minor, Op 35
Recorded ∙ 06 December 1950 ∙ Stuttgart ∙ Altes Funkhaus ∙ Studio VI ∙ Süddeutscher Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording

Liszt: Piano Sonata in B minor, HS 178
Recorded ∙ 15 November 1955 ∙ Frankfurt ∙ Raum 3 ∙ Hessischer Rundfunk ∙ Radio Studio Recording

Debussy: Estampes, L 100
Recorded ∙ 18 March 1958 ∙ Bremen ∙ Studio J ∙ Radio Bremen ∙ Radio Studio Recording

Article number: MC 1022
UPC barcode: 791154053980
Recording dates: 1950-1958
Release date: March 2015
Total timing: 78:24
Booklet: 8 Pages
From the Original Masters ∙ © 2015 Meloclassic

July 2015 ∙ Audiophile Audition ∙ Gary Lemco ∙ Poldi Mildner plays Schubert, Chopin, Liszt and Debussy
Leopoldine “Poldi” Mildner (1913-2007) presents us another instance of genius denied – or at least suppressed – until 2014, when Lynn Ludwig decided to assemble a diverse recital from previously unpublished German Radio appearances, 1950-1958. Mildner opens with a thundering performance of the Wanderer Fantasy of Schubert (from Baden-Baden, 28 November 1950), played at breathless – but not shapeless – tempos that reveal the bravura and persuasive lyricism of her talent. It may be relevant to point out that the Liszt Sonata included in this program (from Frankfurt, 15 November 1955) partakes of the same formal architecture, a seamless, one-movement fantasia that subdivides into traditional four-movement structure. Seamless transitions marked the various evolutions of the main theme, its move to Schubert’s own lied, Der Wanderer, and the subsequent variants that eventually assume heroic proportions. The Chopin b-flat minor Sonata (from Stuttgart, 6 December 1950) hurls itself forward – Doppio movimento – in explosive fury enough to unseat Horowitz. For the quintessential Romantic piano sonata, Liszt’s 1854 Sonata in b minor (from Frankfurt, 15 November 1953), Poldner exhibits a demonic propulsion that might compare to the Gieseking readings of Schumann from the same period, furious and ardently poised, at once. I thought that the Debussy 1903 tonal triptych Estampes (18 March 1958, from Bremen) might constitute an anticlimax after the collective emotional purgation of Chopin and Liszt by Mildner. Rather, with the striking, elastic exoticism of Debussy’s Pagodes, the hysterical intensity of Liszt has merely turned inward, gamelan sounds in competition with whole tones, trills, and plainchant.
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September 2016 ∙ Classical Source ∙ Colin Anderson ∙ Poldi Mildner plays Schubert, Chopin, Liszt and Debussy
Chopin’s B-flat and Liszt’s B-minor Sonatas are also to be found on Poldi Mildner’s disc. The Austrian pianist Leopoldine ‘Poldi’ Josefine Mildner (1913-2007) made very few recordings, and those shared by Meloclassic are radio tapes from the 1950s. Her Liszt is engrossing, encompassing a real sense of involvement. She’s spontaneous, too, adding a sense of adventure, although there are moments of threatened insecurity, but dynamic concerns and a deep involvement with the music see her through, so too in the Chopin and also Schubert’s ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy. One might seek greater character in her playing, but the mix of fire and sensitivity is appealing, and a considered rendition of Debussy’s Estampes closes the recital. Mildner’s early years as a prodigy were successful – she made her debut aged fourteen in Vienna with a solo programme and soon after played Tchaikovsky No.1 with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra – but was less flourishing later (and included a period of Nazi stigma), although she played at Carnegie Hall in 1947. Later Mildner taught at the Salzburg Mozarteum and she also lectured; earlier in life the Mildner family had settled in Buenos Aires, and that’s where Poldi returned to see out her remaining years.
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