Jan Smeterlin ∙ Piano Recitals 1951-1958


Jan Smeterlin made only a few commercial recordings for Polyphon, Allegro and Philips. The recordings featured on this album represent a significant new discovery of this pianist. All works on this album were never commercially recorded by Smeterlin and therefore missing from his commercial legacy. During his career, he began to devote himself to recital work rather than to concerto performances. He played many all-Chopin programs and he incorporated music of contemporary piano literature, having been the first to introduce the works of Albéniz to Berlin, besides pioneering certain compositions of Mompou, Szymanowski, Koechlin, and Dukas. During the second World War he lived in the United States. In April 1946, he returned to England to rebuild his European career. Subsequently, he became an eminent figure in European music circles, and made extensive annual tours through the continent, including the Scandinavian countries. He was particularly popular in the Netherlands, appearing frequently on Dutch radio program. Two of these broadcast have survived and are hereby published for the first time. Furthermore, a radio recording of the Liszt Sonata could be discovered in Switzerland.

Meloclassic would like to thank Maurice Fitzmaurice, pupil of Jan Smeterlin, for his assistance with this release. He shared with us his recollection of his former teacher. Click the pdf titled ‘A Pupil’s Memoire‘.

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JAN SMETERLIN Piano Recitals 1951-1958

LISZT: Piano Sonata in B Minor, HS 178
Recorded · 05 March 1958 · Lausanne · Maison Pulliérane · Radio Studio Recording

SCHUMANN: Carnaval, Op 9
Recorded · 24 October 1951 · Hilversum · Studio 1 · NCRV · Radio Studio Recording

DEBUSSY: Poissons d’or, Images, Book II, L 111
DEBUSSY: L’isle joyeuse, L 106
GRANADOS: Goyesca No 2 ‘Coloquio en la Reja’

Recorded · 20 April 1951 · Hilversum · Studio 1 · NCRV · Radio Studio Recording

Article number: MC 1067
UPC barcode: 791154050897
Release date: 1 April 2022
Booklet: 12 Pages
Total timing: 76:06
From the Original Masters ∙ © 2021 Meloclassic

August 2022 ∙ MusicWeb International ∙ Rob Challinor ∙ Jan Smeterlin ∙ Piano Recitals 1951-1958
It is wonderful to hear him in music he did not record commercially thanks to Lynn Ludwig’s Meloclassic label unearthing these broadcasts from Dutch radio. His Liszt B minor Sonata, recorded in 1958, is grand and authoritative, not the performance of a showman but by no means lacking in technical mastery. Smeterlin has firm grasp on the structure of the work and never overdoes the climaxes, approaching them with skilfully graduated dynamics. Two more broadcasts date from seven years earlier and in October 1951 Smeterlin played another major work, Schumann’s Carnaval. Once again this contains fine playing; his tone is beautifully even in legato passages and there is a wonderful sense of rubato. Fans of Smeterlin, and I can safely add myself to that group, will be delighted to have these marvellous documents that give a more rounded picture of him as a pianist especially as the sound is so clear. The CD is in a gatefold sleeve with excellent, detailed notes, and the website listing for the CD also has links to a pupil’s memoire, reminiscences by Maurice Fitzmaurice who studied with Smeterlin between 1955 and 1962. A valuable release.
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