Annie Fischer

8.99 €

Annie Fischer wasn’t included in Philips’s ‘Great Pianists of the 20th Century’ series which annoyed a number of her admirers and pianophiles; however, these wonderful radio recitals from German and French radio will certainly help to alleviate their disappointment. None of these radio performances have been published before.

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ANNIE FISCHER plays Beethoven, Mozart, Händel, Schubert and Bartók

1-3. BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No.8 in C minor, Op.13 [16:32]
4-6. MOZART: Piano Sonata in F Major, K.332 [13:26]

Recorded · 14 February 1957 · Frankfurt · Hessischer Rundfunk · Raum 3/C · Radio Studio Recording

7. HÄNDEL: Chaconne in G Major, HWV.435 [06:46]
8-9. BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No.24 in F-sharp Major, Op.78 [07:08]
10. SCHUBERT: Impromptu No.1 in F minor, D.935 [09:05]
11. SCHUBERT: Impromptu No.2 in A-flat Major, D.935 [06:43]
12. SCHUBERT: Impromptu No.4 in F minor, D.935 [05:22]
13. BARTÓK: 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz.71 [14:14]

Recorded · 02 January 1959 · Paris · Studio 107 · Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française · Radio Studio Recording

Additional Information

Article number: MC 1016
Release date: 02 May 2014
UPC barcode: 0791154050163
Total time: 79:20

Producer and Audio Restoration: Lynn Ludwig
Booklet Notes: Michael Waiblinger
Design: Alessia Issara
Photographs: Magyar Digitális Archívum
With special thanks to Yuan Huang
From the Original Masters · © 2014 Meloclassic

Annie Fischer was born in Budapest on July 5, 1914, and studied with Anton Szekely and Ernst von Dohnanyi at the Franz Liszt Academy to whose influence she in later years attributed her remarkable range and control of sonority. Like Clara Schumann she was an infant prodigy and played the Beethoven’s C major Concerto in Budapest when only eight years old. Clara first appearance at the Leipzig Gewandhaus at the age of nine. Fischer gave her international debut in Zürich in 1926. By the age of 12 Fischer began to astound the rest of Europe, and again like Clara Schumann, her early promise matured and developed with every year of her life.


Fischer was once asked if she likes Liszt’s music: “Yes” she said, “I think the B minor sonata is very great music”. In 1933 playing this work Fischer won the first international Liszt piano contest; this when she was the youngest contestant. In 1935 she married Aladar Toth, the eminent musicologist and later director of the Budapest Opera. Their marriage was extremely happy; Annie Fischer derived great inspiration from Toth’s support and guidance.

In 1941 they left Hungary for Sweden, and Fischer suspended her performing career during World War II. She began touring Europe again in 1946, after she and her husband returned to Budapest. She played all over Europe and was frequently heard at the main music festivals including Edinburgh, Holland, Prague and Salzburg. She first came to London in 1955, and slowly but surely the press and public have acclaimed her, and it was hard to get a seat in London’s huge Festival hall when she was the soloist. Throughout the concert halls of Europe it was likely to find her name on the program with great regularity.

Her international career outside Europe started very late. In the United States, Canada and Australia, she had not been a name. It was in 1961 for the first time that she was making her first American tour, when she played the Mozart Concerto in E flat (K. 482) with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. She presented her first recital in the United States in Pittsburgh on February 16, 1961. Her first recital in Canada on September 23, 1962 in Ottawa. And her first visit to Australia in 1968 for a six weeks tour.

Fischer made significant studio recordings in the 1950s with Otto Klemperer and Wolfgang Sawallisch, but felt that any interpretation created in the absence of an audience would necessarily be artificially constricting, since no interpretation was ever “finished.”

Her legacy today thus includes many live concert recordings that have been released on CD and DVD. Her interpretations of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Schumann, as well as Hungarian composers like Béla Bartók continue to receive the highest praise from pianists and critics. On the international concert playing life she said: “I couldn’t be without this. I’m not sure whether I really enjoy it, but I have been playing since I was three, and I can’t change now. And I like almost everything before Bartok.” Her greatest legacy, however, is a studio-made integral set of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas. She worked on this set for 15 years beginning in 1977. A self-critical perfectionist, she did not allow the set to be released in her lifetime but, since her death, it has been released on compact disc and widely praised.

Fischer died in Budapest on April 10, 1995.


The ovations of her concerts were overwhelming and the press no less so:

“Miss Fischer a pianist of talent” The Glasgow Herald – Nov 25, 1957
“Annie Fischer Europe’s Best” The New York Times – Feb 14, 1961
“Annie Fischer a top pianist” The Pittsburgh Press – Feb 16, 1961
“Annie Fischer is one of Hungary’s greatest jewels” The New York Post – Feb 21, 1961
“Annie Fischer brilliant with Liszt Concerto” The Age – Jun 18, 1964
“Annie Fischer is Hungary’s foremost present pianist”” The Herald Sun – Sep 14, 1967
“Annie Fischer unconditionally pledged to a searing, intense re-creation” The Sydney Morning Herald – Apr 11, 1968

Photo: Annie Fischer and Ernst von Dohnany in Budapest 1930s

© Michael Waiblinger 2014

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