Pianist Andor Foldes (1913-1992) was closely associated with the music of Béla Bartók, and indeed he studied with the composer, as well as Ernő Dohnányi. DG recorded the complete solo piano works of Bartók in the middle 1950s on 4 Lps, which were reissued in 1981, but have only been granted a single Cd reissue selected from this set. These are earlier recordings issued by Vox. The Second Concerto was given its New York premiere by Foldes in 1947, and was recorded several years later. Vox also issued a c. 1950 version of the Piano Sonata, but I don’t have this record. The concerted works have appeared on at least one Cd issue, but seems to be OOP and difficult to locate. It was a challenge to work with this Vox lp of the concerto, which has migrating pitch issues, as well as a whopping pitch change between sides (it seems to be a 78rpm dubbing) in the first movement (the whole thing is over 5% sharp at times!). It also has a severe rumble problem. I think I’ve compensated for as many defects as I can, but hi-fi, it’s not! One thing I could not compensate for is the how flat the orchestra tunes to the piano in the first movement of the Mozart K. 595!
Foldes’ performances are sharply etched, and like Bartók’s performing style is rather economical in many respects, but unlike Bartók, he is a bit less rhapsodic in rhythmical nuance. He does share an welcome aversion to the pounding that is sometimes considered appropriate in this repertory…which always makes me think of Bartók’s supposed admonition to a student: “Please don’t play it in such a Bartókian manner”!!
The Mozart performances are taken from the Europarchive.org copies, with some minor hum removal, a bit of pitch adjustment, so thanks to those who produced those dubs. Sorry, the second movement of K. 595 has some source defects that I couldn’t remove.
Bartók: 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs
Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 1
Roger Désormière, conductor
Piano Concerto No. 2
Eugène Bigot, conductor
Vox PL 6410 & PL 8220
Recorded June 27 & 29, 1949, Salle Pleyel
(dates for 2nd Concerto, others c. 1949, 1950)
Mozart: Concerto No. 15 in Bb Major, K. 450
Eugène Bigot, conductor
Vox PL 6580
Recorded July 23 & September 29, 1948, Salle Chopin
Mozart: Concerto No. 27 in B-flat major, K. 595
10 Variations on “Unser dummer Pöbel meint”, K. 455
Arthur Goldschmidt, conductor
Pro Musica Orchestra
Vox PL 6810
Recorded October 12, 1950, Salle Pleyel
Andor Foldes, piano