Michael Zadora: The Complete Recordings, 1922-1938

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Back in the 1970s the International Piano Library issued an LP with Ferruccio Busoni's complete disc recordings on one side, and the other side featuring...
Back in the 1970s the International Piano Library issued an LP with Ferruccio Busoni's complete disc recordings on one side, and the other side featuring Busoni pupils playing Busoni, including the Sonatina No. 6 (the Carmen Fantasy) played by the New York-born pianist Michael Zadora (1882-1946). Many years later Pearl brought out a superior transfer of this riveting performance, along with further Zadora sides. APR now has gathered all of Zadora's recordings in a two-CD set, evenly divided between acoustic and electric 78s. Most of this material appears for the first time in a long-playing format.

For whatever reason, Zadora's 78s were unusually well engineered for their time, especially the 1929 Polydor sides with their resonant bloom. Aside from certain items that reflect a tendency to rush--the electrical Chopin Op. 64 No. 1 that ought to be retitled the "half-minute" waltz!, and a rather slapdash Debussy Toccata--Zadora's musical intelligence and keen ear for nuance and tone color impress, even in the numerous light works such as Hummel's Rondo, Lemare's La Passione, and Zadora's own transcriptions of the Barcarolle from Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann, selections from Delibes ballets, and the schmaltzy Vienna Waltz he penned under the pseudonym Pietro Amadis.

The pianist's superb textural layering in Liszt's D-flat and E major Consolations substantiates his unusually fast yet never hectic-sounding tempos. By contrast, Raff's La Fileuse unfolds in delicate, deliberately paced arcs. The Busoni Second and Fifth sonatinas recorded in 1938 for the independent Friends of New Music label suffer from cramped, dynamically constricted sound that probably makes the music sound drier and more austere than it is, although Zadora's affinity for and commitment to this repertoire certainly cuts through the sonic grime. With so many reissues of reissues of reissues on the market, it's heartening that APR continues to lavish considerable time and effort on "virgin territory", so to speak. Jonathan Summers' excellent, informative notes and Mark Obert-Thorn's fine transfers add further value to this release.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com

Product Description:

  • Release Date: November 01, 2009

  • UPC: 5024709160082

  • Catalog Number: APR6008

  • Label: APR Recordings

  • Number of Discs: 2

  • Composer: Adolf Henselt, Adolf Jensen, Anton Rubinstein, Claude Debussy, Domenico Scarlatti, Ferruccio Busoni, Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Giovanni Sgambati, Jacques Offenbach, Joachim Raff, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, John Field, Léo Delibes, Ludwig van Beethoven, Sergei Prokofiev, Unspecified

  • Performer: Michael Von Zadora