Weissenberg: Haydn, Czerny, Soler, Bach-Liszt - Vergara 11.6.005 L (Lumen license)

$115.00 USD

Vergara (LP)

Jacket VG / LP EX

This handsome, little-known, and extraordinarily rare Spanish imprint, on the Vergara label, of an elusive Lumen LP (11.6.005 L, Spanish pressing, green/white label, mono – no stereo edition exists) features the great pianist Alexis (then known as “Sigi”) Weissenberg in one of his earliest albums, a stunning mixed recital recorded in Paris in 1955.

A note on the production values: Vergara was a very fine Spanish label. The issue consists of a nice laminated flipback jacket. In my humble opinion, the quality of the actual vinyl is slightly higher than with Lumen, which I have never found to be entirely satisfactory, despite their extraordinary catalog, of course. In any case, it is at least as good.

The exact contents are as follows:

J.S. Bach (arr. Franz Liszt): Organ Prelude & Fugue in A minor BWV 543

Joseph Haydn: Piano Sonata in E-flat Major Hob. XVI: 52

Padre Antonio Soler: 3 Piano Sonatas

            Piano Sonata No. 24 in D minor

            Piano Sonata in D minor

            Piano Sonata in C-sharp minor (S.R. 21)

Carl Czerny: “La Ricordenza” · Variations on a Theme by Rode, Op. 33

Wrote the outstanding critic Gary Lemco for Audad.com:

“Bulgarian piano phenomenon Alexis “Sigi” Weissenberg (1929-2012) won plaudits over the years for his “trip hammer virtuosity, brilliant tone, a briskly commanding approach to the score…He was one of those comets in the musical sky that turned out be meteors.” Weissenberg was the winner at age eighteen of the eighth annual Leventritt Award. In 1948, with Leonard Bernstein, Weissenberg became the first pianist to play the Rachmaninov D Minor Concerto in Israel. Weissenberg made a ten-inch LP (c. 1950) for CBS (ML 2099) of Prokofiev and Scriabin; he then sojourned to Paris to record for the “boutique” Lumen label. Doremi restores these recordings which display a fleet, uncanny facility that might, in its cool efficiency, be likened to the Heifetz style of violin virtuosity. The transfers seem to have been taken from fairly well-preserved LPs rather than from master tapes, since a degree of crackle and clicks still remain present.

“The opening Bach Prelude and Fugue in A Minor in the Liszt arrangement delivers a case in point: light, crisp, eminently diaphanous, it no less projects an air of utter, aesthetic detachment. The Haydn Sonata, particularly in its first movement, indulges the taste for toccata-style, playfully alternating masses of sounds, cascades, runs, and blistering scales in breathless motion. The Adagio, however, reveals Weissenberg’s capacity to shape a melody and invest a breath of life into its thoughtful procession. Verve and playful wit characterize the concluding Presto, the double notes and perky agogics perfectly in place, peppered with pregnant pauses and sudden explosions of color that do not confuse speed with crescendi. The accelerations alone warrant our admiration, as well as Weissenberg’s potent staccati and fortes that do not indulge in stultifying percussion.

“The miniature, Spanish art of Padre Soler has its acolyte in Weissenberg, who performs the stately D Minor Sonata (No. 24) in glistening, galant style, a series of rustling, intimate veronicas of surpassing grace and beauty.  A second Sonata in D Minor (No. 15) explodes into our consciousness, clearly an evocation of Scarlatti but more nervously vibrant. Almost a perpetuum mobile, the piece generates a scintillating momentum of its own. The last of the group, in C-sharp Minor (No. 21), enjoys those Spanish syncopations that keep us off balance in every delightful manner.  The muted dynamics only increase the internal frenzy of the colors, whose liquid trills and mordants beguile us at every turn. The charming 1822 Variations on “La Ricordanza” (The Reminiscence) by Czerny after a theme by Rode, a Horowitz staple, capture the composer’s find recollection of a soprano, Angelica Catalani, and they permit Weissenberg to flaunt a marvelous singing tone.”

The reverse side of the jacket carries very insightful liner notes (uncredited) – printed in Spanish only. The striking cover photo is similarly uncredited.


The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.

The condition of the jacket is VERY GOOD. There is corner wear, more so to the lower-right corner, where there is also a slight bend/creasing. There is also light edgewear. However, there are no seamsplits or other defects, and the album remains solid, bright, glossy, and highly attractive – overall, a very good collector's copy.

The condition of the LP itself is EXCELLENT. Though there is light surface noise throughout, in general the playback remains quite fine. However, if you must have a flawless or NM copy, then please do not buy this LP. Overall, this rates as an excellent collector's copy.



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