Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Backhaus : Beethoven Piano Concerto No 4

Wilhelm Backhaus, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Ferenc Fricsay - Recorded 1961

It's a pity that Backhaus' late recordings for Decca were marked by Decca's hamfisted recording technique. His Diabelli Variations, for instance, are marred by a microphone placed far too close to the keyboard, which picks up the clicking of his fingernails!

Here he is, captured by honest radio engineers, in a wonderfully natural recording that shows off his burnished tone and sure sense of the music's structure perfectly. Listen to how the passagework flows - no sense of yammering semiquavers here! (I am reminded of Fauré's comment to a pupil who was making a meal of a difficult passage: Remember: they're only semiquavers).

Once again, thanks to R, who originally captured and uploaded this performance.

mp3, 256 VBR

Download from Rapidshare


  1. Thank you for posting this! Backhaus is one of my favourite pianists and Fricsay is one of my favourite conductors.
    Backhaus' discography dates this (?)recording with 24th May, 1961.
    I have a technical question. I downloaded the mp3 files but was unable to convert them into wav format. Do I need a special codec? I am using the Lame.exe converter.

  2. I know nothing at all about Windows, I'm afraid. I live on a Mac. The alternative is to use a media player such as iTunes which plays mp3s. I understand that iTunes on Widows can handle wav files, so if you set the preferences for wav, you can then select the track(s) and use the 'advanced' menu, which should have an item saying 'create --- version', where --- is the output format you have selected in preferences.

    More Backhaus coming too.