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  »  New  Rach’s Prelude in C-sharp-Minor…..  Rach’s Prelude in C-sharp-Minor…...  Musical Discussions  Forum     0  9065  10-14-2004
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03-25-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,104
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 1
Post ID: 7007
Reply to: 7007
The Supernatural Josef Hofmann

This post was prompted by listening to Chopin's Piano Concerto in E Minor, Opus 11, Everest Archive X-923 (stereo, 1965).  This whole series of recordings was very carefully made of remarkable Duo-Art reproductions played on the incredible 1929 Steinway Vorsetzer belonging to Harold Powell, of North Hollyood, CA, USA.

There has already been some discussion of the Vorsetzers, etc. in connection with the re-animated Gould Goldberg Variations.  But I don't want to get into this stuff right now because this thread belongs to Hofmann.

I did not remember, but it did not take me long to figure out that this was the first time I have heard this record via my current set-up.  While I never thought that much of these recordings (records, not performances; I always loved the performances) before, I am now forced to reconsider.  I am not sure about the surfaces, since I have put these records through a lot since I got them, back when they were first issued.  I will go back through my modest collection anon, but right now I can't recommend this record highly enough.

This recording is of Hofmann's brilliant transcription and arrangement of the popular piano/orchestra score to render it with solo piano.  If upon hearing it you immediatly suspect two pianos or at least 4 hands are at work, you are not alone.

But this performance is not about technical wizardry.  Rather, it is about artistic mastery.  It is very hard for me to imagine a more beautiful, perfect performance of this piece.  I really would not change one thing about it, including a brief section where you might be thinking it got away from Hofmann, but then he simply ties it back with a truly remarkable "save" that IMO only makes the whole better.

This recording, warts and all, I find about as good as it gets from recorded music.

The world class performance must be heard to be believed, Vorsetzer notwithstanding.

I would pay about any price for a ticket to hear something like this live today, but I honestly suppose I will never get the chance.

Best regards,
Paul S

03-25-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,486
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 7008
Reply to: 7007
The Josef Hofmann? Welcome to the club.

Well, it is hard to say anything more about Josef Hofmann then what already was said. VAI have a good collection of 4 CDs with #3 and #4 being the most interesting

http://www.vaimusic.com/index.htm

BTW, that track from the Rachmaninoff’s Second prelude is taken from the VAI’s CD:

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/GetPost.aspx?PostID=209

The period before 20s was the most brilliant in Hofmann and I wish someone re-master good quality 78s with those recordings. Japanese EMI (Yoshio Okazaki) did good job re-mastering early Kreisler’s recording. Who knows, perhaps early Hofmann will be next. If they do then those things should be bought in bulk.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-26-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Michaelz
Posts 38
Joined on 03-01-2007

Post #: 3
Post ID: 7015
Reply to: 7008
Do you have Hofmann's 78s?
If you do,  could you do the remastering of his early recording yourself?  Some sound clips you did sound very good.
03-26-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,486
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 7016
Reply to: 7015
Remastering 78s myself…

 Michaelz wrote:
If you do,  could you do the remastering of his early recording yourself?  Some sound clips you did sound very good.

Now I do not have nowadays any 78s. About remastering myself – it is complicated. To get good “in paper” condition 78 is not too complicated - it is just time and money. To remaster the 78s to a good raw digital file is not a problem but it is also time and money, in fact a LOT of time if a good result requires.  So, after investing into the 78 setup and infrastructure, learning the art of 78s playback, paying for good records and spending countless hours of getting the best result of the recording – what will I be left with besides 4 min digital file that I know by hard anyhow?

There is in my view a certain misbalance between effort and gratification. In order to rectify the situation financially and ego-wise the remastered recording should be marketed and sold, but it is exactly the direction that I have absolutely no interest in. I prefer somebody else do the remastering well and I would just buy it. Not to mention that instead of a week of experimenting with 78s and months of records hunting I would listen 543 broadcasts on my FM radio…

Rgs, The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-26-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Michaelz
Posts 38
Joined on 03-01-2007

Post #: 5
Post ID: 7017
Reply to: 7016
Reasonable Take
I see.  I thought you had the disks and the setup. 

BTW.  Marston Records published some very nice CDs of Hofmann's recordings.
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   Target    Threads for related reading   Most recent post in related threads   Forum  Replies   Views   Started 
  »  New  Rach’s Prelude in C-sharp-Minor…..  Rach’s Prelude in C-sharp-Minor…...  Musical Discussions  Forum     0  9065  10-14-2004
  »  New  Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.5..  The Russian Premiere....  Musical Discussions  Forum     2  19331  01-18-2009
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