CLAUDIO ARRAU

Prodigy, dandy, visionary

OUR DISCOVERIES

Bande No. 1

Bande No. 1

CLAUDIO ARRAU

THE UNRELEASED BEETHOVEN RECITAL

When he took the stage at the prestigious Hochschule für Musik in Berlin on 12 March 1959, Claudio Arrau, at the age of 56, was an artist at the height of his fame and in the fullness of his pianistic and intellectual qualities. This Beethoven recital by the great Claudio Arrau, recorded on 12 March 1959 at the Hochschule für Muzik in Berlin, previously unreleased, offers an astonishing version of the "Adieux", the "Appassionata" and of the Opus 110. An exceptional document.

CLAUDIO ARRAU

THE UNRELEASED BEETHOVEN RECITAL 1959

CLAUDIO ARRAU

THE UNRELEASED BEETHOVEN RECITAL 1959

The story of this discovery

"What emotion it was to find this tape from 1959 in the Berlin radio archives! A titanic recital, in public, entirely devoted to Beethoven - one of Arrau's favorite composers. The vast majority of the Chilean Master's recordings were made when he was already old, this previously unreleased recording gives thanks to an artist then in full control of his talent. The restoration work was very long and I remember that each step further revealed all of Arrau's work on the construction, the rubato and his incredible use of the pedal forte.

Frédéric D'ORIA-NICOLAS
Musical treasure seeker

THE FORMATS OF THIS DISCOVERY


Tuning fork

"As always with The Lost Recordings, the sonic restoration is remarkable. Beethoven's 'Appassionata' achieves a blend of darkness and hope, improvisation and absolute control."

A demented youth

Claudio Arrau was born in 1903 in Chile. Born into a family of the old Catholic and cultured bourgeoisie, the young Claudio was barely one year old when his father died in a horse accident. Forced to support her three young children, his mother wanted to give them piano lessons. This gave Claudio Arrau the opportunity to grow up surrounded by the sounds of the instrument while learning the mysteries of music theory even before he could read and write.

From the age of 4, Claudio Arrau was able to translate some of Beethoven's sonatas, and was soon considered a child prodigy, dazzling those around him with his uncommon facility for music. A year later, he wrote his first public recital in his hometown, Chillan, with a program consisting of works by Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin. Everything went very fast for Claudio Arrau, so fast that at the age of 6, the Chilean president, impressed by his virtuosity, sent him an exceptional state scholarship to study music in Europe, and more precisely in Germany for ten years. At the age of 8, the young Claudio Arrau, accompanied by his mother and sister, moved to Berlin to attend the prestigious Stern Conservatory. There he met Martin Krauze, a key figure in Berlin's artistic life, a renowned teacher and music critic who was both feared and admired, and who would later become his mentor.

Immediately the current passes between the master and the pupil. Krauze recognizes, in Claudio Arrau, a real raw talent to model according to his rigorous principles while the young boy, far from his native Chile, finds in this authority figure, the substitute of the father he has known very little. During his mentorship, Claudio Arrau refined his technique to the point of being able to play, at the age of 11, works considered to be the most demanding in the repertoire: Liszt's "Transcendental Performance Studies" and Brahms' "Paganini Variations".


Claudio Arrau

An early success

However, Claudio Arrau was only 15 years old when Martin Krauze died of the flu. Out of loyalty, he refused to follow anyone's teaching and chose to continue his apprenticeship as an autodidact. He made his concert debut at the Royal Albert Hall in London and played in Berlin with the Philharmonic Orchestra.

Under the guidance of Karl Muck, he made his first major European tour, accompanied by such illustrious conductors as Nikisch, Furtwängler and Mendelberg. At the age of 16 and 17 respectively, he won the famous Franz Liszt International Piano Competition and, crowned with this newfound glory, undertook a major tour of South America and the United States in 1921 with concerts in New York, Boston and Chicago. Back on the old continent, at the age of 24, he won the Grand Prix International des Pianistes de Genève and began to record his first discs, considerably extending the scope of his references by including in his repertoire composers ranging from Bach to Debussy, as well as the great German romantics such as Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, but also Mozart, Liszt, Chopin and Schoenberg. Everything goes well for Claudio Arrau in his career, in the 30's, he makes two consecutive tours in the Soviet Union and consolidates his reputation by interpreting in a marathon of 12 recitals, the entire keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach, thus contributing, for a part, to the ongoing rehabilitation of the composer. 


 

Claudio Arrau

The beginning of a new life

Following the war in Europe, Claudio Arrau left Germany to return to Chile, where he founded a music school, and then moved to the United States after a triumphant tour. In 1979, he obtained American citizenship and began a new life. He oscillates between teaching, an enormous activity as a concert performer and intensive recording, notably for the Philips label. Claudio Arrau, recognized at the time as one of the greatest interpreters of the great Beethoven, multiplied his public performances of the sonatas, recording between 1962 and 1966, a first complete work that became a legend.

Multiplying honors and official distinctions at the international level, celebrated on the occasion of his 80th and 85th birthdays as one of the monuments of the history of the piano in the 20th century, Claudio Arrau never ceased his activities and never slowed down the pace until his death on June 9, 1991. His last albums, published in part posthumously and devoted to Beethoven, Schubert, Debussy and Bach, sound today like the moving artistic testament of a giant of prodigious substance

 

"When I play, I'm in ecstasy; that's what I live for"

OUR HAPPY MUSIC LOVERS