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CONRAD HANSEN
German pianist (1906 - 2002)



Conrad Hansen was a pupil of Edwin Fischer.  His debut took place with the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of the most exalted of all conductors, Wilhelm Furtwängler.  Subsequent concerts followed with other illustrias conductors such including Eugen Jochum, Willem Mengelberg, Herbert von Karajan, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and even Richard Strauss.  That alone should make you wonder why you have hardly heard of this magnificent pianist. 

Fortunately, there are performances here in which Conrad Hansen performs concerti with some of these conductors, Furtwängler, Mengelberg, Sawallisch.

Probably best known for his Beethoven of which two excellent examples follow, we hear Conrad Hansen playing Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Dvořák equally splendidly.  His is the highest form of music making from the great Germanic tradition, no mus, no fuss, no exaggeration.  And yet it is rich in subtly expressive detail.

Conrad Henson made a number of recordings on the fortepiano, an instrument important to the appreciation of what the works of Mozart and Beethoven might have sounded like at the time.  I am not particularly fond of the fortepiano.  Its limitations in terms of power and tone, and its expressive constraints, make me yearn for a piano that has attained its full development.  But it can give us an understanding of what Mozart meant by his dynamic and phrase markings in the score, and how they might be played.  I would love to have heard Conrad Hansen play these sonata on a really fine 20th century Steinway.

Conrad Hansen was also also the pianist of the Hansen Trio.  Their recording of Dvořák's "Dumky" Trio is heavenly, and far and away the most beautiful I've heard.  The Schubert trio is also simply wonderful.  These are three consummate musicians who are delighting in making inspired music together.



Mozart  Piano Sonata 1 in C major, K 279
i Allegro
played on a fortepiano




Mozart  Piano Sonata 2 in F major, K 280
i Allegro assai
played on a fortepiano




Mozart  Piano Sonata 3 in B major, K 281
i Allegro
played on a fortepiano




Mozart  Piano Sonata 4 in E major, K 282
i Adagio
played on a fortepiano




Mozart  Piano Sonata 5 in G major, K 283
i Allegro
played on a fortepiano




Mozart  Piano Sonata 6 in D major, K 284
i Allegro
played on a fortepiano




Mozart  Piano Sonata 7 in C major, K 309
iii Rondo - Allegretto grazioso
played on a fortepiano




Mozart  Piano Sonata 8 in A minor, K 310
i Allegro maestoso
played on a fortepiano




Mozart  Piano Sonata 11 in F major, K 331
iii Rondo alla turca - Allegretto
played on a fortepiano




Mozart  Piano Sonata 12 in F major, K 332
i Allegro
played on a fortepiano




Mozart  Piano Sonata 14 in C minor, K 457
i Molto allegro
played on a fortepiano




Mozart  Piano Sonata 15 in C major, K 545
i Allegro
played on a fortepiano




Beethoven  Piano Sonata 5 in C minor, Op 10~1

i Allegro molto e con brio
ii Adagio molto
iii Prestissimo

recorded in 1953




Beethoven  Piano Sonata 32 in C minor, Op 111


i Maestoso. Allegro con brio ed appassionato



iia Arietta - Adagio molto semplice e cantabile (beginning)



iib Arietta - Adagio molto semplice e cantabile (conclusion)




Beethoven  Piano Concerto 4 in G major, Op 58

i Allegro moderato
19:35 ii Andante con moto
25:50iii Rondo - Vivace

Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchetra

recorded live in 1943




Schubert  Piano Trio 2 in E major, Op 100 (D 898)
Hansen Trio [with Erich Röhn, violon and Arthur Troester, cello]

recorded in 1953


i Allegro



ii Andante con moto



iii Scherzo - Andante con moto



iv Allegro moderato




Brahms  Intermezzo in B minor, Op 119~1

recorded in 1965




Tchaikovsky  Piano Concerto 1 in B minor, Op 23
Willem Mengelberg conducting an unidentified Berlin Symphony Orchestra


01:00i Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso. Allegro con spirito



ii Andantino semplice – Prestissimo



iii Allegro con fuoco




Tchaikovsky  Piano Concerto 1 in B minor, Op 23
Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting the  RIAS Symphony Orchestra


ia Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso. Allegro con spirito (beginning)



ib Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso. Allegro con spirito (continuation)



ic Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso. Allegro con spirito (conclusion)
03:01
ii Andantino semplice – Prestissimo (beginning)



ii Andantino semplice – Prestissimo (conclusion)
01:34
iii Allegro con fuoco




Dvorak  Piano Trio 4 in E minor, Op 90 "Dumky"

i Lento Maestoso
10:37ii Poco Adagio
13:34iii Andante
16:47iv Andante Moderato (Quasi Tempo di Marcia)
21:26v Allegro
25:45vi Lento Maestoso

Hansen Trio [with Erich Röhn, violon and Arthur Troester, cello]










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



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