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EGON PETRI (1881-1962)
German-born Dutch pianist



Egon Petri was a titan among pianists.  He had a formidable and powerful technique which he combined with a depth of musical understanding resulting in performances of breathtaking beauty.  There was nothing he could not play brilliantly.  Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin Liszt, Brahms, and Busoni were all as mother's milk to him.  I can find fault with none of it.  But if I were to pick one composer over others, I would have to say that his playing of the music of Liszt is nothing short of miraculous.  At Egon Petri's hands, the true genius of the music of Liszt is revealed.  I can think of no other pianist so consistently capable of connecting with the divine in Liszt's music, all too often problematic at the hands of lesser men.

There is none of the over-stylized exaggeration of so many other pianists of Egon Petri's generation; no excessive self expression as if to say, "Listen to this, it is I playing."  The voice of the composer dominates, always, yet he always finds a path to making that voice his own as well.

As a student, Egon Petri received strong encouragement from Paderewski and Busoni.  He went on to stude with Busoni, eventually becoming the latter's disciple.  It was Busoni who encourage him to focus on the music of Bach and Liszt.

Egon Petri was also an excellent teacher.  The list of his students included Victor Borge, Stanley Gardner, Jan Hoffman, Gunnar Johansen, Vitya Vronsky, Eugene Istomin, Ozan Marsh, Grant Johannesen, John Ogden, Ruth Slenczynska and Earl Wild, a number of whom are still among the best known pianists of the 20th century.

These are links to Petri playing Bach, Busoni and Beethoven, and to his playing of concerted works by Bach, Beethoven, Liszt, Tchaikovsky and Busoni as well as a Brahms violin sonata with Joseph Szigeti.



Buxtehude  "Now We Thank Thee"

recorded in 1958




Gluck-Sgambati  Melodie from "Orfeo ed Euridice"

recorded in 1959




Haydn  Variations in F minor, Hob XVII:6

recorded in 1959




Beethoven-Liszt "Adelaide"

recorded in the mid-1950s




Paganini-Liszt  "La Chasse"
5 from Études d'execution transcendante d'aprés Paganini, S 140

recorded in 1929




Schubert-Liszt   "Auf dem Wasser zu singen"

recorded in 1929




Schubert-Liszt  "Gretchen Am Spinnrade"

recorded in 1938




Schubert-Liszt  "Erlkönig"

recorded in 1951




Schubert-Liszt  "Die Forelle"

recorded in 1929




Schubert-Liszt   "Liebesbotschaft"

recorded in 1930




Schubert-Liszt  "Der Lindenbaum" (1938)
Liszt  Concert Etude "Gnomenreigen" (1929)




Schubert-Liszt Soirée de Vienne 6

recorded in 1935




Schubert-Tausig  Andantino & Variations in B minor

recorded in 1936




Mendelssohn-Liszt  Wedding March and Dance of Faries" from A Midsummer Night's Dream




Chopin  Preludes, Op 28

recorded in 1942


Preludes 1-9



Preludes 10-16



Preludes 17-24




Chopin  Etude in A♭ major, Op 25 ~1

recorded live in 1951




Chopin  Waltz in A♭ major, Op 42

recorded in 1929




Liszt  Sonetto 47 del Petrarca
4 from
Années de pèlerinage "Deuxième année: Italie"

recorded live in 1957




Liszt  Sonetto 104 del Petrarca
5 from
Années de pèlerinage "Deuxième année: Italie"

recorded live in 1959




Liszt  Sonetto 123 del Petrarca
6 from
Années de pèlerinage "Deuxième année: Italie"

recorded live in 1957




Liszt  "Les jeux d'eau à la Villa d'Este"
from Années de pèlerinage "Troisième année"

recorded in the mid-1950s




Liszt  "Venezia e Napoli"
1 Gondoliera - 2 Canzona - 3 Tarantella
from Années de pèlerinage "Deuxième année: Italie"

recorded live in 1962




Liszt  Concert Study in D major "Un Sospiro"

recorded in 1940




Liszt  Fantasy on two motives from Mozart's "Le nozze di Figaro"
(completed by Busoni)

recorded in 1956




Liszt  Concert Paraphrase on Verdi's "Rigoletto"

recorded in 1937




Liszt  Paraphrase on a Waltz from Gounod's "Faust" S 407

recorded in 1936




Liszt  Transcendental Etude 4 "Mazeppa"

recorded in 1935




Liszt  Transcendental Etude 9 "Ricordanza"

recorded in the 1950s




Liszt  Hungarian Rhapsody 12 in C minor

recorded in the mid-1950s




Liszt (Busoni)  Mephisto Waltz 1

recorded in 1956




Alkan  Symphony for Solo piano, Op 39 ~4-7

recorded in 1952/52


i Allegro



ii Marche Funebre: Andantino



iii Menuet



iv Finale: Presto




Franck  Prélude, choral et fugue in B minor

recorded in 1942




Brahms   Opp 10, 24, 35, 79, 117, 119


The Ballades, Op 10 (1950's)
1 in D minor. Andante - (03:28) 2 in D major. Andante
(8:14) 3 in B minor. Intermezzo. Allegro - (12:07) 4 in B major. Andante con moto

(17:52) Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op 24 (1938)
(41:58) Variations on a Theme of Paganini, Op 35  Book I (1938)
(51:20) Variations on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 35  Book II (1938)

The Rhapsodies, Op 79 (1940)
(1:00:22) 1 in B minor. Agitato - (1:07:41) 2 in G minor. Molto passionato, ma non troppo allegro

3 Intermezzi, Op 117
(1:13:12) 1 in E major. Andante moderato 
(1:17:09) 2 in B♭ minor. Andante non troppo e con molto espressione
(1:20:23) 3 in C♯ minor. Andante con moto

(1:25:54) Rhapsody in E major, Op 119 (1940)




Medtner  Two Fairy Tales, Op 20

recorded live in the late 1950s










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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