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ETHEL LEGINSKA (1883-1970)
British pianist



Ethel Leginska was born Ethel Liggins.  She studied with Theodor Leschetizky and James Kwast, and by the age of twenty was concertizing widely across the European continent under the stage name of Leginska.  At forty, she ended her career as a concert pianist and turned her attention to conducting and teaching.  She had begun to conduct in her thirties, capitalizing on the demand for her services as a pianist which she offered in trade for opportunities to lead European orchestras.  She conducted the New York Symphony Orchestra in 1925 as well as orchestras in Boston and Los Angeles, and was responsible for the establishment of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston English Opera Company in addition to founding the National Women's Symphony Orchestra in New York and serving as director of the Chicago Women's Symphony Orchestra, and starting in the 1920s, if you please.

Judging from the handful of recordings available here, she ranks among the best, perhaps the best, of her generation.  Her Schubert is second to none.  I adore Schubert and find most performances of his music tedious for the very same reason.  His melodies are gorgeous and he allows you to enjoy them until you are fully sated.  But so many pianists do not understand that there is a line, a shape, and a forward motion to his music that must be respected else it become monotonous. 

Ethel Leginska is one of the few who can meet the first impromptu from Op 142, my favorite of them all, in full stride.  Her tempo is aggressive, and with good reason.  The music moves, tension and resolution dancing in a delicate balance.  Her performance of the second, a piece that I massacred in my early teens, has made me love it again after all these years.  And the theme and variations of the third impromptu of the set are the most delicious I know.  They are gentle, dancing, passionate, and eloquent as required.

Ethel Leginska's playing of the the works of Rachmaninoff and Liszt are awe inspiring.  Her technique, non-issue that it is when she plays, is exquisite.  But rather than offering pyrotechnics, she plays expansively in a relaxed manor, as if she were having a conversation with the music.  Her control is overwhelming and inspirational.  The G minor prelude is astonshing in its understated grandeur, such that when the lyrical second theme arrives, it is akin to biting into the core of a chocolate truffle.

Oh, to hear her play Brahms.  How the male pianists of her time must of hated her.



Beethoven  Minuet in G

Duo-Art piano roll




Schubert  Moments Musicaux, Op 94

recorded between 1926 and 1928


2 in A♭ major



6 in A major




Schubert  Impromptus, Op 142


1 in F minor



2 in A♭ major
recorded in 1928



3 in B♭ major
recorded in 1928




Schubert-Tausig  Marche Militaire in D major

recorded in 1928




Liszt  Hungarian Rhapsody 8 in F Minor

recorded in 1926




Leschetizky  Impromptu, Op 2~1 "Les Deux Alouettes"

ca1922 Duo-Art piano roll




Adolf Schulz-Evler  "Concert Arabesques on By The Beautiful Blue Danube" by J Strauss Jr

Duo-Art piano roll




Rachmaninoff  Prelude in C♯ minor, Op 3~2




Rachmaninoff  Prelude in G minor, Op 23~5

recorded between 1926 and 1928










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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