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HELMUT ROLOFF
German pianist (1912 - 2001)



Helmut Roloff studied with Richard Rüssler and Wladimir Horbowski.  He was the son of an ardent anti-Nazi and was active with a resistence group during the war.  Listening to his gentle and most gracious playing, it is hard to imagine this man being tortured by the Gestapo and being able to refrain from giving up any information on his comrades and their activities to the point that he was eventually released for lack of evidence.

This is another case in which a pianist of superlative musicality is only represented on these pages by a very small selection.  Fortunately, one of the examples is of a complete concerto by Mozart.  This performance of the D minor concerto is just lovely.  The pacing is elegant and the playing is superb, as is the accompaniment by Fritz Lehmann. [Sadly, this recording has now been removed from YouTube. Perhaps someone else will post it before too long.]

The recording of the Beethoven variations is without a doubt the finest I have heard.  The delicacy of Helmut Roloff's touch is so refreshing, and the clarity of his playing lifts this out of the realm of the overabused. His Mendelssohn seems to be played from the perspective of the time in which it was composed rather than that of someone who is looking back on the Romantic era and all it so often came to mean pianistically.



Mozart  Piano Concerto 20 in D minor, K 466
Fritz Lehmann conducting the RIAS Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

i Allegro
14:58 ➢ ii Romanze
23:34 ➢ iii Rondo - Allegro assai

recorded in 1954




Beethoven  Six Variations on "Nel cor più non mi sento"

recorded in 1959




Beethoven  "Eroica Variations" Op 35

recorded in the early 1950s




Mendelssohn  Rondo Capriccioso, Op 14

recorded in the mid 1960s




Mendelssohn  Fantasie, Op 28


i Con molto agitato
06:10ii Allegro con moto
08:30iii Presto

recorded in 1963




Mendelssohn  Variations sérieuses, Op 54

recorded in 1963




Mendelssohn   from Songs Without Words

Op 19~1 Andante con moto
03:19  Op 19~3 "Jagerlied" - Molto allegro e vivace
05:05  Op 19~4 Moderato
07:18  Op 38~5 Agitato
09:52  Op 38~6 Andante con moto (Duetto)
12:46  Op 62~5 Venezianisches Gondellied" - Andante con moto
15:18  Op 62~6 "Frühlingslied" - Allegretto grazioso
17:58  Op 67~4 "Spinnerlied" - Presto
20:03  Op 85~3 Presto

recorded in the mid 1960s










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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