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IRENE SCHARRER (1888-1971)
English pianist



Irene Scharrer is the kind of pianist one comes across very once in a while who reminds one why it is necessary to hear yet another interpretation of one's favorite pieces.    Her technique was refined, with impeccable control and beautiful tone.

She was a pupil of Tobias Matthay at the Royal Academy of Music, debuted at the age of 16, and had a very distinguished career.  She was often the partner of Dame Myra Hess, another Matthay student, in four-hand piano music.  As a soloist, she often performed with conductors of the stature of Arthur Nikisch in Berlin and Landon Ronald in London.

Of the recordings below, I would like to single out the Chopin Fantaisie-impromptu and the B minor Scherzo as being of particular interest.  In the comparison recording of the Debussy Arabesque, I think Irene Scharrer's performance outshines both those of Pouishnoff and Gieseking.  It is at once more subtle and more whimsical.



Purcell  Toccata-Prelude

recorded in 1925




Bach  Prelude & Fugue in C♯ major, BWV 848 (Well Tempered Clavier, Book I)




Bach  "Jesu, joy of man's desiring"
transcribed by Dame Myra Hess

recorded in 1929



and as performed by Dame Myra Hess




Mozart  Piano Sonata in G major, K 283
i Allegro - ii  Andante - iii  Presto




Mendelssohn  Rondo capriccioso in E major, Op 14




Mendelssohn  Song without Words, Op 67 ~4 "The Bee's Wedding"

recorded in 1927




Chopin  Nocturne in C minor Op 48 ~1

recorded in 1916




Chopin  Étude in G minor, Op 25 ~6

recorded in 1933




Chopin  Étude in G major, Op 10 ~5
and
(01:37) Impromptu 1 in A major, Op 29




Chopin  Fantaisie-Impromptu in C minor, Op.66

recorded in 1932




Chopin  Étude in G major, Op 25 ~9
and (01:01) Waltz in D major, Op 64 ~1

recorded in 1916




Chopin  Étude in G minor, Op 25 ~6
and (01:59) Scott Joplin  Danse Nègre

recorded in 1915




Chopin  Scherzo 2 in B minor, Op 31

recorded in 1932




Liszt  Concert Paraphrase on Rigoletto

recorded in 1929




Debussy  Reflets dans l'eau




Debussy  Poissons d'or




Debussy  Arabesque 2

(a comparison)

1 Leff Pouishnoff (rec. 1923)
(02:28) 2 Irene Scharrer (rec. 1926)
(05:31) 3 Walter Gieseking (rec. 1928)




Goodhart  "Tipperary"  Five Variations

recorded in 1915




I include the following as an example of Irene Scharrer's playing with orchestra.  Her's, an abridged performance of the movement, is the first example.  There are ten other pianists playing the same movement on this video that you may listen to for your own amusement.  I will save my comments for a separate page in the interpretation section of this site.


Saint-Saëns  Piano Concerto 2 in G minor, Op 22
iii Allegro Scherzando










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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