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PAUL WITTGENSTEIN
Austrian pianist (1887-1961)



Here we have Paul Wittgenstein playing some extraordinary music for the left hand alone. Several of these recording were made very late in his life and one might feel they do not measure up to the drama and pathos of the legend. However, they are of immeasurable historical significance and a window into a performance style for which, in the cases of these particular works, we have very few examples.

The two operatic transcriptions are already difficult enought in two hand versions, and not only to play. It is no easy task to create a successful transcribption of an orchestral work for the piano, but to do so for the left hand in indeed daunting.

The Reger is a work conceived for the left hand, and as such lies much more naturally under the fingers.

And I save the best for last. Wittgenstein's performance of the Bach-Brahms Chaconne is particularly compelling.



Bach-Brahms  Chaconne in D minor, BWV 1004 for the left hand

Part I

Part II



Donizetti-Leschetizky  Sextet from Lucia di Lammermoor

recorded in 1959




Mendelssohn  Song Without Words in E♭ major, Op 67~1

early 1920s Hupfeld piano roll




Wagner-Liszt-Wittgenstein  Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde

recorded in 1959




Reger  Romanza, Preludio e Fuga for the left hand 



Ravel  Concerto for the Left Hand in D major
Bruno Walter conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam

recorded in 1937




Wittgenstein playing the Cadenza
filmed in Paris in 1933










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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