ANN SCHEIN (b 1939)
American pianist

Ann Schein is a home grown treasure, a pianist who should be as well known and revered the world over as are the great pianists who are the pride and joy of such countries as Russia, Italy, Germany, England and France.  There is nothing she cannot play brilliantly and with exquisite musicality.  Her excellence as a pianist will stand up favorably in comparison to any.  My great regret as regards this supremely gifted pianist and musician is that apart from several remarkable albums she recorded around 1959 and 1960 for a long defunct and little known label, and a filmed recital from a 2012 Aspen Music Festival, I could find almost nothing to share with you.  Contrast this with dozens of lesser pianists whose records and CDs fill the bins of record stores and dominate the ether, and again one can't help but wonder why.

Her training culminated with study under the former Busoni pupil and concert pianist Mieczyslaw Munz at the Peabody Conservatory.  After several very successful Chopin recordings, and one of my own favorite recordings of the Rachmaninoff D minor concerto, Ann Schein began her association with Artur Rubinstein whose coaching further polished her already astonishing pianism.

I begin with the recording that convinced Artur Rubinstein to take her under his wing, coach her, and advocate for her until the end of his life.  It is a stunning performance.  You can hear the influence - the formidable technique, the power, the sweeping lines and incredible detail - of her early teacher, Mieczysław Munz, on her playing.  I am passionate about the Rachmaninoff D minor.  It is my favorite of all piano concerti.  My collection of LPs boasts nearly forty different performances, every one I could lay my hands on.  Why do you suppose Ann Schien's is not among them?  Were they too busy recording the next sensation to emerge victorious from a major piano competition?  IMHO Cliburn can't touch her.  And yet . . .

Another, perhaps even more astonishing performance by Ann Schein is of the Rachmaninoff transcription of the Minuet from Bizet's L'Arlesienne.  This may be one of the best performances of anything I know.  In fact, all her recordings from ca 1960 are beyond amazing.

Ann Schein's more recent performances, there are some from a recital she gave at the Aspen Music Festival in 2012, are equally, if not quite so explosively, beautiful.  In these, one can hear the influence of Rubinstein, more considered, more refined, more elegant.  The Ravel Sonatine is such an one.  Chopin's F minor Ballade is another.

Rachmaninoff  Piano Concerto 3 in D minor, Op 30
Sir Eugene Goossens conducting the Vienna State Opera Orchestra

i Allegro ma non tanto
ii Intermezzo: Adagio
iii Finale: Alla breve

recorded in 1960

Rachmaninov  Étude-Tableau in E minor, Op 33~6

recorded in 1959

Bizet-Rachmaninoff  Minuet from L'Arlesienne

recorded in 1960

Scriabin  Etude in C minor, Op 2~1

recorded in 1959

Halffter  Dance of the Shepherdess (Danza de la Pastora)

recorded in 1960

Szymanowski  Etude in B minor, Op 4~3

recorded in 1959

Moszkowski  Etude in F major, Op 72~6
from 15 Etudes de Virtuosité, Op.72

recorded in 1959

Medtner  "Danza Festiva" Op 38~3 from Forgotten Melodies, Op 38

recorded in 1960

Debussy  "Pour Les Arpèges Composés"
11 from Douze Études, L 136

recorded in 1959

Weber-Tausig  Invitation To The Dance, Op. 65

recorded in 1960

Liszt from Two Concert Études, S 145
1 Gnomenreigen

recorded in 1959

Chopin  Piano Concerto 2 in F minor, Op 21
Sir Eugene Goossens conducting the Vienna State Opera Orchestra

recorded in 1960

i Maestoso

iii Allegro vivace

Chopin  Études, Op 10

recorded in 1959

4 in C minor

7 in C major

8 in F major

10 in A major

12 in C minor "Revolutionary"

Chopin  Études, Op 25

recorded in 1959

1 in A major

2 in F minor

3 in F major

9 in G major "Butterfly"

Chopin  Nocturne in D major, Op 27~2

recorded in 1960

Chopin  Mazurkas, Op 59

recorded in 1960

2 in A major

3 in F minor

Chopin  Scherzi

recorded in 1960

1 in B minor, Op 20

2 in B minor, Op 31

Mozart  Piano Sonata 15 in C major, K 545
Allegro - ii Andante - iii Rondo

recorded in 1964

2012 Aspen Music Festival, Harris Concert Hall, July 25, 2012

Chopin  Ballade 4 in F minor, Op 52

Chopin  Nocturne 4 in E major, Op 55~2

Liszt  Tarantella from "Venezia e Napoli"
from Années de Pèlerinage Book II

Ravel  Sonatine

Elliott Carter: Piano Sonata (1945-46)
Excerpt from i Maestoso. Legato scorrevole

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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