"I have three great passions in life: Mozart, Beethoven in his second phase, and Antonietta Rudge playing both of them." That is what Artur Rubinstein had to say about this wonderful pianist in his memoirs.
She studied with Luigi Chiaffarelli, himself a pupil of Busoni, and it was through Chiaffarelli that she met, played for, and played chamber music with the likes of Camille Saint-Saëns, Pablo Casals, and Harold Bauer on their visits to Brazil. It is said that she has an enourmous repertoire and could play almost anything from memory, including both books of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier. Would that she had made more recordings.
Antonietta Rudge was a champion of contemporary Brazilian composers. She premiered many works by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Alexandre Levy, whose Tango Brasileiro you will hear below, Henrique Oswald, Alberto Nepomuceno, Luiz Levy, Artur Napoleão, Camargo Guarnieri, Hekel Tavares, and Francisco Mignone
She follows, or or should I say leads as she was the teacher of Guiomar Novaes who was arguably the greatest of all women pianists, in the tradition of the Brazilian Tango, a sensually languid manner of playing the Argentine national dance. While the Levy Tango is not nearly the vehicle for this manner of play that was the Albéniz-Godowski Tango, one can still feel the swaying palms in the distance and the swaying hips up close.
Only ten short works for piano follow, but they are more than enough to give you a very good idea of the wonder that was Antonietta Rudge. Her Chopin was lovely, her Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, judging from the one example of each that we have, must surely have been epic, and her Ravel was stunningly beautiful.
Gluck-Sgambatti Melody from Dance of the Blessed Spirits
from the opera Orfeo ed Euridice
recorded in the 1960s
Chopin Barcarolle in F♯ major, Op 60
Chopin Mazurka in C♯ minor, Op 63~3
Chopin Impromptu 1 in A♭ major, Op 29
04:17 ➢ Scriabin Prelude in C♯ minor Andante, Op 11~10
05:50 ➢ Alexandre Levy (1864 - 1892) Tango Brasileiro (1890)
from the opera Tristan und Isolde
recorded in the 1920s
Rachmaninoff Prelude in G♯ minor, Op 32~12
Ravel "Jeux d´eau"
recorded in the 1940s
Prokofiev Suggestion Diabolique, Op 4~4
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:
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