Fanny Davies was pupil of Carl Reinecke and Clara Schumann. While she specialized in the German Classics and Romantics, Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms, she was one of the first to perform the works of Debussy and Scriabin.
A very successful concert pianist, Fanny Davies performed all over Europe, giving numerous concerts in England, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Spain, Austria and Czechoslovakia to great acclaim. Even George Bernard Shaw, often the most severe of music critics who at one point referred to her as a "wild young woman", eventually grew to admire her.
She often performed chamber music having given the first performances in London of several works by Brahms. The violinist Joseph Joachim, a close friend and colleague of Brahms and Clara Schumann, was a frequent partner with whom Davies gave the London premier of Brahms Violin Sonata in D minor, Op 108. She was much admired for her chamber music, and she was also a fine accompanist of singers with whom she often performed the Lieder of Schumann, Brahms and others.
I have been able to find only a few examples of her playing which you can hear below. As a student of Clara Schumann, Fanny Davies' performances of the complete Davidsbundlertanze Op 6 and the Kinderszenen, Opus 15 by Robert Schumann are of historic importance and give us a good appreciation of her capabilities as a solo pianist of this type of music. The wonderful news is that the complete performance of the a minor piano concerto is once again available. A piano roll of a Toccata by Sgambati is a bit of curiosity and shows off her technique.
It must be assumed that her interpretation and style of playing are authentically representative of the piece given her study with Clara Schumann and close association with Joachim who often performed with Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms, and others who had known Schumann.
Schumann Davidsbundletanzer, Op 6 recorded in 1930
Part I (1, 2, 4-6, 8-12)
Part II (13, 14, 17, 18)
Schumann Kinderszenen, Op 15 recorded in 1929
1 Of Foreign Lands and Peoples, G major - 2 A Curious Story, D major - 3 Blind Man's Bluff, B minor - 4 Pleading Child, D major 5 Happiness, D major - 6 An Important Event, A major - 7 Reverie ("Träumerei"), F major 8 At the Fireside, F major - 9 Knight of the Hobbyhorse, C major - 10 Almost Too Serious, G♯ minor
11 Frightening, E minor - 12 Child Falling Asleep, E minor - 13 The Poet Speaks, G major
Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor, Op 54 Ernest Ansermet conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra recorded in 1928
Sgambati Toccata in A flat Major Op 18 no.4 1909 Welte piano roll
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