The great Gina Bachauer was a magnificent pianist and one of the most important names of my musical youth. Her range was considerable, from Scarlatti to Stravinsky, and she was remarkable for the sheer strength of her playing, inviting comparison with Teresa Carreño. There was not an orchestra capable of drowning out the most fragile passages in a concerto, certainly not a conductor who might have dared try. And yet, the delicacy of her playing, when it was required, was a wonder.
Today Bachauer's recordings are hard to find and she is no longer a household name. Pity. As you will hear in the examples we have, Gina Bachauer's musicality and technique were impeccable. She was able to bring out such a wealth of detail without any loss of line or forward motion.
Gina Bachauer studied with Alfred Cortot, and intermittently with Sergei Rachmaninov, hence it should come as no surprise that she was able to combine a supreme clarity with an interpretive depth seldom equaled by others.
I have known the Brahms 2nd piano concerto intimately since 1964, but hearing her play it is like hearing the work for the first time, so many are the instances in which the clarity of her playing allows one to hear every note exactly where and as it should be played.
Her Ravel is theatrical in the best sense of the word, her Mozart is stunningly beautiful.
A woman of great courage, Gina Bachauer played more than 600 concerts for the Allied troops during World War II. She continued to perform until her death in 1976. After her death, what has become what many consider to be one of the two most important piano competitions in the United States was established to honor her, attracting to this day the most talented crop of young pianists from around the world to compete in the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition.
Stravinsky Trois mouvements de Petrouchka Danse russe - (02:52) Chez Pétrouchka - (06:53) La semaine grasse
Ravel Gaspard de la Nuit
recorded in 1954
Rachmaninov Prelude in C♯ minor, Op 3 n2
Rachmaninov Prelude in B minor, Op 32 n10
Recorded in 1972
Debussy Pour le piano, L 95 Prélude - (03:42) Sarabande - (07:53) Toccata
Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody 12
recorded in 1949
and a later stereo era recording
Chopin Barcarolle in F♯ minor, Op 60
Beethoven Piano Sonata 9 in E major, Op 14 n1 ii Allegretto - iii Rondo - Allegro comodo
Bach-Busoni Toccata, Adagio & Fugue in C major, BWV 564 i Preludio, quasi improvvisando (Tempo Moderato) - (6:22) ii Intermezzo (Adagio) (11:33) iii Fuga (Moderamente scherzando, un poco umoristico)
recorded in 1949
Scarlatti Sonatas L 413 and (02:37) L 375
Here is my new book, a murder mystery with a musical polemic