SAMUIL FEINBERG (1890-1962) Russian Pianist and Composer
Samuil Feinberg has been one of my gods since I was a student in high school over forty years ago, solely based on an old Russian recording on the MK label of the Bach Well Tempered Clavier. For someone brought up on Glenn Gould and Wanda Landowska, it was an epiphany. His playing was Romantic, beautiful, technically awe inspiring, and yet completely different from anything I had ever heard. While Gould's Bach was, and still remains for me, the ideal of Bach in the late 20th century, Feinberg shook my faith.
His conception of Bach is a three dimensional, liquid fabric, each voice a wave that is ever present, coming closer to the surface when called, receding under the surface when in a secondary role, but always present. I am no Proust and it is very difficult to describe sound in words, but if you close your eyes and let the sound he creates wash over you, you will have an idea of what I mean.
His interpretations are always entirely his own, never reminding of someone else, sometimes unsettling, always convincing. You will hear his Beethoven, quite unlike any other, his Chopin, beautiful if seemingly unidiomatic, his Schumann, more transparent and spontaneous, and you will walk away wondering if an important and well kept secret has been shared with you.
I was an usher at Carnegie Hall in New York City when I was in college and the Moscow Philharmonic came to play. I had the opportunity to ask several of the musicians if they knew Samuil Feinberg. "Ah, Professor Feinberg is a very feared man." The reply was given with a smile, a hint perhaps, Feinberg having died some six years earlier.
What I did not know until fairly recently is that Feinberg was also an important composer. I owe eternal gratitude to one of YouTube's contributors, someone who goes by the very pianistic name of Hexameron, for posting much of his piano music.
On this page you will hear Feinberg the pianist performing Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and Schumann. I have so far found only one recording of him playing a work of his own, but many of his music played by other fine pianists.
Samuil Feinberg the composer
will have a page of his own, as will his rather stupendous
Essential to an understanding and appreciation of Feinberg the composer is a familiarity of the works for piano of Alexander Scriabin in whose footsteps he follows. Scriabin's music, which grows out of Chopin (listen to Scriabin's Opus 3 Mazurkas), seems to come to an historical dead end. Feinberg is Scriabin's musical heir and happily I have many of
his recordings of Scriabin's works for the piano
to share with you as well as works by Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky and Alexandrov. (Unfortunately which of the Alexandrovs of the time is not indicated).
Bach Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in D minor BWV 903
Bach Largo from Sonata for Organ in C Major BWV 529
Bach-Feinberg Organ Prelude (Chorale)in A major, BWV 662 "Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr"
Bach Preludes and Fugues Book I 1 in C major - 4:42 ➢ 2 in C minor - 7:38 ➢ 3 in C♯ major - 11:07 ➢ 4 in C♯ minor
18:52 ➢ 5 in D major - 21:57 ➢ 6 in D minor - 25:38 ➢ 7 in E♭ major - 30:17 ➢ 8 in E♭ minor
39:25 ➢ 9 in E major - 41:41 ➢ 10 in E minor - 45:21 ➢ 11 in F major - 47:29 ➢ 12 in F minor
54:39 ➢ 13 in F♯ major - 57:42 ➢ 14 in F♯ minor - 1:02:34 ➢ 15 in G major - 1:05:46 ➢ 16 in G minor
1:10:30 ➢ 17 in A♭ major - 1:14:33 ➢ 18 in A♭ minor - 1:18:14 ➢ 19 in A major - 1:21:09 ➢ 20 in A minor
1:26:34 ➢ 21 in B♭ major - 1:29:07 ➢ 22 in B♭ minor - 1:34:48 ➢ 23 in B major - 1:38:05 ➢ 24 in B minor
Bach Preludes and Fugues Book II, BWV 870-893 1 in C major - 4:05 ➢ 2 in C minor - 7:28 ➢ 3 in C♯ major - 10:23 ➢ 4 in C♯ minor
17:20 ➢ 5 in D major - 22:00 ➢ 6 in D minor - 25:22 ➢ 7 in E♭ major - 29:22 ➢ 8 in E♭ minor
35:43 ➢ 9 in E major - 41:22 ➢ 10 in E minor - 45:38 ➢ 11 in F major - 49:30 ➢ 12 in F minor
52:50 ➢ 13 in F♯ major - 58:30 ➢ 14 in F♯ minor - 1:05:36 ➢ 15 in G major - 1:07:47 ➢ 16 in G minor
1:13:38 ➢ 17 in A♭ major - 1:21:32 ➢ 118 in A♭ minor - 1:27:28 ➢ 119 in A major - 1:29:53 ➢ 120 in A minor
1:34:02 ➢ 11 in B♭ major - 1:38:24 ➢ 122 in B♭ minor - 1:44:40 ➢ 123 in B major - 1:50:18 ➢ 124 in B minor
recorded in 1961
Bach Partita 1 in B♭ major, BWV 825 Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett I, Menuett II, Gigue recorded in 1948
Bach Toccatas recorded in 1961
in C minor, BWV 911
in D major, BWV 912
Bach-Liszt Fantasia & Fugue in G minor, BWV 542 recorded in the 1950s
Mozart Piano Sonata in E♭ major, K 282
ii Menuetto I - Menuetto II - Menuetto I iii Allegro
Mozart Piano Sonata in D Major, K 576 i Allegro - ii Adagio - iii Allegretto recorded in 1952
Mozart 12 Variations in B♭ major, K 500
Mozart Fantasia and Fugue in C major, K 394 recorded in 1951
Beethoven Piano Sonata 4 in E♭ major, Op 7 recorded in the 1960s
i Allegro molto e con brio
ii Largo, con gran espressione
iv Rondo: Poco allegretto e grazioso
Beethoven Piano Sonata 11 in B♭ major, Op 22 Recorded in 1960
i Allegro con brio
ii Adagio con molta espressione
iii Menuetto - iv Rondo: Allegretto
Beethoven Piano Sonata 23 in F minor, Op 57 "Appassionata" recorded in the late 1930s
i Allegro assai
ii Andante con moto - iii Allegro, ma non troppo
Beethoven Piano Sonata 30 in E Major Op 109
i Vivace ma non troppo - Adagio espressivo
iii Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung. Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo
Chopin Ballade 4 in F minor, Op 52
Chopin 3 Mazurkas, Op 59 1 in A minor 2 in A♭ major 3 in F♯ minor
Chopin Tarantella in A♭ Major, Op 43 recorded in 1953
Schumann Allegro in B minor Op 8 recorded in 1950
Schumann Humoresque in B♭ major, Op 20 recorded in 1953
Part I Einfach - Sehr rasch und leicht - Hastig - Einfach und leicht
Part II Intermezzo - Innig - Sehr lebhaft
Part III Finale
Schumann Waldszenen, Op.82 Recorded in 1953
1 Eintritt 2 Jager auf der Lauer 3 Einsame Blumen 4 Verrufene Stelle 5 Freudliche
6 Herberge 7 Vogel als Prophet 8 Jagdlied 9 Abschied
Liszt Mephisto Waltz 1
Liszt from Consolations 5 Andantino in E major - 2:40 ➢ 6 Allegretto sempre cantabile in E major
Here is my new book, a murder mystery with a musical polemic