The Complete Josef Hofmann, Vol. 6: The Casmir Hall Recital CD, Compilation, Classical, Limited Edition, Live
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Top Customer Reviews
Despite having been the protégé of Anton Rubinstein, "the wonderful boy" was recognized from quite an early age as the exemplar of a modern style of playing - textually faithful, eschewing swooning or bombast. (See, for example, the references to Hofmann in Henry Lahee's wonderful survey from 1900, Famous Pianists of Today and Yesterday.)
Still, a number of younger colleagues expressed ambivalence. Horowitz was floored by Hofmann's keyboard command - everyone was - but he, Artur Rubinstein and Arrau, to name just three - seem not to have been terribly moved by Hofmann's musicianship.
But which Hofmann are we considering? His playing for the gramophone - as early as 1903 and as late as 1935 - was as disciplined as it was imaginative and dazzling. The late Harold Schonberg called it "perfection plus."
However, as Gregor Benko makes clear in his essays for the Marston reissues, Hofmann switched on what the pianist called a "spectacular" style for many public performances. This may sound cynical. Often it sounds terribly cynical. Hofmann was not speaking merely of the need to project in a large concert hall. In public performance - at least those performances we have from the late `30s and early `40s - the aristocrat often becomes a mountebank, lurching from the softest pianissimos to explosive fortissimos, rattling off passages or entire pieces even faster than Simon Barere boasted he could do.
Schonberg - and Hofmann's friend and admirer Rachmaninoff - reminded us that during this period Hofmann had many personal troubles, including a severe drinking problem.Read more ›
Secondly, even in very fast passage like Chopin's Waltz Minute every note sounds very clear and lively while causing great pleasure in enjoying.
Finally, it looks like he was playing. I mean he plays music like playing games. His interpretations are diversified. He played the same piece in different feeling. You can easily find it to compare four performances of Moonlight's first movement in this album.
Furthermore, thank a lot Mr. Marston for his fabulous reproduction to make Hofmann's music alive.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well, this album contains many beethoven works played by hofmann and that's interesting because it's hard to find in other series. But the result is not so satisfying. Read morePublished on February 5, 2002
Rachmaninov considered Hofmann to be the greatest pianist he had ever seen, and these recordings are to show. Read morePublished on December 4, 2000
What up to all my dogs out there! I gotta agree with my homie Superkike from tha desert in Tucson, A.Z., baby. Josef Hofmann gots mad skills yo. Read morePublished on September 26, 2000 by Thug 4Life