This is the other side of that rare, red, French Polydor that I posted so long ago. It is Brailowsky (solo piano) playing Robert Schumann’s “Songes Troubles”; “Traumes Wirren” in the composer’s native German, or: “Dream Disorders” in English. I also really like how the piano was recorded.

Quick notes on Schumann: his parents were not musical but they encouraged his interest in music with piano lessons from the age of 10. However, his family was later to be beset by tragedy. When Schumann was in his teens, his father died and his sister committed suicide in quick succession, events that were to have a deep impact on the young musician. Initially music was to take a back seat in his life. For his main subject he studied law at Leipzig while simultaneously continuing his music studies. One of his music teachers was Friedrich Wieck whose daughter Clara showed a great talent at the piano while she was only 9 years old. A further tragedy was to hit Schumann when a mishap damaged one of his hands and spoiled his chances as a pianist. Some accounts blame a device he used to strengthen his fingers, but other theories suggest mercury poisoning as a side effect of his syphilis treatment. After the accident, Schumann was to concentrate more on composing.

Alexandre Brailowsky – Songes Troubles, Op. 12, No 7, Schumann < < PLAY

Alexandre Brailowsky was born in 1896 in the city of Kiev. He was a prodigious child musician, first studying piano with his father and then at the Kiev Conservatory. Other teachers included Leschetizky (Vienna 1911 to about 1914) and Ferruccio Busoni (Zurich); Brailowsky completed master studies in France with Francis Plante. In 1919 he made his concert debut in Paris, and in 1926 he became a French citizen. A specialist in the works of  Frederic Chopin, he performed the first ever complete Chopin cycle (using the composer’s very own piano) in 1924, in Paris. Afterward he travelled the globe, playing the same historical recital in cities like Brussels, Montevideo and New York, among others.

Brailowsky played more than Chopin and made durable, noteworthy recordings of Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Saint-Saens. This posting is of a Mendelssohn scherzo which I happened upon at an estate sale a few weeks ago: so much more for interest because on the other side is Brailowsky playing Schumann’s Songes Troubles, Op. 12 No 7 (which I might also post sometime.)

It is on the French Polydor label from the recordings of 1928-1934, beautiful, and a complete rarity in the  78 rpm format.

Alexandre Brailowsky-Scherzo en Mi Mineur, Op.16 No 2, Mendelssohn <<PLAY