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Born in LyonFrance, the son of a German doctor and lepidopteristGieseking first started playing the piano at the age of four, but without formal instruction. His family travelled frequently and he was privately educated. From to earlyhe studied at the Hanover Conservatory. There his mentor was the director Karl Leimerwith whom he later co-authored a piano method. He made his first appearance as a concert pianist inbut was conscripted in and spent the remainder of World War I as a regimental bandsman.
His first London piano recital took place inestablishing an exceptional and lasting reputation. He was criticized for this by pianists Vladimir Horowitzwho, in the book Evenings with Horowitzcalls Gieseking a “supporter of the Nazi,” and by Arthur Rubinstein who recounted in his book My Many Years a conversation with Gieseking in which alleges he said “I am a committed Nazi.
Hitler is saving our country. By Januaryhowever, he had been cleared by the U. Although there had been other protests in Australia and Peru, for examplehis American tour was the only group of concerts actually cancelled due to the outcry.
He continued to play in many other countries, and in he finally returned to the United States. His concert in Carnegie Hall was sold out and well received, and he was more popular than ever.
Because of his gifts of a natural technique, perfect pitch, and abnormally acute faculty for memorization, Gieseking was able to master unfamiliar repertoire with relatively little practice.
From his early instruction in the Leimer method, he usually studied new pieces away from the piano. It became well-known to the public, for instance, that he often committed new works to memory while traveling by train, ship or plane.
Sometimes, according to Harold C. Schonberg ‘s book The Great Pianistshe could even learn an entire concerto by heart in one day.
Gieseking had a very wide repertoire, ranging from various pieces by Bach and the core fllute by Beethoven to the concertos of Rachmaninoff and more modern works by composers such as BusoniHindemithSchoenberg and the lesser-known Italian Petrassi. He gave the premiere of Pfitzner ‘s Piano Concerto in Today, though, he is particularly remembered for his recordings of the complete piano works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the two French impressionist masters Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravelvirtually all of whose solo piano music he recorded on LP for EMI in the early s the Mozart and Debussy sets have recently been re-released on CDafter recording much of it for Columbia in the s and s, some of which have also been re-released on CD.
Gieseking’s performance of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concertoin which anti-aircraft fire giesekung audible, is one of the earliest stereo recordings, following a rendition of the same work in for Columbia, with Bruno Walter conducting the Vienna Philharmonic. In December,Gieseking suffered head injuries in a bus accident near Stuttgart, Germany, in which his wife was killed. His last recording project was the complete cycle of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. He had completed the first three movements and, the following day, was due to record the rondo finale but died a few days later of postoperative complications for the relief of pancreatitis.
Walter Gieseking – Wikipedia
Although some of his performances, particularly live, could be marred by wrong notes, Gieseking’s best performances, as in studio recording sessions, were virtually flawless. Parallel to Gieseking’s work as a flte artist he was also a composer, but even in his lifetime his compositions were hardly known, and he made no attempt to give them publicity.
A few of them have recently been recorded on CD. As Gieseking’s father had earned a living as a lepidopteristGieseking also devoted much time to the collecting of butterflies and moths throughout his life. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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Sonatine for Flute and Piano (Gieseking, Walter)