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Egon Petri keeps the Busoni flame alive

May 20, 2018 by norman lebrecht

10 comments.


From a very private recording.


Comments (10)

  1. steven holloway says:

    This performance demonstrates again that Petri is one of the most bafflingly overlooked of past Titans of the piano. Fortunately, as with this concert performance caught on tape and never published, and in that sense a private recording, there is something of a Petri cornucopia to be found on YouTube. (I must confess to being baffled as to just what a “very private” recording might be. The YT uploader does not call it that. Private in this context means made for the use of the owner alone, so it can’t really get any more private. I am eternally grateful to those who in days of yore made such tapes at concerts or from the radio. Mind you, today, when intellectual property rights is such a contentious issue and the law in flux, one might do well to keep recent pirate tapes very, very private indeed, in a manner of speaking.)

  2. Barry Guerrero says:

    Petri had just a dizzying amount of programs completely memorized!

    Daniell Revenaugh is still kickin’ in Berkeley, Ca – a Petri student and the man who conducted the world premiere recording of the Busoni concerto with John Ogdon. He also made a recording of the complete two-piano music of Busoni with Lawrence L. Smith.

  3. Robert Hairgrove says:

    Egon Petri made everything sound so easy … I have a spectacular recording of him doing the Brahms Paganini Variations. It’s a studio recording, but it sounds as if he played it all in one take (which he probably did concerning the recording date). At times he can sound a little disengaged with the music he was playing, but he had impeccable taste and a technical command of the instrument which was second to none.

    If you like Petri, you should also get to know one of his more interesting students, Ernst Levy (playing Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” sonata):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQdCmrcaeCk

    Levy was also a prolific composer, but not very much of his music has ever been recorded, AFAIK.

    1. Robert Hairgrove says:

      “concerning the recording date”

      Meant to say, considering the recording date…

  4. Philip Moores says:

    Via my record company, dell’Arte Records, we issued a number of live Petri performances on LP in the 1980’s. They were all licensed from the owners – typically radio stations. I also managed to track down Petri’s daughter who kindly also consented to their release. We even won a Gramophone Award for the Best (non-vocal) Historical release in 1984 – Beethoven Sonatas Opp. 109, 110, 111. It alwaya amazed me that we 4 amateurs who ran dell’Arte beat the likes of Decca, RCA, HMV, Sony etc! What a pianist….

    1. Robert Hairgrove says:

      Were any of these ever released on CD? I would be particularly interested to hear his late Beethoven sonatas.

      (Would one call such a CD a “Petri disc”? … 🙂 …)

      1. Opus110 says:

        All of these are available on Spotify. There is also some great Chopin recordings that are worth discovering there.

      2. Philip Moores says:

        Sorry no

      3. steven holloway says:

        Robert, Petri’s recordings of the last Beethoven sonatas are all on YouTube. Indeed, there is a remarkable trove of Petri on YT!

        1. Robert Hairgrove says:

          Thank you, Steven! Good to know.


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