The recordings Schnabel did not want us to hearmain
Sony have released the complete recordings made by Artur Schnabel for RCA during the second world war.
The Beethoven concertos 4&5 with the Chicago Symphony and Frederick Stock are well known and altogether indispensable, preferable in almost every respect to Schnabel’s 1930s LPO set for EMI with Malcolm Sargent.
Less well played are the sonatas opus 109 and 111, which Schabel refused to approve for release.
They were issued anyway on LP in 1976.
There are also four Schubert Impromptus which Schnabel refused to sign off and which have never been heard before.
Why the master-pianist withheld his approval we shall never know. There are some wrong notes, of course, but that never bothered Schnabel. These are outstanding documents of a formative artist at the peak of his powers. They display all the Schnabel hallmarks of extreme dynamic shifts, cascading trills and dashes of wry wit.
I have been listening obsessively for two days without discerning any possible reason that these recordings should have been condemned by an artist’s whim to a dark vault in New York.
Does anyone know what Schnabel’s objections were?