Brahms’s last pianist sets new Busoni record

Brahms’s last pianist sets new Busoni record


norman lebrecht

May 06, 2018

Another member of the pianists’ speed league.

Etelka Freund visited Brahms weekly to play for him and went on to study with Busoni. Marriage and children esulted in a quarter-century gap in her career. This rare recording apparently dates from the 1930s.


  • Petros Linardos says:

    Very important insights about performance practice can be gained from some recordings from the first decades of the 20th century. The above one is not one of them, unfortunately.

  • Michael Endres says:

    Here is more information and some fabulous Brahms playing from this great pianist.

  • Phillippa Ballard says:

    It’s not much fast than the Horowitz recording

  • Sue says:

    I found this performance of the Bach/Busoni WAAAY too fast, muddled and lacking clarity. Groan.

  • Torinese says:

    Wow – amazing how many people today understand music better than the ones who were around when it was written! Or even the ones who wrote it!

    Of course it’s clear Etelka Freund was not a top-level professional-grade soloist. So it’s pretty easy to criticize her for that and, if it’s the only aspect you find interesting, dismiss whatever else there might be to learn.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Agreed. She is a source of historical and artistic knowledge and understanding.

    • Caravaggio says:

      In agreement. The lady was also up in age when her recordings were made. Some of her recordings captured in her home even sound as if they were played on uprights which may or may not have been the case. Not to mention they were not optimally recorded.