Sad news: Austrian piano legend is dead

We have heard indirectly from his partner, Elisabeth, that Paul Badura-Skoda died last night, just short of his 92nd birthday.

Elisabeth gave the sad news to the pianist Didier Castell-Jacomin, for whom Paul, a renowned authority on classical-era repertoire, was writing a cadenza for the Haydn D-major concerto.

UPDATE: The news was made official at noon today.

A student of Edwin Fischer, Badura-Skoda became a sought-after soloist with Furtwängler, Karajan and Szell. He often performed on instruments from his own historic collection and was one of very few pianists to record the same works on historic and modern keyboards.

He edited the Mozart piano concertos with his wife Eva for the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe and was considered a paramount authority on Schubert. An amiable musician who shunned artificial rivalries, he worked happily with Jörg Demus (who died in April) on a study of the interpretation of the 32 sonatas. Together with Friedrich Gulda, Paul and Jörg re-established the authority of Austrian classical pianism in the modern era.

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  • It is with great sadness that I read of his passing, but with grateful thanks for all the music we enjoyed because of his prodigious gifts that always put the music front and centre. R.I.P. and my thoughts are with his family.

  • Great artist, teacher, scholar, and gentleman. He was not only Edwin Fischer’s student, but his disciple, sharing the same October 6 birth date. He helped arrange publication of Fischer’s live recordngs and appears to have made some himself of the Fischer-Schneiderhan-Mainardi Trio.

    One is a rehearsal of Schubert’s E-flat trio in which Fischer tries unsuccessfully to get Mainardi to stress the first of two grace notes, instead of the principal note, of the haunting cello solo in the slow movement. Hermann Busch gets it perfectly on his record with Adolf Busch and Rudolf Serkin.
    I aw Badura-Skoda play only once, in a duo-recital of Mozart and Schubert with Joerg Demus. I always wondered if his surname is a connection to the Skoda Munitions dynasty of Pilsen, now Czech Republic.

    • Skoda was his father’s family name. Badura was his stepfather. In his teens, Paul added Badura to his surname out of respect and admiration for his stepfather.

  • I also mourn Badura-Skoda’s death, although it came at a ripe age and he lived a full and fulfilling life.
    He was truly a master.
    Maybe now his glorious complete recording of Beethoven’s sonatas, performed on a number of different fortepianos whose vintage corresponded to the timeline of the sonatas (a very clever idea), will be reissued. Shameful that it should have ever gone out-of-print!

  • The saddest news of the passing of a uniquely great musician and pianist I grew up admiring him and I recently told him about my treasured LP, bought with pocket money which was his C minor Mozart Concerto with the last B flat Concerto on the other side. He kindly sent me the CD of that wonderful recording. There was a planned joint recital and combined masterclasses for Paul and Menahem Pressler in Vienna last June which Menahem had to cancel because of his illness at the time. Paul did the whole recital himself and was so warm and compassionate, the two were resolved to recover the project at the earliest opportunity. We both mourn him deeply and our hearts go out to his loved ones

  • It is a very sad new for me. I have conducted many Mozart concertoes with him with several orchestras in Italy (one time along with Demus) and we met several times for dinner when he came to Italy. I can say I have learned a lot of things on Mozart from him but he was a great musician a great pianist and a great human being. Rest in peace Paul.

  • To remember Paul Badura-Skoda and his teacher Edwin Fischer on their common birthday, October 6, which would have been Badura-Skoda’s 92nd and Edwin Fischer’s 133rd, 1927-2019 and 1886-1960.

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