A secret Abbey Simon recording

A secret Abbey Simon recording


norman lebrecht

December 29, 2019

Dated 1948 and never released. Unearthed by Mikhail Kaykov.



  • Classical Piano Rarities says:

    Live from Carnegie Hall, no less!

  • Found this circulating in quite a few places online in mp3 format.
    Stunning playing.

    Thanks for posting.

  • Garnet Ungar says:

    Thanks for posting this. Here’s what Mr. Simon had to say about this performance:

    “That year (1948), I was on concert tour on the train…My wife was with me, and we stopped for a layover in Lexington, Kentucky. I picked up the New York Times and I read that I had been awarded the National Orchestral Association Prize and would be heard in three or four weeks in the Liszt E-flat-Major Concerto, which I didn’t play! It was with a very, very good students’ orchestra directed by Leon Barzin, who had chosen me to receive the award based on my past recitals in New York. I got into a cab and went to the nearest music store, bought the score, and studied it all the way. When I got back to New York, I did all my practicing on the Liszt E-flat, not on the pieces I was playing on my Community Concert tours. I think I played it rather well.

  • fflambeau says:

    My take from this: album covers were very different in that day (no sexual innuendos at all).

  • Aaron Herschel says:

    First piano chord an octave too low…

  • Erwin says:

    Credits should go to mr. Ungar for making this and several other live recordings available on this website:

  • Edgar Self says:

    As mentioned in another thread, I heard Abbey Simon play a Community Concerts recital in 1948 in Vernon, Texas, that included Chopin’s third sonata, the B-minor. Fifty years later I saw him play it again at a Dame Myra Hess memorial recital in Preston Bradley Hall with its Tiffany glass dome and wall mosaics in many languages in the 1893 former Chicago public library.

    He didn’t want at all to hear about the earlier recital, protesting he wasn’t that od. But he was. We both were. His Chopin third sonata was still in order, though lacking the ultimate Romanticism of Moriz Rosenthal, Alfred Cortot, or Benno Moiseiwitsch,especially in the Delius-like Largo’s “B” section.

  • joe salerno says:

    The excitement of a live performance! Which is why I prefer a live performance recording over a studio take, 99.5% of the time.