Monday, April 18, 2011

4/18 Frederic Lamond's Beethoven

Frederic Lamond recording for the Duca - 21 July 1909, Frankfurt
(Courtesy The Pianola Institute)
Frederic Lamond, born in 1868,  is a pianist originally from Glasgow in Scotland. Before Artur Schnabel established himself as the Beethoven pianist of his time, Lamond was considered the greatest interpreter of B.'s works on the piano. The tradition is certainly there: Beethoven "blessed" Liszt with a kiss on the forehead (possibly apocryphal) and Liszt was Frederic Lamond's teacher when a teenager.  Lamond also personally met Tchaikovsky, Brahms and possibly Clara Schumann.  (Whenever I read about these pianists and their encounters with repertoire composers like Brahms, Liszt, Wagner, et al.. I always feel like I'm reading about a time "when Gods walked the Earth".  That would of course make Beethoven a kind of "Zeus" figure I suppose...)

While listening to Lamond's Beethoven sonatas, it strikes me how "eccentric" his and Schnabel's interpretations are compared to most modern performers.  Both seem to have more expressive rubato and take more dynamic liberties than what I'm used to hearing from pianists of the latter half of the 20th Century.  It's quite interesting to hear this interpretive "evolution".

Here's a recording of Lamond talking about his meeting with Franz Liszt.  Apparently the first thing they studied together was B.'s "Hammerklavier" Sonata Op. 106.  No shortage of self-confidence there!

Lamond Speaks of His Lessons With Liszt Frederic Lamond 1945

And here's a full selection of Lamond's Beethoven - rich stuff.  His Moonlight is unusually fast, the feeling is quite different yet still maintains atmosphere...
Pt 1-3: Piano Sonata #14 In C#m, Op.27/2, "Moonlight"
Pt 4-5: Piano Sonata #23 In Fm, Op.57, "Appassionata"
Pt 6-8: Piano Sonata #8 In Cm, Op.13, "Pathétique"
Pt 9-11: Piano Sonata #17 In Dm, Op.31/2, "Tempest"
Pt 12: Piano Sonata #12 In Ab, Op.26, "Funeral March" M. 1-2
Pt 13-16: Piano Concerto 5 in Eb major, Op.73 "Emperor"
Pt 17: "Eroica" Finale (4-Hand Player Piano Arrangement)

Lamond Beethoven Playlist (2 hours)

A great article on Frederic Lamond and his history:


  1. Thanks, Ed, for this enlightening post about a fairly forgotten great "Beethoven pianist". Even though the Beethoven kiss on Liszt's forehead might not have happened, a more solid link in the chain from Beethoven to Lamond is the fact that Carl Czerny was Liszt's only piano teacher---and he was a pupil and great admirer of Beethoven(as well as the first pianist to publicly perform B's 5th piano cto.). Czerny incorporated many of B's piano techniques into his own teaching method--passing them on to Liszt, who in turn passed them on to Lamond.

  2. Yeah I agree - I do wonder what B would have thought about Czerny's etudes for learning piano? B kept threatening to make his own instructional book ("something quite different") - now that would've been something..

  3. The "Beethoven Piano Method"---just imagine!!--he even talked about it during his last illness. He did write a number of study pieces that probably would've been included in the Big Book, and they are fun to play. If only, if only.....

  4. Gwen - which are the study pieces? Are they WoO/Hess listed?