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#2041447 - 03/01/13 03:39 PM Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977)
Mark_C Online   content
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Etelka Freund, forgotten but great pianist who lived into the 1970's and went back a long long way and who had a much older brother (born 1852) who was also a pianist, studied with prominent people of that time, and influenced her a lot. I came upon a recording of hers when looking up stuff for another thread. Here's a page that tells some of her story. Something that it doesn't get into much but which I found from a NY Times article was that she was very close with Bartok, he often wrote to her, and his postcards to her are a big part of the Bartok "memorabilia" and of what we know of his thoughts about his pieces. She focused mainly on Romantic repertoire but (no surprise) played a lot of Bartok too.

Her playing is very 19th century-ish, and reminds me of Hofmann with a touch of Pachmann thrown in. If she were still performing, I'd walk a mile to go hear her. smile

Here she is playing Mendelssohn's Fantasy in F# minor (part 1 of 2).






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#2041599 - 03/01/13 08:47 PM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Mark_C]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Wasn't she the lady who often prefaced her recitals with a reading from Beethoven's Heiligenstadt Testament?

My piano teacher lent me a recording, some old Remington LP, of the Brahms F minor Sonata. The sloppiest playing I had ever heard. Unlikely she would graduate from any conservatory today, let alone have a major career. (Unspoken, there seems to be a suspicion that she was a Nazi sympathizer.)
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#2041601 - 03/01/13 09:05 PM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: argerichfan]
Mark_C Online   content
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Wow!
Let's see.... (since I don't know about any of that)

The only thing I saw about her before in relation to the Nazis was this thing from the page I referenced:

"....The family's longstanding desire to emigrate was not fulfilled until 1946 when they joined their eldest son in the United States (their younger son was killed by the Nazis)...."


While of course this doesn't rule out what you said, it would seem to make it surprising if she were a sympathizer. After seeing your post, I went to see what else there might be about this online, and didn't find anything else at all. Could you be thinking of someone else?

About the Brahms Sonata, for what it's worth there's a recording on youtube of her playing it. I'm listening to it now, and while it's far from note-perfect, I'm not finding it to be at all as you said and in fact I'd say it's excellent and beyond. (Not graduate from a conservatory? I think they'd hustle to get her on the faculty!) This is the first portion (of 5):




P.S. (edit) I'm hearing the 2nd mvt now. It's even more special than the 1st. Are you kidding, "not graduate...."?

P.P.S. On the other hand, the opening of the 3rd mvt is pretty disordered, and while it quickly gets better, it does keep sounding too full of caffeine for a while. She gets back to earth all right in the middle section. Let's see what happens then....
The recap is better, although you might say it's still a little caffeinated. grin


Edited by Mark_C (03/01/13 09:25 PM)

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#2041661 - 03/02/13 12:41 AM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Mark_C]
btb Offline
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Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Freund is German for "friend" ... Beethoven had quite a lot to say about "Freunde" in his famous 9th Choral Symphony.

Let me fade away into the woodwork.

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#2041719 - 03/02/13 05:17 AM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Mark_C]
bennevis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4400
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
the opening of the 3rd mvt is pretty disordered, and while it quickly gets better, it does keep sounding too full of caffeine for a while. She gets back to earth all right in the middle section. Let's see what happens then....
The recap is better, although you might say it's still a little caffeinated. grin


I think it's fair to say that for that generation of pianists, accuracy of execution wasn't always a priority. Never mind the notes, feel the music! grin

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#2041804 - 03/02/13 10:53 AM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: btb]
Verbum mirabilis Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/15/11
Posts: 186
Originally Posted By: btb
Freund is German for "friend" ... Beethoven had quite a lot to say about "Freunde" in his famous 9th Choral Symphony.

Let me fade away into the woodwork.


It's "Freude", which means "joy".
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Working on
Sibelius: Sonatina in E major
Liszt: Consolation no. 3
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Bach: P&F in D major, book 1

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#2041810 - 03/02/13 11:13 AM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Verbum mirabilis]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Verbum mirabilis
It's "Freude", which means "joy".

A not infrequent confusion!
Although with btb, I think the seeming confusion is usually intentional. grin

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#2041824 - 03/02/13 11:45 AM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Mark_C]
BDB Online   content
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Registered: 06/07/03
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Beethoven had a lot to say to "Freunde" in his ninth symphony.
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#2042016 - 03/02/13 07:55 PM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: BDB]
currawong Offline
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Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: BDB
Beethoven had a lot to say to "Freunde" in his ninth symphony.
Yes, the baritone does start by singing "Freunde, nicht diese Töne" ("friends, no more of this racket" - my loose translation smile ) so perhaps that's what btb meant...
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#2042086 - 03/02/13 11:57 PM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: currawong]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: BDB
Beethoven had a lot to say to "Freunde" in his ninth symphony.
Yes, the baritone does start by singing "Freunde, nicht diese Töne" ("friends, no more of this racket" - my loose translation smile ) so perhaps that's what btb meant...

Yes! (And sorry folks, my bad!)

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#2042089 - 03/03/13 12:13 AM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Mark_C]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
How's your German chaps?

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere anstimmen,
und freudenvollere.
Freude! (men's chorus: Freude! )
Freude! (chorus again: Freude! )

Oh, it's nice to be right again ... more tea!

For those tiribly tiribly English chappies
the Chorale ends with the words

"Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, beyond the star-canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Be embraced,
This kiss for the whole world!
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods
Spark of the gods!"

And all inspired by a poem by Schiller.

PS Traditionally the audience stands up during the singing of the Chorale?

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#2042106 - 03/03/13 12:56 AM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Mark_C]
kwoli Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/07/11
Posts: 14
Loc: New England
Nice post, Mark C. Thanks for sharing it, and the Arbiter link.

Sounds like Etelka Freund had quite the interesting musical life (98 years of it!) and it's always such a pleasure visiting the Arbiter of Cultural Traditions site -- it leads in one fascinating direction after the other. I found her playing lovely (though I'm sure I am not as discriminating as others on this site). Arbiter has a track of Brahms Intermezzo Op 73, No. 3 that was enchanting. I just wish there was more information available about her. Spending Wednesday lunches playing for Brahms at the age of 17, lifelong friends with Bartok, student of Busoni, Nazis, an attempted comeback at age 68... If anyone stumbles across a biography, please do share it here?
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#2042232 - 03/03/13 08:57 AM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Mark_C]
Michael Sayers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 723
Loc: Stockholms län, Sverige
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Wow!
Let's see.... (since I don't know about any of that)

The only thing I saw about her before in relation to the Nazis was this thing from the page I referenced:

"....The family's longstanding desire to emigrate was not fulfilled until 1946 when they joined their eldest son in the United States (their younger son was killed by the Nazis)...."


While of course this doesn't rule out what you said, it would seem to make it surprising if she were a sympathizer. After seeing your post, I went to see what else there might be about this online, and didn't find anything else at all. Could you be thinking of someone else?

About the Brahms Sonata, for what it's worth there's a recording on youtube of her playing it. I'm listening to it now, and while it's far from note-perfect, I'm not finding it to be at all as you said and in fact I'd say it's excellent and beyond. (Not graduate from a conservatory? I think they'd hustle to get her on the faculty!) This is the first portion (of 5):




P.S. (edit) I'm hearing the 2nd mvt now. It's even more special than the 1st. Are you kidding, "not graduate...."?

P.P.S. On the other hand, the opening of the 3rd mvt is pretty disordered, and while it quickly gets better, it does keep sounding too full of caffeine for a while. She gets back to earth all right in the middle section. Let's see what happens then....
The recap is better, although you might say it's still a little caffeinated. grin


Hi Mark,

That is my second favourite recording of the Brahms F minor sonata. I heard of her many years ago as she had been a Busoni student.

In case you have not heard it here is Ervin Nyiregyhazi's live recording (my personal favourite):

http://www.fugue.us/Brahmsmove1.mp3

http://www.fugue.us/Brahmsmov2.mp3

http://www.fugue.us/Brahmsmov3.mp3

http://www.fugue.us/Brahmsmov4.mp3

http://www.fugue.us/Brahmsmov5.mp3


Mvh,
Michael

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#2070601 - 04/25/13 11:52 AM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Michael Sayers]
fnork Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1579
Loc: Helsinki, finland
I guess I'm digging up an old thread, but I was listening a bit to Etelka Freund's recordings again, especially as I'm re-learning the Brahms Handel variations and was interested in hearing interpretations of others. One variation immidiately sticks out to my ears, because while one could actually argue that she plays it according to the notation, I've never heard anyone else doing something similar in performances of this piece. Listen closely to variation 3:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL0C97...tailpage#t=152s

It's an extremely simple and straight-forward variation in pretty much every sense - the hands are answering one another with a tiny 3-note motif that remains constant throughout the variation, and the harmonies are more or less simple. It's just interesting how she anticipates the bass and lets the hands be more or less apart in a variation with a very simple texture, it somehow allows for a completely different freedom of phrasing that I haven't come across in other recordings.

Just an observation.


Edited by fnork (04/25/13 11:57 AM)
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#2070929 - 04/25/13 08:22 PM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Mark_C]
Mr. McFugue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/03
Posts: 103
Loc: Tempe, AZ
Elly Ney was the pianist who was known to be an ardent Nazi.

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#2070956 - 04/25/13 08:49 PM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Mr. McFugue]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Mr. McFugue
Elly Ney was the pianist who was known to be an ardent Nazi.

Correct. I had it switched out with Freund.
_________________________
Jason

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#2070957 - 04/25/13 08:49 PM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: fnork]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19292
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: fnork
....One variation immidiately sticks out to my ears, because while one could actually argue that she plays it according to the notation, I've never heard anyone else doing something similar in performances of this piece. Listen closely to variation 3:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL0C97...tailpage#t=152s

It's an extremely simple and straight-forward variation in pretty much every sense - the hands are answering one another with a tiny 3-note motif that remains constant throughout the variation, and the harmonies are more or less simple. It's just interesting how she anticipates the bass and lets the hands be more or less apart in a variation with a very simple texture, it somehow allows for a completely different freedom of phrasing that I haven't come across in other recordings....

I wonder if she did it in part because of a particular problematic thing about that variation.

Ever noticed that many if not most performances seem as though they're putting the bar lines in the wrong place?
i.e. They make the weak parts of the beat sound as though they're the strong parts, and it sounds as though the bar lines were half a beat later than where they are. The reason is, that's where the hands come together. And that's how it'll sound if you don't do something to make it sound otherwise.

I've always wondered if people who make it sound that way are doing it on purpose, or just because they're not thinking or not realizing how it's sounding if you're not the one who's playing. I've guessed it's usually not on purpose, and not knowingly, meaning that they don't even realize how they're making the rhythm sound.

So, maybe this thing she's doing is (in part) her way of emphasizing where the beats are. The way I did it when I played the piece, and how I think most people do it, is to put a slight stress (accent, if you will) smile on the 1st beat of each measure.

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#2071218 - 04/26/13 04:02 AM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Mark_C]
fnork Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1579
Loc: Helsinki, finland
Basically agreeing with all of the above, Mark_C, and yes, I think those slurs are there for a light accent (obviously, that goes for both hands, so presumably not only for the 1st beat of each measure). In any case, yes, although her hands are not together it is somehow more clear where the beats are comparing to most performances of this variation I hear!


Edited by fnork (04/26/13 04:10 AM)
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#2072240 - 04/27/13 04:06 PM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Mr. McFugue]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19292
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Mr. McFugue
Elly Ney was the pianist who was known to be an ardent Nazi.

Thanks for clearing that up -- it seems like that's probably who Jason was thinking of. It didn't seem to be a likely thing about Etelka Freund.

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#2072728 - 04/28/13 10:06 AM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Mark_C]
Garret Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 1
Here is an old radio broadcast devoted to her.

http://youtu.be/tUhpZ2xxObU
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#2072793 - 04/28/13 12:39 PM Re: Who ever heard of Etelka Freund? (1879-1977) [Re: Garret]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19292
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Garret
Here is an old radio broadcast devoted to her.

http://youtu.be/tUhpZ2xxObU

Thanks -- and that's her son on there!

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