One of my favourite pianists – Solomon

One of my favourite pianists is the underrated, and often forgotten, Solomon. I am particularly impressed by his poetic rendition of the Greig Piano Concerto which, to this day, remains one of my top ten records of all time.

Brenda

 

Grieg – Piano concerto – Solomon / Philharmonia / Menges

 

“Solomon Cutner, CBE (9 August 1902 – 2 February 1988) was a British pianist known professionally simply as Solomon.

Solomon Cutner was born in the East End of London in 1902. He was a child prodigy whose talent was recognised at the age of seven when, having had no formal tuition, he performed his own arrangement of the 1812 Overture on the family piano. He gave his first concerts in 1912 at the age of ten, retired from public performance in his teens and then resumed his career as an adult performer. He began making records in 1929. As a child he was sent to live with his teacher, Mathilde Verne, who had studied with Clara Schumann.

After establishing a reputation, he toured abroad a good deal, particularly before, during and shortly after World War II, when he gave numerous much-cherished recitals in the United States and Australia. He premiered the Piano Concerto in B-flat by Arthur Bliss at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Renowned especially for his Beethoven, which had an almost legendary status (he broadcast the entire cycle of the 32 piano sonatas for the BBC), he was in the midst of recording the complete cycle of the sonatas for EMI Records when he suffered a devastating stroke in 1956, which paralysed his right arm. He never recorded or performed in public again, but lived on for another 32 years. His recordings of Mozart, Schumann and Brahms are also highly regarded; his Debussy, Bach and Schubert recordings are likewise esteemed.”

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

The pianist Solomon

The pianist Solomon

 

“His playing as an adult was acclaimed for its clarity, brilliance, and overall poetic feeling. He was particularly respected by his fellow musicians for his immaculate pianism, and the easy, unobtrusive virtuosity of his work. His ego was virtually nonexistent in concert, and his performances were, virtually without exception, a stunningly clear expression of the composer’s intentions.

Solomon was well known for performances of the Beethoven sonatas and piano concertos, though he never did record them all. He was also renowned for his Mozart, Chopin, Brahms, and Debussy, as well as early twentieth century works such as Sir Arthur Bliss’s Piano Concerto, which he premiered at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York and later recorded for EMI…

His recordings, which date from the 1930s, were done for EMI and are all of interest; they have begun to appear on compact disc, either directly through EMI or under license to the Testament label. Despite the onset of his stroke in 1956, Solomon recorded a handful of works in stereo, but whether in stereo or mono, his recordings are all worth hearing, the clarity of his playing overcoming any seeming technical shortcomings in the recordings themselves. His performance of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, in particular, is notable for its poetic lyricism and natural, unforced passion.”

Artist Biography by Bruce Eder on the AllMusic website