1950s-Eugene-au-piano

Istomin’s solo piano repertoire can be defined as broad in its diversity of composers but restricted in the number of works.

The demands by numerous American orchestras (he once gave a hundred concerts with orchestra in a single season) and the intense activity of the Istomin-Stern-Rose Trio in the 1960s and 1970s left little time for recitals. In addition to his extremely busy concert schedule, his involvement in numerous musical activities (Prades Festival, Marlboro, Jornadas Casals in Mexico, William Kapell Competition) and other non-musical ones (most notably in the field of politics and literature) did not allow him to set aside time towards the preparation of new repertoire.

Moreover, his desire to perform only works in which he had something really personal to say contributed to the restriction of his repertoire, and led to his preparation of numerous pieces which he ultimately gave up playing in public. Last but not least, Oppenheim’s resignation and the break with Columbia deprived him of any motivation to tackle new works in order to record them.

From the 1980s, after the disbanding of the Trio, Istomin gave more recitals and began to significantly expand his solo repertoire. This was even more pronounced in the late 1980s and early 1990s when he made extensive tours of the United States with a truck carrying his own pianos.

Here is the list, as complete and precise as possible, of the works for solo piano that Istomin played during his career, with mention of all known recordings.

J.S. BACH

Well-Tempered Clavier, Preludes and fugues in D minor & D major (Book 1): 1946 – mid-1950s

Partita No. 2 in C minor BWV 826: 1950

Studio recording: June 1950. Columbia. Unissued at the artist’s request. Tapes lost.

Toccata in E minor BWV 914: 1950 – 1995

Official recording: June 1950 Columbia.

Live recordings:

  1. August 14, 1976. Prades, Abbey of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa
  2. November 2, 1993. Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Issued on a private CD.

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BARTÓK

Mikrokosmos, excerpts: mid 1950s

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BEETHOVEN

Fantasy in G minor Op. 77: 1971 – 1994.

Live recordings:

  1. September 20, 1989. Festival de Montreux. Video.
  2. October 30, 1991, Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.

Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor Op. 27 No. 1 “Moonlight”: 1948 – 1992.

Official recordings:

  1. April 1960 (1st movement only). Columbia (unpublished on LP, issued on CD by Sony in 2015).
  2. June 1991. CD Reference Recordings.

Live recording: October 30, 1991. Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.

Sonata No. 21 in C Major Op. 53 “Waldstein”: 1944 – 2000.

Official recordings:

  1. December 14-15, 1959. Columbia (unpublished on LP, issued on CD by Sony in 2015).
  2. Columbia (probably incomplete).
  3. June 1991. CD Reference Recordings.

Studio recording: February 23, 1979. French Radio ORTF.

Live recordings:

  1. August 14, 1976. Prades, Abbey of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa
  2. September 20, 1989. Martigny, Montreux Festival. Video.
  3. October 30, 1991. Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.
  4. November 2, 1993. Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.
  5. March 27, 1999. University of North Carolina.

 Sonata No. 24 in F sharp Major Op. 78 “A Thérèse”: 1947 – 1965

Studio recording: April 1960. Columbia (unpublished on LP, issued on CD by Sony in 2015).

Sonata No. 31 in A flat Major Op. 110: 1989 – 1995 

Official recording: June 1991. CD Reference Recordings.

Live recording: October 30, 1991. Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.

Variations in C minor WoO 77: 1946 – early 1950s 

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BERNSTEIN

Anniversaries: 1961 – 1970

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BRAHMS

Ballade Op. 10 No. 1, Fantasy Op. 116 No. 3: 1971 – 1974

Intermezzi Op. 117: 1946 – 1974

Official recording:  September 1957. Columbia

Variations on a Theme by Handel Op. 24: 1946 – 1979

Official recording: March 16, 1951. Columbia

Video recording in studio: February 17, 1974. French Television ORTF.

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BROWN Harold 

Four Preludes: 1944 – 1956

 

BUSCH Adolf 

Suite for piano Op. 60: 1946 à 1948

 

CASALS Pablo 

Prelude: 1965 – 2001

Live recordings:

  1. August 14, 1976. Prades, Abbey of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa
  2. November 2, 1993. Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Issued on private CD.

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CHASINS Abraham

Preludes: 1956 – early 1960s

CHOPIN

Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise Op. 22 : 1946 – 1976

Ballade No. 1 Op. 23: 1944 – mid 50s

Ballade No. 4 Op. 52: 1944 – 1980

Video recording in studio: March 5, 1973, French Television ORTF

Private recording: 1970s, at home.

Etudes Op. 10 No. 7 & 9: 1940s

Fantaisie-Impromptu Op. 66: 1946 – 1980

Studio recording in studio: March 5, 1973. French Television ORTF

Live recording: May 11, 1950. Paris, RTF studio.

Impromptu No. 2 Op. 36: late 80s

Live recording: September 20, 1989. Montreux Festival. Video.

 Impromptu No. 3 Op. 51: late 90s

Mazurka Op. 7 No. 1: late 1940s and 1999

Nocturnes: 1955 – 1997

Official recording: Complete 19 Nocturnes. January to September 1955. Columbia.

Studio recording: Op. 15 No. 2. March 1966. Columbia (unpublished on LP, issued on CD by Sony in 2015).

 Live recording: Op. 15 No. 2. September 20, 1989. Montreux Festival. Video.

Polonaise No. 6 Op. 53 “Heroic”: 1944 – early 70s

Studio recording: April 10-11, 1967. Columbia (unpublished on LP, issued on CD by Sony in 2015).

Preludes (10): 1947 – early 60s. No. 24: 1999

 Scherzos Nos. 1 to 4: 1944 – late 90s 

Live recording: Scherzo No. 1. September 20, 1989. Montreux Festival. Video.

 Tarantelle Op. 43: 1950 – mid-1950s

Valse Op. 18: mid-50s

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DEBUSSY

Images, Book I: 1986 – 1992

Official recording: 1987 Adda

Images, Book II, Poissons d’or: 1940s

Préludes: Voiles, Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir, Les collines d’Anacapri, La fille aux cheveux de lin, La sérénade interrompue, Minstrels, General Lavine Eccentric, La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune: 1946 – 1997 

Studio recording: La fille aux cheveux de lin. March 18, 1968 Columbia (unpublished on LP, issued on CD by Sony in 2015).

Video studio recording: Voiles; La sérénade interrompue (March 5, 1973 Paris ORTF)

Private recording: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir; Les collines d’Anacapri; La fille aux cheveux de lin; La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune. 1970s

Live video recording: General Lavine Eccentric. September 1989. Festival de Montreux.

Suite Bergamasque, Clair de lune: 1948 – 1970

Studio recording: March 18, 1968.Columbia (unpublished on LP, issued on CD by Sony in 2015).

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DUTILLEUX 

Prélude “Le jeu des contraires”: 1996

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FALLA

El Sombrero de tres picos, The Miller’s Dance: late 40s and early 50s

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HAYDN

Sonata in A Major Hob.XVI:12: 1956 – 1992

Live recording: July 22, 1969. Stratford (Canada)

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LISZT

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6: late 40s – early 50s.  

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MEDTNER

Sonata in G minor Op. 22: 1992-1994

Live recording: November 2, 1993. Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Private CD.

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MENDELSSOHN

Romance sans paroles Op 62 No. 1: 1962 – 2000

Studio recording: 1966 Columbia (unpublished on LP, issued on CD by Sony in 2015).

Live recordings:

  1. September 20, 1989. Montreux Festival. Video.
  2. October 30, 1991. Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.
  3. November 2, 1993. Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Private CD.

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MOZART

Fantasy K. 394: 1944 – 1957

Fantasy in D minor K. 397: 1973 – 1999 

Live recording: March 27, 1999. University of North Carolina

Rondo K. 485: 1956 – 1960

Sonata in G Major K. 283: 1989 – 1999

Live recordings:

  1. November 2, 1993. Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Issued on a private CD.
  2. March 27, 1999. University of North Carolina.

Sonata in C Major K. 330: 1946 – early 50s

Sonata in D Major K. 576: 1950 – 1985

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NAPOLITANO Emiliano

Gato: 1955 (South American tour)

 

RACHMANINOFF

Preludes: 1948 – early 1950s

Prelude Op. 32 No. 7; Oriental Sketch; Lullaby; Etude-Tableau Op. 39 No. 9: 1987 – 1991

Official recording: 1987 Adda

Chopin Variations Op. 22

Private recording: 1977

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RAVEL

Gaspard de la nuit: 1947-1965

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REGER

Pieces Op. 82: 1946

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ROREM

Burlesque: 1950s   

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SCARLATTI

Sonata K. 30: 1944 – early 50s

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SCHUBERT

 Impromptus Op. 90 No. 2 and 3: 1944-2000

Studio recording: 1967. Columbia (unpublished on LP, issued on CD by Sony in 2015).

Video recording: Opus 90 No. 2 & 3. September 20, 1989. Montreux Festival (live).

Live recordings:

  1. Opus 90 No. 2. October 30, 1991. Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.
  2. Opus 90 No. 2. November 2, 1993. Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.

Sonata in A Major D. 664: 1946 – 1955

Sonata in D Major D. 850: 1968 – 1980

Official recording: 1969 Columbia

Live recording: August 14, 1976. Prades, Abbey of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa.

Studio recording: March 2, 1979, French Radio ORTF

Video studio recording: 1974, French Television ORTF

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SCHUMANN

 Abegg Variations Op. 1: 1944 – 1967 

Carnaval Op. 9: 1946 – 1954

Etudes Symphoniques Op. 13: 1940s

Fantasiestücke Op. 12 (excerpts): 1940s and 1994

Papillons Op. 2: 1940s

Sonata No. 1 in F sharp minor Op. 11: 1987 – 1990

Official recording: 1987. CD Adda

Private recording: January 24, 1986. Steinway basement.

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STRAVINSKY

Sonata (1924): 1963 – 1985

Studio recording: 1967 Columbia (unpublished on LP, issued on CD by Sony in 2015).