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Brahms performance practice in a new context: The Bruce Hungerford recorded lessons with Carl Friedberg

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Ann Riesbeck DiClemente
Abstract:
A product of the student-teacher relationship between Australian pianist Bruce "Leonard" Hungerford (1922-1977) and German pedagogue Carl Friedberg (1872-1955) are fifteen recorded lessons of more than twenty hours from February 1951 through May 1952, now part of the Bruce Hungerford Collection at the International Piano Archives at Maryland (IPAM). These lessons yield a remarkable repository of insight into Brahms performance practice, as Friedberg was a student of Clara Schumann and protégé of Brahms. Part I, Chapter One: Bruce Hungerford and Carl Friedberg: Introduction and Context presents biographical surveys of the lives and careers of Hungerford and Friedberg. Chapter Two: The Recorded Lessons consists of the lessons' genesis and nature, repertoire, and aspects of interpretation, technique, and performance practice, as well as Friedberg's first-hand accounts of a number of musicians, conductors, and composers from Bach to Busoni. Chapter Three: Brahms Performance Practice presents Friedberg's personal history with Brahms as musician, composer, and conductor, and focuses on the Brahms repertoire covered in the lessons. Analysis and commentary regarding the significance of the lessons follow. Part II: The Transcription of the Hungerford-Friedberg Lessons consists of the transcription and accompanying indices of the recorded lessons. Appendix A: Hungerford Memorabilia contains a biography by Thomas Stanback, published interview, and discography. Appendix B: Friedberg Memorabilia contains performance reviews, recital dates and programs, and compositional oeuvre with discography. Appendix C: Hungerford-Friedberg Memorabilia presents reproductions of selected photographs, letters, and documents from the correspondence and scrapbooks of the Bruce Hungerford and Carl Friedberg Collections at IPAM.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Preface ............................................................................................................................................. i Genesis ................................................................................................................................. i Overview .............................................................................................................................v Editorial Procedures .......................................................................................................... vi Dedication ..................................................................................................................................... ix Acknowledgements .........................................................................................................................x Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................ xiii

PART I: The Bruce Hungerford Recorded Lessons with Carl Friedberg: Context, Analysis, Commentary ……………………………………………………... ..........1

Chapter One: Bruce Hungerford and Carl Friedberg: Introduction and Biographical Context ................................................................................................................................3 Introduction .........................................................................................................................3 Bruce Hungerford ................................................................................................................5 Carl Friedberg .....................................................................................................................8 Lineage ...............................................................................................................................12 Student at Career’s Dawn ..................................................................................................13 Teacher at Career’s Denouement ......................................................................................24

Chapter Two: The Lessons (1951-1952 .........................................................................................32 Background ........................................................................................................................32

xiv The Repertoire ...................................................................................................................34 Imitation and Legato ..........................................................................................................37 The Art of Metaphor...........................................................................................................40 Editions, Publishers, and Transcriptions...........................................................................42 Performers and Performing ...............................................................................................49 Friedberg on Friedberg .....................................................................................................54

Chapter Three: Brahms Performance Practice ..............................................................................57 Friedberg’s History with Brahms ......................................................................................57 Brahms Repertoire in the Hungerford Lessons .................................................................60 Op. 10 .....................................................................................................................61 Op. 21 .....................................................................................................................61 Op. 79 .....................................................................................................................67 Op. 117 ...................................................................................................................69 Op. 118 ...................................................................................................................70 WoO 1 ....................................................................................................................73 Op. 15 .....................................................................................................................75 Op. 83 .....................................................................................................................80 Summary of Tempi .............................................................................................................81 Commentary .......................................................................................................................84 Fanny Davies ....................................................................................................................85

xv Davies and Friedberg: A Confluence of Ideas .................................................................87 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................89

PART II: The Bruce Hungerford Recorded Lessons with Carl Friedberg: Transcription, Indices .....................................................................................................93 The Transcription………………………………………………………………………… ...........95 Lessons Dates and Repertoire ........................................................................................................97 Lesson 1 .............................................................................................................................99 Lesson 2 ...........................................................................................................................134 Lesson 3 ...........................................................................................................................155 Lesson 4 ...........................................................................................................................168 Lesson 5 ...........................................................................................................................195 Lesson 6 ...........................................................................................................................224 Lesson 7 ...........................................................................................................................251 Lesson 8 ...........................................................................................................................273 Lesson 9 ...........................................................................................................................286 Lesson 10 .........................................................................................................................305 Lesson 11 .........................................................................................................................319 Lesson 12 .........................................................................................................................352 Lesson 13 .........................................................................................................................372 Lesson 14 .........................................................................................................................395 Lesson 15 .........................................................................................................................423 Transcription Endnotes ................................................................................................................443

xvi

Transcription Index I: Works Listed by Composer ....................................................................449 Transcription Index II: General Index ........................................................................................456

Appendix A: Hungerford Miscellanea .....................................................................................459 I. Biographical Notes by Thomas M. Stanback, III ........................................................459 II. Hungerford Interview ..................................................................................................470 III. Hungerford Discography ...........................................................................................473

Appendix B: Friedberg Miscellanea ..........................................................................................475 I. Press Reviews ..............................................................................................................475 II. Recital Dates and Programs .......................................................................................478 III. Compositions, arrangements, editions, and discography ...........................................483 IV. Tribute to Carl Friedberg by Bruce Hungerford ........................................................485 V. Juilliard School of Music Letter..................................................................................489

Appendix C: Hungerford and Friedberg Memorabilia ...............................................................491

BIBLIOGRAPHY .....................................................................................................................511

1

PART I

The Bruce Hungerford Recorded Lessons with Carl Friedberg: Context, Analysis, Commentary

2

3 Chapter One: Bruce Hungerford and Carl Friedberg: Introduction and Biographical Context

Introduction The mid-20 th century student-teacher relationship that commenced between young Australian pianist Bruce “Leonard” Hungerford, and veteran German pedagogue Carl Friedberg is remarkable for its congenial give and take. Meeting at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City in late 1945, the two pianists were separated by the span of a half century. Born in Korumburra, Victoria, Australia on November 24, 1922, Hungerford had arrived in America in October 1945 for the purpose of furthering his education in piano performance and embarking on a professional career. Friedberg, born in 1872 in Bingen, Germany, had served on the faculty at Juilliard since 1923 after a long and celebrated performance career in Europe and the United States. When Hungerford arrived in New York in late 1945, he was first assigned to study with Ernest Hutcheson of the Juilliard faculty. However, after two years of study, Hungerford felt unchallenged and proceeded to look for a new teacher. After approaching several pianists, including Wilhelm Backhaus and Olga Samaroff, Hungerford arranged a meeting with Dame Myra Hess. After hearing Hungerford play, Dame Hess advised and arranged for Hungerford to play for her longtime friend Carl Friedberg. Friedberg had voiced a high opinion of Hungerford and his artistry earlier when the Australian pianist played for the Juilliard faculty for entrance as a student to the school. Fully impressed,

4 Friedberg was overheard speaking with Rosina Lhévinne, saying, “I don’t know what that boy Hungerford’s doing here, he’s a finished artist.” 13

At this time, upon Myra Hess’s urging, Friedberg immediately accepted Hungerford as a student, and intermittent lessons began in May of 1948. In the fall of 1950, a new working relationship between Hungerford and Friedberg manifested in the form of Hungerford’s award by the Carl Friedberg Alumni Association as the first recipient of a scholarship of 25 lessons worth one-thousand dollars. The lessons commenced in October 1950 and ran through May of 1952. Those from February 1951 through the last lesson have been preserved in the form of taped recordings, made by Hungerford for his own educational purposes. These recordings now comprise a component of the Bruce Hungerford Collection at the International Piano Archives at Maryland, University of Maryland-College Park. Investigation of Hungerford’s recorded lessons with Carl Friedberg presents the researcher with a repository of information beyond the apparent technical and interpretative concerning many composers from Bach to Busoni. As Friedberg was one of the last surviving students of Clara Schumann and a protégé of Johannes Brahms, his commentary is filled with personal recollections of Brahms as pianist and conductor. Friedberg’s many comments and demonstrations of certain points at the piano reveal a passionate teacher. His memories of the admired Brahms seem vivid and reliable in both detail and overall impressions recollected despite the long time that had elapsed. By nature, the spoken comments differ from the written account, and the interchange between Friedberg and Hungerford is part of oral history. This area of investigation is

13 ALS-FAML, 12/12/45

5 fairly new to musicology as the groundbreaking work by Vivian Perlis indicates which will be referenced later in this chapter. (See footnote 17). Much of Friedberg’s insight into Brahms’s performance practice is demonstrated when he and Hungerford interact at the piano, for example when the teacher accompanies the student in the first Brahms piano concerto. Much of the playing recorded is of such a high caliber that the listener gets the impression of quite polished performances of teacher and student rather than lessons. A remarkably congenial collaboration exists throughout and the recordings present a unique perspective into Brahms performance practice regarding not only the issue of tempi but also all aspects of interpretation. This invaluable legacy was bequeathed from the primary source of Brahms protégé Carl Friedberg to Bruce Hungerford and his subsequent students. For the pianist as well as the historian the wealth of information within the Hungerford-Friedberg recorded lessons, until now unknown and unused, is considerable and its significance unprecedented for Brahms scholars and performing artists alike.

Bruce Hungerford In his 1964 book Die Konzertpianisten der Gegenwart, Hans-Peter Range 14 made the following remarks about the pianist Bruce Hungerford: “What enraptures the listener when Hungerford plays? He is a musician par excellence. He plays with heart and soul and with a complete technical ability which is, however, never in the foreground. He shapes his playing to the composers’ intentions…and distinguished himself through the spirituality of his playing…In every respect a towering interpreter of Beethoven and

14 Composer, pianist, and historian, Range has published several CDs of his own piano compositions in addition to numerous books on composers and his personal meetings with famous pianists.

6 Schubert…he deserves to be placed in the front rank of great artists.” 15 Range’s perceptions date to a time in Hungerford’s career when, after studying in America from 1945 to 1958, he moved to Germany in an attempt to establish his performing career. 16

After considerable success in Europe, Hungerford returned to the United States after being approached by Maynard and Seymour Solomon, founders and directors of the Vanguard Recording Society, to record all of the piano works of Beethoven. Tragically, Hungerford was killed on January 26, 1977 automobile wreck at the age of fifty-four 17

before the completion of the Vanguard project. His recorded legacy, however, does include twenty-two of the thirty-two Beethoven sonatas as well as recordings of works by Brahms, Schubert, and Chopin. In the years since 1996, most recently in 2003, Vanguard Records has reissued many of these recordings in the form of compact discs. 18

For this dissertation, New York music critic and pianist Harris Goldsmith wrote the following appreciation of Hungerford: Bruce Hungerford (1922-1977), a truly great keyboard artist, was a rare blend of virtuoso and scholar. Born in Victoria, Australia, at age 12 he began weekly 170-mile round trips for lessons with Roy Shepherd, once a pupil of Alfred Cortot. At seventeen, he won a full scholarship to the Melbourne University Conservatory, making his debut at age 20 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He studied briefly with Ignaz Friedman who had moved to Australia during World War II, and then came to New York in 1945 to study with Ernest Hutcheson at the Juilliard School. In 1948 he met Dame Myra Hess who in turn introduced him to Carl Friedberg – the last surviving pupil of Johannes Brahms – who then taught Hungerford for the next seven years. Hungerford made his New York debut at Town Hall in 1951 and toured Europe for the first time in 1958, playing in London, the Hague, West Berlin, Munich, and Zurich. In 1959 he began a seven-year post as pianist-in-residence at

15 Lahr/Schwarzwald: Moritz Schauenburg Verlag, 1964. 86, 128 16 Hungerford lived in southern Germany from 1958 to 1967 and toured extensively throughout Western and Eastern Europe. He experienced sold-out performances, enthusiastic reviews, and became known for his interpretations of Beethoven, Brahms, and Schubert. 17 Hungerford’s mother, Anna Maria Hungerford, his niece Katrine Mary Clouston Azriel and her husband Solomon Azriel were also killed instantly in the accident, a head-on collision caused by a drunk driver. 18 See Appendix A infra for the Hungerford discography.

7 the Bayreuth Festival, where the Wagner family gave him access to unpublished piano music by Richard Wagner, which Hungerford recorded in 1960. Hungerford was also an expert photographer and Egyptologist, two callings that began in his teenage years and for which he was highly respected. In 1961, he went to Egypt as the still photographer with the NBC Nile Expedition, which recorded on film many of the ancient monuments from Abu Simbel to the Delta, devoting special attention to the temples of Nubia, which were then threatened by the projected flooding from the Aswan Dam. He returned to Egypt in 1966, ’67, and ’68 to study and take photographs, receiving a grant from the American Research Center in Egypt. He returned to New York in 1965 to give a recital at Carnegie Hall that received unanimous critical acclaim, firmly establishing his reputation. Other appearances included Town Hall and Lincoln Center; he also gave annual recitals at New York’s Rockefeller University and taught at the Mannes College of Music in New York. Following his 1965 Carnegie Hall recital he was invited by Vanguard Classics to record all 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas. At the time of his death, 22 were completed, along with individual albums devoted to music by Schubert, Brahms, and Chopin. An Israeli friend of the Vanguard producers had argued for this recording contract writing about Hungerford that he was “an unusual man with tremendous artistic and spiritual powers, but due to a complete lack of talent for public relations, he has had little luck in getting engagements.” This unwillingness on his part to pursue the business of a career is part of the reason for the comment by F. Pleibel of the Los Angeles Times, “Musicians speak of him with awe, yet he is almost unknown to the vast concert-going public.” On a January evening in 1977, driving home from a lecture he had given at Rockefeller University of Egypt, Hungerford was in a head-on collision and he died instantly. It was my pleasure and honor to review many of Hungerford’s Vanguard LPs when they were issued and furthermore, my memories of his superb musicmaking antedate those Vanguard discs and include an earlier version of Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 111 for Bayreuth. And also some of the aforementioned rarely heard Wagner piano pieces. As well as distinguished live recitals at Alice Tully Hall and (years earlier) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s GRR Auditorium. Here are a few excerpts from my reviews in High Fidelity:

Full document contains 543 pages
Abstract: A product of the student-teacher relationship between Australian pianist Bruce "Leonard" Hungerford (1922-1977) and German pedagogue Carl Friedberg (1872-1955) are fifteen recorded lessons of more than twenty hours from February 1951 through May 1952, now part of the Bruce Hungerford Collection at the International Piano Archives at Maryland (IPAM). These lessons yield a remarkable repository of insight into Brahms performance practice, as Friedberg was a student of Clara Schumann and protégé of Brahms. Part I, Chapter One: Bruce Hungerford and Carl Friedberg: Introduction and Context presents biographical surveys of the lives and careers of Hungerford and Friedberg. Chapter Two: The Recorded Lessons consists of the lessons' genesis and nature, repertoire, and aspects of interpretation, technique, and performance practice, as well as Friedberg's first-hand accounts of a number of musicians, conductors, and composers from Bach to Busoni. Chapter Three: Brahms Performance Practice presents Friedberg's personal history with Brahms as musician, composer, and conductor, and focuses on the Brahms repertoire covered in the lessons. Analysis and commentary regarding the significance of the lessons follow. Part II: The Transcription of the Hungerford-Friedberg Lessons consists of the transcription and accompanying indices of the recorded lessons. Appendix A: Hungerford Memorabilia contains a biography by Thomas Stanback, published interview, and discography. Appendix B: Friedberg Memorabilia contains performance reviews, recital dates and programs, and compositional oeuvre with discography. Appendix C: Hungerford-Friedberg Memorabilia presents reproductions of selected photographs, letters, and documents from the correspondence and scrapbooks of the Bruce Hungerford and Carl Friedberg Collections at IPAM.