A tribute to the pianist Paul Badura-Skoda

Photo: Jean-Baptiste Millot
The pianist Paul Badura-Skoda is the last link with the great tradition of austro-German.

Last October 6, the pianist Paul Badura-Skoda, good foot good eye, was celebrating his 90 years. Deutsche Grammophon had the idea of a tribute unexpected.


On January 27, 1952, the great conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, between on the stage erected at the castle of Schönbrunn, where the waiting for the musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic. In front of him, a pianist on the viennese of 24 years, Paul Badura-Skoda, with whom he will interpret le22e Mozart Concerto.


Badura-Skoda, a student of Edwin Fischer, ” the “soloist of Furtwängler in” the ” concerto in the repertoire (The Beethoven emperor), is the last link with the great tradition of austro-German. Of this pianist, born 6 October 1927 in Vienna, and plates of works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, he is best known today for the tireless work of musicologist and enthusiast of ancient instruments.

Paul Badura-Skoda is the one who made discover to the entire planet how does a Beethoven sonata on the pianoforte Conrad Graf as the composer had at his disposal. This quest that drives him for four decades, has very much overshadowed the rest of his career. We know little of the aesthetic of the sound, attached to the pianos, Bösendorfer, which he has recorded Debussy, but also the young Badura-Skoda, which has evolved in the galaxy of viennese 1950s. It is the pianist that a box-set Deutsche Grammophon allows us to rediscover.


Real rarities


The Vienna of the 1950s has three young wolves, all extraordinary, who are seeking new ways on the piano. The austrian capital is almost too small for them. Alfred Brendel, Paul Badura-Skoda and Friedrich Gulda still do not know that they will take all three in the story.


If the career of Badura-Skoda, the lover of ancient instruments, is fully documented and if the integrals Mozart and Schubert to Eurodisc (at the piano) of the late 1960s come back to the catalog (this is the case for Schubert, at Sony, for a month), the records of the young Badura-Skoda had disappeared, because they had been made for the label Westminster, which has never really been the object of re-serious.


Westminster is in the bosom of the Universal and Deutsche Grammophon start looking at the catalog. It is a good idea, because, imagine this, Badura-Skoda has recorded the Beethoven concertos with Hermann Scherchen. However, here is finally reissued !


And we discover in these engravings produced between 1950 and 1965 that Badura-Skoda has recorded the concertos of Chopin with an elegance stunning (in 1954, under the direction of Rodzinski), and it was the same in the legacy of the mozart concertos by Scriabin, Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov.


All in all, we find eight CDS of concertos, seven solo, three in music room and two in a duo with Jörg Demus. Of the discovery from A to Z, to compare it to the Gulda and Brendel were at the time in the same way aesthetic blueprint objective. It is historically fascinating.

The Paul Badura-Skoda Edition

DG 20 cd 479 8065