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Alexander Jenner (1929)



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Jenner: Beethoven Moonlight Sonata

Alexander Jenner's recording: Beethoven and Chopin.

 

 

 

The first release from 1950.

 


The reissue on the Vibraton label. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The release of Alexander Jenner's Moonlight Sonata on Plymouth P-12-16 coupled with Alfred Kitchin's Pathétique.


 

Jenner CHOPIN Etudes

The Remington cover of Jenner's youthful and vital performance of the Etudes Op. 25 of Chopin. The Etudes were later released on Plymouth coupled with the Chopin pieces from R-199-10.

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


On Bertelsmann Schallplattenring 8135 a variety of Remington artists can be heard: Wolfgang Sawallisch, Alexander Jenner, Karl Rucht and Laszlo Halasz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 

Jenner: Beethoven Emperor Concert

In the mid nineteen fifties Alexander Jenner's recording of Beethoven's Fifth Concerto was released on LP 11033 of Bertelsmann Schallplattenring and found its way to the homes of the many subscribers to this mail-order record company. The Orchestra of the 'Wiener Konzert-Vereinigung was directed by F.C. Adler.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The Point Classic CD with the Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 of Béla Bartók.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Alexander Jenner
Alexander Jenner today.
(Image courtesy Alexander Jenner.)






 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In 1949, pianist Alexander Jenner won the "Bösendorfer-Preisflügel", the grand piano awarded by the famous Viennese piano manufacturer to the best student of that year graduating from the Vienna State Academy of Music. This fact and early performances put him in the limelight. No wonder he was asked by Marcel Prawy to make recordings for the Remington label.

 

Bösendorfer PreisflügelViennese impressario Marcel Prawy acted on behalf of Don Gabor to produce recordings. Only in a few cases he would obtain existing radio recordings. Most of the time he himself arranged recording sessions with specific artists and orchestras. All to be released on the Remington label.

Prawy also made deals with young artists who just had finished their studies in Vienna. He discovered and contracted pianist Jörg Demus for several recordings. Prawy also approached young Alexander Jenner: "Mr. Prawy would ask you to study, say Beethoven's 'Diabelli Variations', and to be ready in two weeks time for a recording session."
The sessions arranged by Prawy in 1950 produced material to be released not only on Remington (on which also pianists Frieda Valenzi, Felicitas Karrer, Hilde Somer, Friedrich Wührer, Hermann Schwertmann, and Fritz Weidlich played) but the recordings were often released on Gabor's Plymouth and Merit labels as well.

Alexander Jenner (Vienna - April 4th, 1929) studied from 1945 on for almost ten years at the "Musikakademie" in Vienna. During the first three years with Paul Weingarten, and the years after with Bruno Seidlhofer and Richard Hauser.

Alexander Jenner in the early years of his career when he won prizes, played jazz with Friedrich Gulda and Joe Zawinul, and recorded for the Remington label.
Image courtesy Alexander Jenner.

In 1951 Jenner won the second price at the International Contest of Geneva (a first prize was not given), and the following year a second prize at the Viotti Contest in Vercellie (other contestants were René Pouget from France, Walter Blankenheim from Germany and Andrej Wasowski from Poland). In that same year he won the "Kranichstein Music Award for Modern Music Interpretation" (Kranichsteiner Musikpreis für Neue Musik-Interpretation) in Darmstadt. No wonder Prawy asked him to record for the Remington label while still further studying.

After he had completed his studies in 1957 he participated in yet another competition: The Rio de Janeiro Contest for Pianists. Other participants were Sergei Dorensky, Augustin Anievas, Michael Voskresensky, Nelson Freire and a very young Arthur Moreira-Lima. Jenner won First Prize and the jury was unanimous in that vote.

In those years Alexander Jenner not only played the classics but also performed music which was not considered standard repertory at the time. He was the first Austrian pianist to perform Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and Concerto in F (February 24, 1951) and he gave the first performance of Strawinsky's 'Petrouchka for Piano Solo'. As early as 1951 he gave the first performance of the 12 tone compositions of Hanns Jelinek.

Jenner gave the first performance in Austria of the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra of Aram Khatchaturian. He performed this concerto also with Khatchaturian conducting. It gave Jenner the opportunity to discuss the intentions of the composer and the way the Concerto was to be played.

The performance of the Khachaturian Conderto on Classique 11353 / Orbis 81503 clearly shows an approach which differs substantially from the known recordings of Moura Lympany, Leonard Pennario, Mindru Katz and Peter Katin, to mention a few. In Jenner's recording the pianist puts an emphasis on the modernity of the composition. There are accents not heard in other recordings before. In his recording the Concerto is less folkloristic and becomes a more serious work of a higher level one could say. Alexander Jenner is the virtuoso who masters the technique extremely well. The playing of the cadenzas in all three movements is exemplary. The beginning of the second movement lets one hear that the pianist is familiar with the jazz idiom and though there is a precision about his playing, the setting of the mood is right and the intensity is very good, though - again - it differs from the recordings by pianists who sport a more popular, melodic approach. This is nevertheless a remarkable performance which can be fully enjoyed.

Alexander Jenner's interest in modern music is exemplified by his participation (together with Ensemble "die reihe") in the recording of the "Zwolftonwerke" (12 Tone Music) of Hanns Jelinek, supervised by Friedrich Cerha, and by his performance of the "Castelli Romani" of Austrian composer Karl Marx on March 28/29, 1982, in the Stefaniensaal of Graz, with the Graz Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Peter Schrottner; and by his recording of the Bartok Concertos. This despite the fact that the classics from the romantic period - Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, Schumann and Grieg - dominate his repertory. He performed these composers as a soloist with the leading orchestras of Europe: Vienna Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Staatskapelle Dresden.
He traveled to Poland, the Czech Republic, Yugoslavia, Croatia, and Italy. He performed in Brazil and Japan and gave concerts with Claudio Abbado, Zubin Mehta, Christoph von Dohnányi, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Vaclav Neumann, Mariss Jansons, Isaac Karabtchevsky, and in his early years with legends like Ernest Ansermet, Josef Krips, Milo von Wawak, Volkmar Andreae, Paul Kletzki, Rudolf Kempe and Hans Swarowsky. 

In 1969, at the age of 40, Alexander Jenner became a professor at the "Wiener Musikhochschule"; he conducted master classes and gave courses in Austria, Japan, Germany, USA, Taiwan, Spain and Latin America. He also is a valuable jury member at international piano competitions and he judicated at various competitions, Beethoven (Vienna), Tchaikovsky (Moscow), Chopin (Warsaw), Busoni (Bolzano), Schubert (Dortmund), and Schumann (Zwickau), and the Hamamatsu Competiton and other contests organized in Munich, Tokyo, Cologne, Petria, Sydney and Nagoya. He received and accepted invitations for the Enesco Competition (2001) in Bucharest and the Rachmaninoff Competition in Moscow (2002). Alexander Jenner has been honored with many national and international orders of merit. 

When I talked to Alexander Jenner, he told me about the role of Marcel Prawy regarding the Remington recordings and he confirmed: "Yes, I only made two recordings for Remington".

His discography is an interesting list of recordings of works in various styles. It also deserves mention of the recordings of Bartók's Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3, released on Compact Disc. 

Alexander Jenner's discography on Donald Gabor labels:

Remington RLP-199-10: Moonlight Sonata (Ludwig van Beethoven), Polonaise No. 1, Fantasie Impromptu, Polonaise Op. 53 and Scherzo Op. 39 (Chopin).
On older covers the name of Helmut Roloff is mentioned instead of Alexander Jenner as pianist of the Beethoven Sonata while the performer is Alexander Jenner.
Jenner's performance of the Moonlight Sonata was also released on Plymouth P-12-16 in a coupling with Sonata Pathétique played by Alfred Kitchin.
Under the heading 'Chopin Melodies' another Plymouth release (P12-20) contained Jenner's recordings of two Polonaises, Fantasy Impromptu and Etudes Op. 25. Much later the Etudes were issued on the Paris label. The pianist's name had been changed into Robert Garand, probably because the license had expired.

The adagio of the Moonlight Sonata was released on a Bertelsmann Schallplattenring 10" disc called "Wunschkonzert - Meisterwerke der Klassik". The liner notes state that Alexander Jenner is one of the few pianists who unconditionally surrenders himself to this difficult Beethoven composition. That same disc features a Chopin Nocturne which was never released on Remington.

Remington R-199-28: Etudes Op. 25 (Frederic Chopin).
Warren DeMotte characterized the performances of these studies with "Jenner is warm and probing."
And music critic Cecil Smith wrote in New Republic, April 23, 1951:


"
Jorg Demus and Alexander Jenner, neither of whom I ever heard of, appear to be the best of Remington's pianists. (...) Mr. Jenner offers sensitive and attractive performances of the Chopin Etudes Op. 25. In all these records the piano sounds reasonably well, though not as well as it can in the best full-price products."


Click here for a Sound Clip of Alexander Jenner playing Etude Op. 25 No.12 - Ocean Etude - from 1950. This file will be replaced as soon as a better copy of the record will be available.

Alexander Jenner on other labels:

Impression 6032 (Special Edition): Sonata Pathétique, Moonlight Sonata, Appassionata (Ludwig van Beethoven).

AKM 419 557: Compositions of Dieter Kaufmann - "Concertomobil für Violine, Tonbänder und Orchester" - Concertomobile for Violin, Tapes and Orchestra (with Saschko Gawriloff, violin and the Symphony Orchestra of the Südwestfunk Baden-Baden conducted by Ernest Bour), "Für Clara" (Alexander Jenner, piano, and the 'Niederösterreichisches Tonkünstlerorchester' Wien conducted by Alexander Rahbari), "Trois Poèmes de Stéphan Mallarmé for voice and 5 instruments" (Noriko Sasaki, soprano, the Austrian Ensemble for New Music, Klaus Ager, conductor) .

Bertelsmann 13357 / World Record Club TP 63 / Mace S-9064: Piano Concerto in A minor (Edward Grieg), Alexander Jenner with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra conducted by Odd Gruner-Hegge. Two Elegiac Melodies for String Orchestra with Friedrich Tilligant conducting the Southwest German Chamber Orchestra.

Bertelsmann Schallplattenring Nr. 11033: Piano concerto No. 5 Op. 73 (Ludwig van Beethoven) with the Orchestra of the Vienna Concert Society, F. C. (Frederick Charles) Adler, conductor. Although Bertelsmann Schallplattenring had a contract with Don Gabor, this recording was not made in cooperation with Remington.

Classique 11346 K: Sonatas No. 2, Op. 35, and No. 3, Op. 58 (Frederic Chopin).

Ariola 11358 K / Realm RM 161 (Oriole Records, London) / World Record Club ST 213: Piano Concerto No. 2 (Johannes Brahms) with Dean Dixon conducting.

Concert Hall Society CHS 1137: Piano Concerto No. 2 (MacDowell) with Henry Swoboda conducting the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. This recording was noted for the very good performance of this rarely performed concerto. The disc also contains Woodland Sketches performed by pianist Arthur Balsam. When evaluating the performance of the Concerto Warren DeMotte wrote in 1955: "Jenner-Swoboda are spirited in a crisp recording".

The disc was released in April 1952 and for two years was the only performance on record of this concerto until the recordings of the Festival Concert Orchestra (Camden); Jesús María Sanromá and Howard Hanson (Columbia); and Vivian Rivkin with Dean Dixon (Westminster) became available in early 1954. Jenner's disc was announced to be deleted in June 1957 when the brothers David and Samuel Josefowitz had sold the Concert Hall Society label to Crowell-Collier and concentrated on the Musical Masterpiece Society subscription series instead.

Classique 11353 / Orbis 81503: Piano Concerto (Aram Khatchaturian) with conductor Kurt Richter.

The cover of the Classique release of Aram Khatchaturian's Piano Concerto with the pianist's hands.

Amadeo AVRS 3004: 4 Pieces Op. 96, 3 Etudes Op. 54 (Norbert Sprongl)

Amadeo AVRS 5062/63: Zwölftonwerk Op. 15 (Hanns Jelinek); with ensemble "die reihe"

PAN 0120 390 B: Gaspard de la nuit (Maurice Ravel), Ballade No. 1 Op. 23 (Frederic Chopin), Mephisto Walz (Franz Liszt).

Alexander Jenner at 51 playing Gaspard de la Nuit (Ravel), Ballade Op. 23 (Chopin) and Mephisto Waltz (Liszt) on PAN 120 390, recorded May 5 and 6, 1980.

Classical Excellence CE 11023: Piano Concerto No. 20 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart). ORF (Austrian Radio) Symphony Orchestra conducted by Milan Horvath.

Point Classics 267007 (CD): Piano concertos Nos. 2 and 3 (Béla Bartók) with The Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Milan Horvath and Karl Melles respectively. 

Many recordings like his Beethoven, Bartok and Khatchaturian received praise, and especially his performance of the hardly ever played MacDowell concerto was outstanding.
He participated in the publication of the "Beethoven Piano Sonatas, edited and published from the originals by Peter Hauschild, and finger notation by Alexander Jenner", Wiener Urtext Edition, Copyright 1997, Vienna.


NOTE Alexander Jenner playing Jazz.

It was Alexander Jenner - playing in the Viennese art-club "Strohkoffer" - who, at the end of the nineteen forties, introduced Friedrich Gulda (1930-2000) to the essence and joys of the jazz idiom. After that he and Friedrich Gulda often played four hands boogie woogie.

 Many young artists, celebrities and amateurs visited the club. "One evening", Jenner recalls, "a young man came in and said: 'I like to play something too...' (in Viennese dialect: 'I mech aa was spüle...').
Jenner: "They let him play, and instantly eyes and ears of everybody present were opened in amazement for he played in the most modernistic, energizing jazz style." This young man was Joe (Josef) Zawinul, the all-round jazz musician, who later went to live in the United States and rose to fame.

Joe Zawinul and Alexander Jenner, as "Vienna Piano Duo", recorded two 78 RPM shellac discs for His Master's Voice: Fine and Dandy, September in the Rain, Pick Yourself Up, and Stompin' at the Savoy. In 1953 that was when 78 RPM was still a widespread format.

Mr. Jenner also played under his pseudonym Sascha Janus, Sascha being his Christian name in Russian of Alexander, and Janus the double-faced mythological figure (signifying classical music and jazz), and which is also the name from which his family name stems. (Etymology: Jannarius > Jänner > Jenner).

Dr.Aydin Karlibel, composer-pianist, active at the Istanbul State Opera Istanbul, Turkey, attended Prof. Jenner's classes from 1990 till 1993 in Vienna. Professor Jenner also visited Istanbul and performed a Beethoven Concerto under the eminent Turkish composer-conductor-pianist-pedagogue Cemal Resid Rey (known to the French as Djemal Rechid), 1904-1985.

Alexander Jenner still teaches young talents, conducts master classes and adjudicates international contests and competitions.
Professor Jenner lives in Vienna.

R.A. Bruil, July 2001


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