ALFRED GRUNFELD (1852 - 1924)
Pianist Alfred Grünfeld (1852-1924) was born in Prague, studied at the Kullak Academy in Berlin and eventually moved to Vienna, where he became a popular teacher and performer. He was court pianist to Emperor Wilhelm I of Germany. He knew Brahms, Strauss and Leschetizky. Based on extant concert programmes, Grünfeld was a pianist of intellect and virtuosic abilities. He performed many of the major works of Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Schumann, Schubert and Brahms, often including new works by composers of the day, such as Grieg’s Ballade, Op. 24.
He was a prolific composer, mostly of shorter character pieces, and effective transcriptions. He recorded extensively, as early as 1899 (on acoustic Berliners). Although he recorded his own interpretation of his transcription Soirée de Vienne (on themes by Johann Strauss II) as early as 1905, we present a fairly rare Russian recording of this work played by Jakov Fliere (1912-1977). Grünfeld’s music was popular in Russia. After all, he concertized there (performing in the best venues, including the Winter Palace and Princess Voronozov’s Palace) and received an honour from Czar Alexander III.