This post was prompted by listening to Chopin's Piano Concerto in E Minor, Opus 11, Everest Archive X-923 (stereo, 1965). This whole series of recordings was very carefully made of remarkable Duo-Art reproductions played on the incredible 1929 Steinway Vorsetzer belonging to Harold Powell, of North Hollyood, CA, USA.
There has already been some discussion of the Vorsetzers, etc. in connection with the re-animated Gould Goldberg Variations. But I don't want to get into this stuff right now because this thread belongs to Hofmann.
I did not remember, but it did not take me long to figure out that this was the first time I have heard this record via my current set-up. While I never thought that much of these recordings (records, not performances; I always loved the performances) before, I am now forced to reconsider. I am not sure about the surfaces, since I have put these records through a lot since I got them, back when they were first issued. I will go back through my modest collection anon, but right now I can't recommend this record highly enough.
This recording is of Hofmann's brilliant transcription and arrangement of the popular piano/orchestra score to render it with solo piano. If upon hearing it you immediatly suspect two pianos or at least 4 hands are at work, you are not alone.
But this performance is not about technical wizardry. Rather, it is about artistic mastery. It is very hard for me to imagine a more beautiful, perfect performance of this piece. I really would not change one thing about it, including a brief section where you might be thinking it got away from Hofmann, but then he simply ties it back with a truly remarkable "save" that IMO only makes the whole better.
This recording, warts and all, I find about as good as it gets from recorded music.
The world class performance must be heard to be believed, Vorsetzer notwithstanding.
I would pay about any price for a ticket to hear something like this live today, but I honestly suppose I will never get the chance.