Hyperion Records

Piano Concerto No 1 in E minor
Sauer‘s E minor Concerto (dedicated to ‘the memory of my great master, Nicholas Rubinstein’) was very highly esteemed by Josef Hofmann, and the work had already gone through eight printings by 1908, when Sauer first played the work in America (16 October, in Boston). Its first performance was at the festival of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein in Bremen on 27 May 1900 with the composer as soloist. On 23 March 1902 he played the piece in St Petersburg with Mahler conducting, and he premiered his Second Piano Concerto (in C minor) in Berlin the same year, this time with Richard Strauss as conductor.

Sauer played the E minor Concerto almost exclusively during his 1908 American tour, and in Chicago local critics wrote: ‘It was no matter for astonishment that when the pianist-composer had brought the work to its conclusion a storm of genuine enthusiasm should sweep the house from gallery to floor … Mr Sauer represents a school of piano-playing that has all but vanished. The pianists who are now moulding the taste of the public give but little thought to real pianistic beauty. They are, one and all, engaged in the questionable task of reproducing with their instruments effects that are orchestral … but in the meantime we are in danger of forgetting the joys of pure pianism. To such joys Mr Sauer has awakened us.’

from notes by Steven Heliotes © 1995

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