The Prague-born Viennese pianist Alfred Grünfeld (1852–1924) was phenomenally successful in his day, a prolific composer—especialy famous for his transcriptions of Johann Strauss II—and the first mature pianist of note to record for the gramophone. His first discs date from as early as 1899; during the following fifteen years he cut a further ninety sides, among them some fine Chopin, Schumann and Brahms items and, incidentally, a performance of Poldini’s Poupée valsante
, though not, alas, the Romanze
Grünfeld’s Romanze is heard here in its original key of F sharp major (other editions appeared in F major). The sentimental theme of the piece is in marked contrast to its unexpected central Allegro agitato e appassionato section and, on its second repeat, the octave treatment of the opening theme. But then one of Grünfeld’s specialities was to play the right hand of Chopin’s ‘Minute Waltz’ in octaves and a tempo.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2003