Felicia Blumenthal (Felicja Blumenthal) |

Felicia Blumenthal (Felicja Blumenthal) |

Felicja Blumental

Date of birth
Date of death

Felicia Blumenthal (Felicja Blumenthal) |

This modest, old-fashioned-looking and now rather elderly woman did not seek to compete on the concert stage not only with leading pianists or rising “stars”, but also with her fellow rivals. Either because her artistic fate was difficult at first, or she realized that she did not have sufficient virtuoso skills and a strong personality for this. In any case, she, a native of Poland and a pupil of the pre-war Warsaw Conservatory, became known in Europe only in the mid-50s, and even today her name is not yet included in musical biographical dictionaries and reference books. True, it was preserved in the list of participants in the Third International Chopin Competition, but not in the list of laureates.

Meanwhile, this name deserves attention, because it belongs to an artist who has taken on the noble mission of reviving the old classical and romantic music that has not been performed for centuries, as well as assisting modern authors who are looking for ways to reach listeners.

Blumenthal gave her first concerts in Poland and abroad shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1942, she managed to escape from Nazi-occupied Europe to South America. She eventually became a Brazilian citizen, began to teach and give concerts, and struck up friendships with many Brazilian composers. Among them was Heitor Vila Lobos, who dedicated his last, Fifth Piano Concerto (1954) to the pianist. It was in those years that the main directions of the artist’s creative activity were determined.

Since then, Felicia Blumenthal has given hundreds of concerts in South America, recorded dozens of works, almost or completely unfamiliar to listeners. Even a list of her discoveries would take up a lot of space. Among them are concerts by Czerny, Clementi, Filda, Paisiello, Stamitz, Viotti, Kulau, Kozhelukh, F.A. Hoffmeister, Ferdinand Ries, Hummel’s Brilliant Rondo on Russian themes… This is only from the “old men”. And along with this – Arensky’s Concerto, Fantasia Foret, Ant Concertpiece. Rubinstein, “Wedding Cake” by Saint-Saens, “Fantastic Concerto” and “Spanish Rhapsody” by Albeniz, Concerto and “Polish Fantasy” by Paderewski, Concertino in the classical style and Romanian dances by D. Lipatti, Brazilian concert by M. Tovaris … We have mentioned only the compositions for piano and orchestra…

In 1955, Felicia Blumenthal, for the first time after a long break, performed in Europe and since then repeatedly returned to the old continent, playing in the best halls and with the best orchestras. On one of her visits to Czechoslovakia, she recorded with the Brno and Prague orchestras an interesting disc containing forgotten works by Beethoven (for the 200th anniversary of the great composer). The Piano Concerto in E flat major (op. 1784), the piano edition of the violin concerto, the unfinished concerto in D major, the Romance Cantabile for piano, woodwinds and string instruments have been recorded here. This entry is a document of undeniable historical value.

It is clear that in the vast repertoire of Blumenthal there are many traditional works of the classics. True, in this area, of course, she is inferior to well-known performers. But it would be wrong to think that her game is devoid of the necessary professionalism and artistic charm. “Felicia Blumenthal,” emphasizes the authoritative West German magazine Phonoforum, “is a good pianist who presents unknown compositions with technical certainty and purity of form. The fact that she plays exactly them only makes her appreciate her even more.

Grigoriev L., Platek Ya., 1990

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