Historical Recordings

Ritos de Passagem - Nelson Freire 1957

Nelson Freire (piano)

SCSH 026

This is the release of Nelson Freire’s only youth recording (1957). The CD contains his live performance in the final round of the 1957 Rio de Janeiro Piano Competition, the starting point for the launch of his career. Still on the CD, pieces by Chopin that he recorded immediately after the Contest.

These early adolescent recordings of the celebrated Brazilian pianist (at age 12), remastered with audio restoration, feature the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, op. 73 (“Emperor”) recorded “live”, during the final round of the 1st INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION OF RIO DE JANEIRO (August, 1957), with Freire as soloist, accompanied by the Orchestra of the Municipal Theatre of Rio de Janeiro, conducted by Nino Stinca. The CD also includes a Chopin recital, recorded at a recording studio, a few days after the competition. According to Nelson Freire’s wish, these recordings were released by SanCtuS Recordings in 2012, and the album includes a 23-page informative and illustrated booklet, in English and Portuguese, with sleeve-notes written by Gilda Oswaldo Cruz and Alain Lompech.


“…expressive nuances of an extraordinary prodigy… You would hardly credit that the playing of the B minor Scherzo, which he had studied and memorized in two weeks, and F minor Ballade is that of a pianist not yet in his teens.”

Jeremy Nicholas
Gramophone March 2012

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