Jörg Demus, Exponent of Piano Repertory’s Heart, Dies at 90
Jörg Demus, an Austrian pianist extensively revered for the refinement and expressivity of his enjoying, who made greater than 350 recordings and accompanied main singers like Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Elly Ameling in tune recitals and on basic recordings, died on April 16 in Vienna. He was 90.
Though many critics and music-lovers have been received over by the sensitivity and vitality of Mr. Demus’s enjoying, others discovered him missing the virtuosic approach and temperament deemed important to a significant touring profession. Reviewing his New York recital debut at Town Hall in 1955 in The New York Times, Harold C. Schonberg described him as a “conscientious musician” and “actually a well-qualified pianist.” But, he added, “it can’t be stated that his interpretations gave any nice indication of persona.”
Yet, the integrity and adaptableness that Mr. Demus confirmed from his earliest years made him a super accomplice for singers, together with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Peter Schreier, and instrumentalists, together with the violinist Josef Suk.
Among Fischer-Dieskau’s seven business recordings of Schubert’s towering “Winterreise” tune cycle, the one he made for Deutsche Grammophon in 1966 with Mr. Demus on the piano has risen steadily in important estimation.
Reviewing a recital Mr. Fischer-Dieskau gave with Mr. Demus at Carnegie Hall in 1976, a program dedicated to Hugo Wolf settings of Goethe poems, Andrew Porter of The New Yorker wrote that “one felt wrung, exhausted” after their “overwhelming efficiency” of Wolf’s “Prometheus.”
Mr. Demus additionally had an extended, productive collaboration along with his fellow Austrian pianist Paul Badura-Skoda, with whom he championed the four-hand and piano duo works of Mozart, Schubert and different composers, bringing a lot of this repertory to wider consideration via live shows and standard recordings.
Throughout a seven-decade profession, Mr. Demus additionally carried out extensively as a soloist and, beginning in his early 20s, made dozens of recordings of an enormous, if conventional, repertory, particularly Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, in addition to full surveys of the solo works of Schumann and Debussy.
Jörg Demus was born on Dec. 2, 1928, in St. Pölten, Austria. His father, Otto Demus, a outstanding artwork historian, and his mom, a violinist, inspired their son’s precocious expertise. He started piano research at 6 and at 11 entered the Vienna Music Academy, the place along with piano he studied conducting and composition. He composed a substantial variety of works written in a reasonably conservative model.
At 14, in 1943, Jörg made his debut as a live performance pianist on the intimate Brahms-Saal within the Musikverein live performance corridor in Vienna. After graduating in 1945, he took classes within the early 1950s with the French pianist Yves Nat in Paris and attended grasp courses of the French-born German pianist Walter Gieseking on the Saarbrucken Conservatory in Germany. In 1956, the bicentennial 12 months of Mozart’s delivery, Mr. Demus received the distinguished Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy.
It was as a performer of the Viennese Classical repertory and the works of Schumann that Mr. Demus gained rising consideration as he performed in Vienna and different European cities. American critics, too, warmed to the self-effacing beauties of Mr. Demus’s artistry.
Reviewing the pianist’s efficiency at a Mostly Mozart Festival live performance in New York in 1974, the place he performed solo works of Mozart and Schumann in addition to Mozart’s Concerto No. 21 in C (Okay. 467), John Rockwell of The Times praised his “calm mastery” of the repertory, including that he had “the key of bending and shaping the music in a means that fills it with recreative character, but at all times sounds true to the composer’s intentions.”
Mr. Demus was a pioneer within the interval instrument motion, enjoying and recording on fortepianos and pianos of the early 19th century. He acquired a big private assortment of historic devices, which he maintained at his personal museum till the gathering was offered in 2004.
Mr. Demus was an lively trainer principally primarily based in Vienna.
Complete data on his survivors was not instantly obtainable.
In a 2015 interview, Mr. Demus challenged the very notion of a profession. “I don’t have a profession,” he stated. “I’m an individual who had a life to dwell. I’m leaving ‘careers’ to different individuals. A profession is sort of a racetrack for horses — I’m neither a horse nor am I working on a racetrack.”