György Sándor – Bartók and Kodály

First time on CD: the legendary Hungarian pianist plays music by his two most famous teachers

György Sándor is best known to music lovers and record collectors as a gifted pianist and champion of the music of his fellow Hungarian Béla Bartók, but he was also one of the most important piano pedagogues of the later twentieth century. As a piano teacher at the University of Michigan and the Juilliard School, his students included Malcolm Bilson, Barbara Nissman, and Hélène Grimaud. Sándor carried on the practician-pedagogue tradition passed down from Bartók, who was his most important piano teacher, and Zoltán Kodály, with whom he studied composition at the Liszt Royal Conservatory in Budapest. Sándor had played throughout Europe, Asia and America by the time he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1939, and he settled in the United States shortly after that triumphant appearance. He had an enormous repertoire, but he is best known as a champion of Bartók’s piano music, swimming against the artistic tide at a time when the music was considered too modern, too difficult to play and listen to, too risky for concert presenters — and doing a great deal to reverse the public perception of Bartók’s music in America in tandem with the efforts of fellow Hungarian expatriates Frigyes (Fritz) Reiner and Antal Doráti. Sándor’s career as a performer exceeded an astonishing seven decades in duration.

The present release returns to circulation two of Séndor’s great recordings: the complete piano music of Zoltán Kódaly, originally released on Candide in the mid-1970s, and “Bartók and the Baroque,” a collection of Bartók’s baroque transcriptions issued on Vox Cum Laude in the late 1970s. Remastering: Gene Gaudette
Executive Producer: Christopher Todd Landor