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Lili Kraus

Born in Budapest, in 1905, to an impoverished Hungarian mother and Czech father, Kraus entered the Academy of Music there as a piano major at age 8. Taught by Kodály and Bartók, among others, she graduated in 1922, with top honors. Kraus then attended the Vienna Konservatorium to study with Eduard Steuermann and Schnabel, from whom she took master classes. Starting in 1925, became a teacher there herself for six years. In the 1930s, she toured both as soloist and as the recital partner of violinist Szymon Goldberg, with whom she recorded Beethoven and Mozart sonatas for British Parlophone in 1935 and 1937, along with solo reperoire. Her other specialties included Chopin, Haydn, Schubert, and Bartók.

When Kraus married philosopher Otto Mandl, they converted to Catholicism, living in Italy until the cloud of Nazism compelled them to move to the Dutch East Indies. While touring in 1942, Kraus, her husband, and their two children were arrested in Indonesia, and sent to separate prisoner-of-war camps on Java for nearly three years. They survived principally because the Japanese knew her name and her recordings. A Japanese conductor reputedly provided food as well as musical scores until their rescue by British forces. For two years Kraus played in Australia and New Zealand (where she became a British subject), and in South Africa too, before returning to England in 1948, where she resumed her career before debuting in the U.S., in 1949. She also resumed recording, albeit with second-class Viennese orchestras and conductors for Vox, mainly, in concertos by Mozart and Beethoven, but later on for Vanguard in the U.S. During the 1966-1967 season, she performed 25 of Mozart's 27 concertos in New York City on a single series, and the next season played his complete keyboard sonatas.

A nonstop talker who designed her own concert gowns, Kraus was never ranked as a virtuoso even before World War II, but she was a notably distinguished interpreter. Those who heard her before and after the war confided sadly that something had forever changed. She never stopped playing, however -- always forthrightly, even brusquely, in some repertoire. Texas Christian University at Fort Worth appointed her artist-in-residence in 1968, and she became a regular juror at the Cliburn International Competitions. She tried to instill in her pupils the same enthusiasm that sustained her as a public concert artist until 1982, an intensity that unnerved some of the shy and introverted students. At various U.S. piano competitions, regular observers labeled her a surrogate stage-mother, as she endlessly exhorted and lobbied. But she taught and cherished her pupils, emulating the teachers from her childhood.

In 1978, the Austrian government awarded Kraus the Cross of Honor for Science and Art. Remaining a British subject, she taught in Texas until her retirement in 1983. She maintained a home in Asheville, North Carolina, where she died in 1986.
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Complete Vanguard Classics Recordings

Disc 1

1. Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56: No. 1, Stick Dance

2. Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56: No. 2. Sash Dance

3. Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56: No. 3, In One Spot: Andante

4. Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56: No. 4, Horn Dance (Transylvania)

5. Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56: No. 5, Romanian Polka, Allegro

6. Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56: No. 6, Fast Dance

7. Three Rondos On Folk Tunes, Sz. 84: No. 1, Andante; Allegro Molto; Allegro Giocoso

8. Three Rondos On Folk Tunes, Sz. 84: No. 2, Vivacissimo; Allegro Non Troppo, Allegro Assai

9. Three Rondos On Folk Tunes, Sz. 84: No. 3, Allegro Molto; Meno Mosso; Molto Tranquillo

10. Three Hungarian Folk Songs Form Csik, Sz. 35a: No. 1, Rubato

11. Three Hungarian Folk Songs Form Csik, Sz. 35a: No. 2, L'istesso Tempo

12. Three Hungarian Folk Songs Form Csik, Sz. 35a: No. 3, Poco Vivo

13. Sonatina, Sz. 55: Bagpipers, Allegretto

14. Sonatina, Sz. 55: Bear Dance, Moderato

15. Sonatina, Sz. 55: Finale, Allegro

16. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 1, Four Old Tunes, I. Rubato

17. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 2, Four Old Tunes, Ii. Andante

18. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 3, Four Old Tunes, Iii. Poco Rubato

19. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 4, Four Old Tunes, Iv. Andante

20. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 5. Scherzo, Allegro

21. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 6, Ballad, Andante

22. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 7. Old Dance Tunes, Allegro

23. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 8, Old Dance Tunes, Allegretto

24. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 9, Old Dance Tunes, Allegretto

25. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 10, Old Dance Tunes, L'istesso Tempo

26. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 11, Old Dance Tunes, Assai Moderato

27. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 12, Old Dance Tunes, Allegretto

28. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 13, Old Dance Tunes, Poco Piu

29. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 14, Old Dance Tunes, Allegro

30. Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 71: No. 15, Old Dance Tunes, Allegro

31. Ten Easy Pieces, Sz. 39: Evening In The Country

32. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 42: No. 1, Children At Play, Allegro

33. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 43: No. 2, Children's Song, Andante

34. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 44: No. 3, Quasi Adagio

35. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 45: No. 4, Pillow Dance, Allegro

36. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 46: No. 5, Play, Allegretto

37. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 47: No. 6, Study For The Left Hand, Allegro

38. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 48: No. 7, Play Song, Andante Grazioso

39. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 49: No. 8, Children's Game, Allegretto; Adagio; Allegretto

40. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 50: No. 9, Song, Adagio

41. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 51: No. 10, Children's Dance, Allegro Molto

42. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 52: No. 11, Lento

43. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 53: No. 12, Allegro

44. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 54: No. 13, Ballad, Andante

45. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 55: No. 14, Allegretto

46. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 56: No. 15, Allegro Moderato

47. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 57: No. 16, Old Hungarian Tune, Andante Rubato

48. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 58: No. 17, Round Dance, Lento

49. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 59: No. 18, Soldier's Song, Andante Non Troppo

50. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 60: No. 19, Allegretto

51. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 61: No. 20, Drinking Song, Allegro

52. For Children, Volume 1, Based On Hungarian Folk Tunes, Sz. 62: No. 21, Allegro Robusto

Disc 2

1. Piano Sonata In B-Flat Major, D. 960 Op. Posth.: I. Molto Moderato

2. Piano Sonata In B-Flat Major, D. 960 Op. Posth.: II. Andante Sostenuto

3. Piano Sonata In B-Flat Major, D. 960 Op. Posth.: III. Scherzo

4. Piano Sonata In B-Flat Major, D. 960 Op. Posth.: IV. Allegro, Ma Non Troppo

5. Fantasy In C Major, D. 760, Op. 15 "Wanderer": I. Allegro Con Fuoco Ma Non Troppo

6. Fantasy In C Major, D. 760, Op. 15 "Wanderer": II. Adagio

7. Fantasy In C Major, D. 760, Op. 15 "Wanderer": III. Presto

8. Fantasy In C Major, D. 760, Op. 15 "Wanderer": IV. Allegro

Disc 3

1. Piano Sonata No. 16 In A Minor, D. 845, Op. 42: I. Moderato

2. Piano Sonata No. 16 In A Minor, D. 845, Op. 42: II. Andante Poco Mosso

3. Piano Sonata No. 16 In A Minor, D. 845, Op. 42: III. Scherzo: Allegro Vivace

4. Piano Sonata No. 16 In A Minor, D. 845, Op. 42: IV. Rondo: Allegro Vivace

5. Piano Sonata No. 13 In A Major, D. 664, Op. 120: I. Allegro Moderato

6. Piano Sonata No. 13 In A Major, D. 664, Op. 120: II. Andante

7. Piano Sonata No. 13 In A Major, D. 664, Op. 120: III. Allegro

Disc 4

1. Impromptus, D. 899, Op. 90: No. 1 In C Minor: Allegro Molto Moderato

2. Impromptus, D. 899, Op. 90: No. 2 In E-Flat Major: Allegro

3. Impromptus, D. 899, Op. 90: No. 3 In G Flat Major: Andante

4. Impromptus, D. 899, Op. 90: No. 4 In A-Flat Major: Allegretto

5. Impromptus, D. 935, Op. 142: No. 1 In F Minor: Allegro Moderato

6. Impromptus, D. 935, Op. 142: No. 2 In A-Flat Major: Allegretto

7. Impromptus, D. 935, Op. 142: No. 3 In B-Flat Major: Andante With Variations

8. Impromptus, D. 935, Op. 142: No. 4 In F Minor: Allegro Scherzando

Disc 5

1. Fantasia In D Minor, K. 397

2. Fantasy In C Major, Hob. XVII:4

3. Chromatic Fantasy And Fugue, BWV 903

x

Track List: Mozart: The Complete Piano Sonatas

Disc 1

1. Sonata No. 1 In C Major For Piano, K. 279: I. Allegro

2. Sonata No. 1 In C Major For Piano, K. 279: II. Andante

3. Sonata No. 1 In C Major For Piano, K. 279: III. Allegro

4. Sonata No. 2 In F Major For Piano, K. 280: I. Allegro Assai

5. Sonata No. 2 In F Major For Piano, K. 280: II. Adagio

6. Sonata No. 2 In F Major For Piano, K. 280: III. Presto

7. Sonata No. 3 In B-Flat Major For Piano, K. 281: I. Allegro

8. Sonata No. 3 In B-Flat Major For Piano, K. 281: II. Andante Amoroso

9. Sonata No. 3 In B-Flat Major For Piano, K. 281: III. Rondeau - Allegro

10. Sonata No. 4 In E-Flat Major For Piano, K. 282: I. Adagio

11. Sonata No. 4 In E-Flat Major For Piano, K. 282: II. Menuetto I - Menuetto II

12. Sonata No. 4 In E-Flat Major For Piano, K. 282: III. Allegro

13. Sonata No. 5 In G Major For Piano, K. 283: I. Allegro

14. Sonata No. 5 In G Major For Piano, K. 283: II. Andante

15. Sonata No. 5 In G Major For Piano, K. 283: III. Presto

Disc 2

1. Sonata No. 6 In D Major For Piano, K. 284 "Durnitz-Sonate": I. Allegro

2. Sonata No. 6 In D Major For Piano, K. 284 "Durnitz-Sonate": II. Rondeau En Polonaise - Andante

3. Sonata No. 6 In D Major For Piano, K. 284 "Durnitz-Sonate": III. Thema Und 12 Variationen

4. Sonata No. 7 In C Major For Piano, K. 309: I. Allegro Con Spirito

5. Sonata No. 7 In C Major For Piano, K. 309: II. Andante Un Poco Adagio

6. Sonata No. 7 In C Major For Piano, K. 309: III. Rondeau - Allegretto Grazioso

7. Sonata No. 8 In A Minor For Piano, K. 310: I. Allegro Maestoso

8. Sonata No. 8 In A Minor For Piano, K. 310: II. Andante Cantabile Con Espressione

9. Sonata No. 8 In A Minor For Piano, K. 310: III. Presto

10. Sonata No. 9 In D Major For Piano, K. 311: I. Allegro Con Spirito

11. Sonata No. 9 In D Major For Piano, K. 311: II. Andante Con Espressione

12. Sonata No. 9 In D Major For Piano, K. 311: III. Rondeau - Allegro

Disc 3

1. Sonata No. 10 In C Major For Piano, K. 330: I. Allegro Moderato

2. Sonata No. 10 In C Major For Piano, K. 330: II. Andante Cantabile

3. Sonata No. 10 In C Major For Piano, K. 330: III. Allegretto

4. Sonata No. 11 In A Major For Piano, K. 331: I. Tema - Andante Grazioso

5. Sonata No. 11 In A Major For Piano, K. 331: II - Menuetto - Trio

6. Sonata No. 11 In A Major For Piano, K. 331: III - (Rondo) Alla Turca - Allegretto

7. Sonata No. 12 In F Major For Piano, K. 332: I. Allegro

8. Sonata No. 12 In F Major For Piano, K. 332: II. Adagio

9. Sonata No. 12 In F Major For Piano, K. 332: III. Allegro Assai

11. Sonata No. 18 In D Major For Piano, K. 576: I. Allegro

12. Sonata No. 18 In D Major For Piano, K. 576: II. Adagio

13. Sonata No. 18 In D Major For Piano, K. 576: III. Allegretto

Disc 4

1. Sonata No. 13 In B-Flat Major For Piano, K. 333: I. [Allegro]

2. Sonata No. 13 In B-Flat Major For Piano, K. 333: II. [Andante Cantabile]

3. Sonata No. 13 In B-Flat Major For Piano, K. 333: III. [Allegretto Grazioso]

5. Sonata No. 14 In C Minor For Piano, K. 457: I. Allegro

6. Sonata No. 14 In C Minor For Piano, K. 457: II. Adagio

7. Sonata No. 14 In C Minor For Piano, K. 457: III. Molto Allegro

8. Sonata No. 16 In C Major For Piano, K. 545: I. Allegro

9. Sonata No. 16 In C Major For Piano, K. 545: II. Andante

10. Sonata No. 16 In C Major For Piano, K. 545: III. Rondo - Allegretto

11. Sonata No. 17 In B-Flat Major For Piano, K. 570: I. Allegro

12. Sonata No. 17 In B-Flat Major For Piano, K. 570: II. Adagio

13. Sonata No. 17 In B-Flat Major For Piano, K. 570: III. Allegretto

x

Track List: Schubert: Masterpieces for Solo Piano, Vol. 2

Disc 1

1. Impromptus, Op. 90, No. 1 in C Minor, Allegro molto moderato

2. Impromptus, Op. 90, No. 2 in E Flat Major, Allegro

3. Impromptus, Op. 90, No. 3 in G Flat Major, Andante

4. Impromptus, Op. 90, No. 4 in A Flat Major, Allegretto

5. Impromptus, Op. 142, No. 1 in F Minor, Allegro moderato

6. Impromptus, Op. 142, No. 2 in A Flat Major, Allegretto

7. Impromptus, Op. 142, No. 3 in B Flat Major, Andante with Variations

8. Impromptus, Op. 142, No. 4 in F Minor, Allegro scherzando

Disc 2

1. Sonata in A Minor, Op. 42, D. 845, I. Moderato

2. Sonata in A Minor, Op. 42, D. 845, II. Andante poco mosso

3. Sonata in A Minor, Op. 42, D. 845, III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace

4. Sonata in A Minor, Op. 42, D. 845, IV. Rondo: Allegro vivace

5. Sonata in A Major, Op. 120, D. 664, I. Allegro moderato

6. Sonata in A Major, Op. 120, D. 664, II. Andante

7. Sonata in A Major, Op. 120, D. 664, III. Allegro

Comments

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Impeccable technique, with perfect Mozart style.

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