Sidney Foster - Rediscovering an American Master
Sidney Foster, 1917-1977, was undoubtedly one of the greatest pianists of his time, but he is all but unknown today, and made almost no commercial recordings. In 1993, the International Piano Archives at the University of Maryland issued a two-CD set of Foster performances taken from live concerts. This year Marston is celebrating Foster’s centenary by issuing a seven-CD set of solo and concerto performances from live concerts, never before issued. Foster’s breath-taking virtuosity, the volcanic intensity he was capable of unleashing, and his beautiful sound, are immediately apparent, but it is his gift of supreme music-making that places him solidly in the top rank of twentieth century pianists. A line from Harold C. Schonberg’s review for the New York Times of an October 1963 Carnegie Hall Recital offers valuable insight into Foster’s artistry: “He is everything the connoisseurs claim he is: an interesting original pianist, the master of tonal shading, and an artist.” In 1938 Foster won the MacDowell Competition and in 1940 the first Edgar M. Leventritt Prize. His Leventritt award led to his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1941, playing Beethoven’s C Minor Concerto under John Barbirolli, for which Foster composed his own first movement cadenza for the performance. Fortunately, this performance was recorded off the air and we are pleased to be able to include it in our compilation. From 1952 until his death, Sidney Foster was a tenured professor at Indiana University. This seven-CD set contains carefully chosen performances recorded during this time, from 1952 to 1973.