Left Hand Legacy Vol.2


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The album Left Hand Legacy Vol. 2 is the latest part of the Wittgenstein Project, which aims to bring the treasures of Wittgenstein’s library to the concert stage. For far too long Paul Wittgenstein’s library was inaccessible to the world. Not before 2001 a pile of chamber music surfaced, specially composed for the pianist who commissioned Maurice Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand. These chamber music works have hardly ever been played since Wittgenstein premièred them in the 1920s and 30s.

The Dutch pianist Folke Nauta had to continue his career as a one- handed pianist, after focal dystonia affected his right hand. Paul Wittgenstein was his model and this trove of chamber music was his salvation. There was just one complicating factor: Wittgenstein’s library had become dispersed throughout the world. Nauta tracked down the original manuscripts in Austrian and English archives, still containing Wittgenstein’s furiously scribbled annotations. The quintet formation of piano, clarinet and string trio is a consistent feature of Wittgenstein’s chamber music legacy. So Nauta approached the clarinetist Lars Wouters van den Oudenweijer and Prisma String Trio. Together these five top-of-the-bill chamber musicians from the Netherlands joined forces and launched the Wittgenstein Project, with the aim of bringing the music back to life and telling Wittgenstein’s extraordinary tale of misery, struggle and artistic triumph.

The album Left Hand Legacy Vol.1 showcases the diverse vocabulary of Wittgenstein’s circle of composer friends Franz Schmidt, Josef Labor, Hans Gál and Ernest Walker. This album Left Hand Legacy Vol.2 plumbs the emotional depths, with Franz Schmidt’s brooding Quintet in B flat major and the sublime combination of clarinet, viola and piano left hand in Josef Labor’s Trio in G minor.

Tragically and unexpectedly, the second album is destined to be the last one to feature Folke Nauta, who passed away suddenly in de summer of 2023. This personal tragedy signifies a great loss for the music world. This album features the very last recordings Folke Nauta ever made.


Quintet in B-flat major: I. Andante tranquillo (Franz Schmidt)
Quintet in B-flat major: II. Lento (Franz Schmidt)
Quintet in B-flat major: III. Allegro ma non trtoppo (Franz Schmidt)
Trio no.2 in G minor für klarinette, viola und klavier: I.Allegro ma non troppo (Josef Labor)
Trio no.2 in G minor für klarinette, viola und klavier: II. Quasi allegretto e grazioso (Josef Labor)
Trio no.2 in G minor für klarinette, viola und klavier: III. Adagio na non troppo (Josef Labor)
Trio no.2 in G minor für klarinette, viola und klavier: IV. Allegro (Josef Labor)

Additional information


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Recording Location

WestvestChurch, Schiedam, The Netherlands

Producer, recording engineer

Tom Peeters

Original recording format



Bruel & Kjaer 4003, Neumann modified by Rens Heijnis
Neumann KU-100 (Binaural) modified by Rens Heijnis
Sonodere MPM-81


Acoustic Revive

Press reviews

Leeuwarder Courant/Dagblad vh Noorden, maart 2024

De uitvoeringen zijn om te zoenen. Prachtig in balans en zo geïnterpreteerd dat er diepere lagen hoorbaar worden. Bij Schmidt breekt er in het slotdeel een ‘hoorbare lichtstraal’ (of beter nog: hoop) door. En uit Labor spreekt duidelijk de verwantschap aan Johannes Brahms en Robert Schumann. De musici zijn niet alleen aan elkaar gewaagd, ze lijken ook – en met succes – naar een gezamenlijk product te streven waaruit één visie spreekt. En, een verdienste van Nauta en de beide componisten: men mist de rechterhand niet.

Pizzicato, march 2024 5 out of 5

Franz Schmidt (1874-1939) composed two quintets for left-handed piano, clarinet, violin, viola, and cello. After the A major quintet, the B flat major quintet follows in this Left Hand Legacy series. It is not quite as long as its sister work, but the 40 minutes are filled with impressively communicative music, with wonderful motivic work that is not only very effective in the slow movement.

And although the piano has much to say, the clarinet remains a very important instrument, while the strings play more modest roles. In this excellent, fresh, and committed interpretation, the work is a great pleasure.

As mentioned above, special attention is given to pianist Folke Nauta, who had to continue his career as a one-handed pianist after his right hand was affected by focal dystonia.

Tragically, this second album is Nauta’s last, as the pianist died unexpectedly in the summer of 2023.

Josef Labor (1842-1924) remained true to his principle of melodic romanticism in his trio. The work inspires the three musicians, Folke Nauta on piano, clarinetist Lars Wouters van den Oudenweijer and violist Elisabeth Smalt, to a lively performance.

In addition to all the energetic accentuations, in addition to the always captivating rhythm, the three musicians also prove that Labor is a master of the most delicate, soulful expression.


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