Originally recorded in London by Saga Records in March 1958,
The distinguished Soviet pianist Lazar Berman ignited international attention with his 1975 tour of America. Yet he had in fact made his British debut seventeen years earlier, in 1958, at the invitation of the small independent record label, Saga Records. Saga arranged for him to give a recital at the Recital Room of the Royal Festival Hall, London, which took place on March 23 1958, with Berman playing a programme of music by Beethoven, Liszt and Prokofiev. Shortly afterwards Berman entered the Saga studios and recorded his explosive interpretations of the Beethoven Appassionata and the Liszt Piano Sonatas, the two main works in his recital programme. These recordings were issued on Saga XID 5019 around September 1958. The recording of the Appassionata was probably recycled in a Beethoven recital disc issued by one of Saga's subsidiary labels, Classics Club, in July 1962 under the pseudonym Hans Schumacher. Following Berman's rapid rise to fame in 1975 Saga reissued the original LP in May 1976.