Monday, September 07, 2015

Discovering the music of Moritz Moszkowski

I found a recording on YouTube of another youthful romantic piano concerto and near masterpiece.  This is the Piano Concerto #1 in B Minor, Op. 3, of Moritz Moszkowski, completed by age 20 in 1974,

Moszkowski was born in Germany but some of his piano style resembles Russian composers sometimes, as well as Chopin, and even some Spanish style. 

The concerto was said to be unpublished, but seems to have been published in France, here.
The work is one of the longest piano concerti (excerpt for Furtwangler’s), running 51 minutes, and comprising four connected movements. Structurally, it perhaps resembles D’Albert’s youthful masterpiece (1884) but is not as harmonically daring and is somewhat loosely constructed.

The opening has a majestic orchestral introduction in ¾ time with an odd effect, before introducing the piano. Up to this point, the effect is a little but like that of the Brahms Piano Concerto #1.  The development begins but seems abbreviated, as at the 10-minute mark, the work moves to a romantic adagio, with soaring melodies.

A scherzo follows, leading to a 20-minute finale, a rondo-Sonata which will recap all of the material before.  Before the coda the Concerto has its one big cadenza. The Coda starts with a flowing theme, which, rather than becoming majestic, turns into wild dance with a Russian character, perhaps Balakirev.  Still, the themes sound familiar, as if Hollywood had pirated them before for movie scores without attribution.  The final conclusion is very bombastic.

The performance occurred at the National Philharmonic of Warsaw Rzeszow Philharmonic Vladimir Kiradijev, pianist Ludmil Angelov .  The comments on YouTube say there will be a professional recording for sale (CD or MP3) soon, at least by 2016.

I also found a recording of Caprice Espagnol in  A Minor, Op. 37, played by Balazs Szokalay, about six minutes.  I used to play this when I was a senior in high school, but I could not play it at this furious tempo (especially the repeated notes).  There is a middle section in F, and then a return with a race to a brilliant conclusion in A Major.


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