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CD Moszkowski Classical Piano Music

Description Moszkowski: Brahms: Hungarian Dances Book I Transcribed for solo piano by Moszkowski Moszkowski: Vingt Petites Etudes Pour Piano, Op. 91 "I can play billiards, chess, dominoes and violin," Moritz Moszkowski once boasted in a letter to a friend, then added that he could imitate canary birds. Although he often played first violin in ensembles and even wrote a Violin Concerto, Moszkowski was more famous for his enormous success as a concert pianist, conductor, distinguished teacher, and composer whose appealing piano music was found a century ago in nearly every parlor. This man of many accomplishments was born in East Prussia in 1854 and received his first music lessons at home. He went on to attend three of Germany's finest music schools. At the Dresden Conservatory, he created his first compositions. When the family moved to Berlin in 1869, he studied in turn at the Stern Conservatory and at Germany's largest private institution for music education, the Kullak Academy. Founded by one of Czerny's pupils, the Academy specialized in piano instruction and Moszkowski later served on the faculty for many years. Moszkowski's impressive debut as a pianist in 1873 in Berlin was followed by the first in a long succession of triumphant European concert tours. At the peak of his celebrity, he left Berlin in 1897 to settle permanently in Paris with his wife, the sister of French composer-pianist Cecile Chaminade, and their two children. He remained active as performer and composer and was a much sought-after teacher. He counted among his pupils Wanda Landowska, Josef Hofmann, Joaquin Nin, and Joaquin Turina and coached the young Thomas Beecham in orchestration. In contrast to the great successes scored in his prime, tragedy beset Moszkowski's later life. In the years before World War I, he suffered ill health and the loss of his wife and daughter. When his style of composing and playing became overshadowed by the likes of Debussy, Schoenberg and Stravinsky, he became a recluse. Then, came the crushing blow. A diversified portfolio being a thing of the future, Moszkowski had earlier sold the copyrights of his music for a sizeable sum and invested his entire fortune in German, Polish and Russian bonds--all of which became worthless with the outbreak of war. Though he composed several symphonic works, an opera and a ballet, Moszkowski was celebrated for his audience-pleasing piano works--etudes, morceaux, dances--first-class salon music of great grace and charm that was effective, exciting and entertaining. Many pieces bear witness to his own prodigious technique at the keyboard. His music was much in vogue in its day with both amateurs and professionals, for it fit perfectly under the hand. Indeed, Paderewski once stated that after Chopin, Moszkowski best understood how to compose for the piano. Such luminaries as Horowitz, Rachmaninoff and Bolet regularly included Moszkowski's music in their repertoire. Moszkowski produced several sets of etudes, the most familiar being the fifteen Virtuosic Etudes of Op. 72. An interesting volume is Op. 92, twelve studies for left-hand alone. Lesser known are the elegant miniatures of Op. 91, dedicated to Madame M. T. Amirian. These twenty short technical studies provide more than finger-limbering exercises. Though lacking the profundity of Chopin and Liszt, they brim with playful spirit, innocent charm and sonic poetry. Divided into two books, the first appear as Czerny-like essays, but soon the series evolves into sophisticated character pieces. --Kathy Henkel Condition New


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