Moszkowski, Maurice

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Moszkowski, Maurice

Piano Concerto in E major Op. 59 (Piano Reduction for 2 pianos, 2 copies)

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Moszkowski, Maurice

Piano Concerto in E major Op. 59 (Piano Reduction for 2 pianos, 2 copies)

Preface to the full score:

Born into a Jewish family in what was then Prussia, Moritz Moskowski lived most of his adult life in Berlin and Paris. He entered the Leipzig Conservatory at the age of 10 and became a professor of piano at 17 – a considerable achievement that testifies to his prodigious talent as one of the great pianists. It did not last, though, for his health failed during his thirties, forcing him to abandon playing in public. Nevertheless, he remained a respected conductor, a regular at the Royal Philharmonic Society in London. He was also a noted piano teacher, whose pupils included Josef Hofmann, Wanda Landowska, Vlado Perlmuter and Thomas Beecham.

He is (perhaps unfairly) remembered today mainly as the composer of piano pieces for the ‘salon’ market. In the days when most middle-class homes had a piano, Moskowski was one of those who supplied original music of moderate difficulty (his sister-in-law, Cécile Chaminade, was another). It is sad that we come across Moskowski’s works today most often amongst piles of old piano music in thrift shops, for he had a true melodic gift, an understanding of contrapuntal writing, and a flair for orchestration. Apart from some 200 accomplished piano works, Moszkowski also wrote opera (Boabdil der letzte Maurenkönig, produced in Berlin, Prague and New York in 1892-3) [See MPH score 863]; a ballet Laurin (1896); several orchestral suites; a tone-poem Jeanne d’Arc; a Violin Concerto (1882) and two Piano Concertos (1875 & 1898).

The concerto in this study score is the second (although it is not called that) and dates from 1898. It is dedicated to Josef Hofmann, a pupil of Moszkowski who was to become one of the all-time great pianists. The key of E major is slightly unusual for a piano concerto, as are four movements instead of three. There can be no doubt from the outset that the concerto inhabits a similar cultural world to those of Saint-Saens, Glazunov, Tchaikovsky and even the older Chopin. The composer’s verdict on it was given in a letter to an enquirer who wanted to see a copy: “I should be happy to send you my piano concerto but for two reasons: first, it is worthless; second, it is most convenient (the score being 400 pages long) for making my piano stool higher when I am engaged in studying better works.”
But the concerto was played regularly before WW1, although it went into decline along with most of Moszkowski’s music after the war. The composer himself had become a recluse having made some very poor financial decisions, selling all his copyrights and investing in German, Polish and Russian securities, all of which were now worthless. By 1924 he was ill and a group of friends organised a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall at which 14 pianists appeared on stage together at 14 pianos! They included Percy Grainger, Wilhelm Backhaus, Elly Ney, Joseph Lhevinne and Ossip Gabrilowitsch, and the event raised more than $13,000 ($175,000 today). But Moszkowski had an inoperable stomach cancer and died just a few months later.

Phillip Brookes, 2014

Performance materials:Peters, Frankfurt. Reprint from the collection of Phillip Brookes, Roxas City.

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Deutsches Vorwort zur Partitur lesen > HERE

Score No.

1573b

Special Edition

The Phillip Brookes Collection

Genre

Keyboard & Orchestra

Size

225 x 320 mm

Specifics

Piano Reduction & Solo Piano, 2 copies

Printing

Reprint

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