Hyperion Records

Die letzte Walzer
composer
first performed in Berlin on 12 February 1920
composer
before 1925; 'idealized version' of the main theme from the opera; unpublished

Recordings
'Godowsky: Strauss transcriptions & other waltzes' (CDA67626)
Godowsky: Strauss transcriptions & other waltzes
Details
Theme: Waltz

Die letzte Walzer
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Sometime prior to 1925, Godowsky made an Ampico piano roll of his arrangement of The Last Waltz by Oscar Straus (1870– 1954), the Vienna-born composer (whose real name was ‘Strauss’—he cut off the second ‘s’ to avoid confusion with other musical Strausses to whom he was not related). The eponymous Waltz is heard throughout the 1920 operetta, but most notably at the end of Act I when Dimitri and Vera dance at the party of General Karsinski.

The music of Godowsky’s transcription was never published for some reason, for it is an appealing (as well as straightforward and technically accessible) arrangement. In the early 1970s, Gilles Hamelin, the pianophile father of Marc-André, notated, arranged and edited The Last Waltz from Godowsky’s piano roll. This was published in 1975 in The Audubon Series by Musical Scope Publishers, New York. Shortly afterwards, a copy of the negative of Godowsky’s manuscript was sent to Gilles Hamelin. It was all but illegible, so Hamelin Snr. made a fair copy in his own hand which in almost every respect tallied with the version he had transcribed from the piano roll.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2008

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