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Piano Concerto in E major, Op 59
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But of all the melodious and elegant works of Moritz Moszkowski it is his Piano Concerto in E, Op 59, that most strongly begs for revival. It is not a short work and it is not an easy work for the soloist, but its grateful pianistic writing, its memorable themes and its sunny optimism make its present neglect quite incomprehensible. No one could pretend that it is deep music, but if, as one writer put it, ‘it fails to stir the intellect, it sets the pulses tingling’. Were it to be given at a major music festival in place of the usual fare it would bring the house down; given a televised performance, it would re-establish itself as one of the most popular concertos in the repertoire— a status which it enjoyed for many years before the First World War, especially in Germany and the UK (the composer himself was the soloist in its British premiere at a Philharmonic Concert on 12 May 1898).

The Concerto is dedicated ‘à Monsieur Josef Casimir Hofmann’—a singular tribute to a 22-year-old—who had studied briefly with Moszkowski in his teens. It is one of the very few written in the key of E major. (The only others that spring to mind are those by Rubinstein (No 1), Liapunov (No 2), Tchaikovsky (No 3), and Marx (‘Romantic’ Concerto). It was also virtually the last large-scale work that Moszkowski attempted. Ten years after its composition he was, at the age of 54, already a recluse, constantly ill. He had lost his wife and daughter, his son had been summoned to serve in the French army, and he was, as one friend described him, ‘no longer buoyed by ambition’. He sold all the copyrights of his music and invested the enormous capital in German, Polish and Russian bonds. With the advent of the First World War he lost everything and lingered on till 1925, too sick in body and mind to do anything, dying of stomach cancer in Paris, a pauper.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 1991

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Details for CDA66452 track 1
Moderato
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-91-45201
Duration
13'04
Recording date
4 June 1991
Recording venue
City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Moszkowski & Paderewski: Piano Concertos (CDA66452)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: October 1991
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