Hyperion Records

Triakontameron
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The work’s title, Triakontameron (‘Thirty moods and scenes in triple measure’), was inspired by Boccaccio’s Decameron, a collection of stories by the fourteenth-century Italian writer, the conceit of which is that over a period of ten days, ten people tell one hundred stories to each other. Godowsky’s thirty pieces took longer to write than thirty days, though twenty of them were composed in Seattle in twenty days, the remainder shortly afterwards in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. The first, Sylvan Tyrol (No 2), was composed on 7 August 1919, the last, Rendezvous (No 4), on 5 February 1920. The complete Triakontameron was published by Schirmer in May that year.

These are picturesquely entitled miniatures of epigrammatic conciseness inspired by a variety of moods, places and experiences. Binding the whole set together with marvellous subtlety is the waltz rhythm. Many of the pieces reflect his adopted country—The Enchanted Glen, Whitecaps, American Idyl [sic], Little Tango Rag, and Requiem (1914–18), which climaxes in ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’—but a considerable number look back to the past. Mr Hamelin has chosen five for their particularly effective Viennese flavour: No 4, Rendezvous; No 13, the lively Terpsichorean Vindobona (‘Vindobona’ being the Latin name for the city); No 21, The Salon; No 25, Memories; and the most famous piece of the set—the most popular of Godowsky’s entire output—No 11, Alt Wien (‘Old Vienna’). These are haunting evocations of the vanished city of Gungl, Lanner and the Strausses. Retaining its maudlin subtitle (‘Whose Yesterdays look backwards with a Smile through Tears’), Alt Wien was reissued in 1933 with a number of small, subtle embellishments. It is this revised version that is heard here.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2008

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67275 track 12
No 11: Alt Wien
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-01-27512
Duration
2'30
Recording date
4 February 2001
Recording venue
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Kaleidoscope (CDA67275)
    Disc 1 Track 12
    Release date: October 2001
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