Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925), a German pianist-composer of Polish descent, enjoyed early success in his career by writing some of the most popular piano compositions of the late 19th century, the Serenata in particular. Vignettes of the charmed life, spiced with then exotic Spanish moods, these pieces were performed by amateurs and great pianists alike, including no less than Rachmaninoff and Horowitz.
Moszkowski had trained with Theodore Kullak - himself a pupil of Czerny - at his"New Academy" in Berlin, which he later joined as a teacher while touring all over Europe as a concert pianist, conducting and composing. His playing and his manner of writing for the piano certainly contributed to ushering in the golden age of pianism; he was hailed for creating works tailor-made for the pianist's hands. They tamed the"piano machine" by fostering a natural finger facility, which in turn contributed to seemingly effortless, pleasurable playing.
By age 43, he retired to Paris and, with his wife, the sister of Cécile Chaminade, he became a beloved figure on the musical scene, offering generous assistance to any musician in need. He also left his mark as a piano pedagogue, teaching future greats such as Josef Hofmann, Joaquín Nin and Joaquín Turina.
However, gradually suffering the onslaught of illness, the demise of his loved ones, the Great War and the loss of his investments, he became a destitute recluse. Remarkably though, a benefit concert was organized on his behalf at Carnegie Hall in 1921, a spectacular multi-piano event that featured the most famous virtuosos of the era. Then, like most of the cultural artifacts that blossomed during la belle époque, his music fell into oblivion.
The celebrated harpist Alfred Holy always programmed the Serenata in his recitals and, as his scrapbooks attest, to good review. This piece, with its delightful melodies and sparkling effects, obviously could carry its appeal beyond the piano; it also exists in orchestral form. Serenata was transcribed by the Viennese harpist Edmund Schuëcker (1860-1911), a student of Antonio Zamara. Like his younger colleague Holy, he was always on the go, traveling from one orchestral appointment to the next: from Amsterdam to Hamburg, to Dresden, to Leipzig, then joining the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1891, then back to Vienna, on to Pittsburgh, with special trips to London (Covent Garden). Next he was to be found in Philadelphia, then at the Met in New York. No wonder he suffered a complete breakdown of his health and died upon his return to Europe.
Schuëcker wrote many etudes and character pieces that document his tireless quest for an idiomatic harp technique, which he then adapted to his fine orchestral studies and transcriptions of classical repertoire.
There exists a recording of the Serenata made by Ignaz Friedman in 1929 on the reproducing piano (an advanced digital system called the Duo-Art) for the Aeolian Company in London. It can now be heard on the Nimbus CD NI 8802, The Polish Virtuoso (in the Grand Piano Series).
Nothing has been altered in this new edition; the music was processed by Françoise Bourret.
|Title:||Serenata, Opus 15|
||Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925)|
|Arranger:||Transcribed for harp by Edmund Schuëcker|
|Format:||Harp Part stapled|
|Size:||11" x 8.5" (US Letter)|
|Publisher:||Editions Harpiana Publications|