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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Moritz Moszkowski, Complete Music for Solo Piano, Volume Two


September 11, 2014 was when I last covered something of note by German-Jewish Polish descended composer Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925) on these pages. Today I have the pleasure of writing about a new release, the Complete Music for Solo Piano, Volume Two (Toccata Classics TOCC 0660). Doing the honors on piano is Ian Hobson, and he seems fully in the elements of the music for flow and melodic thrust.

This volume concentrates on some three multi-movement works from 1877 and 1878, namely the "Sechs Stucke" of 1877, the "Drei Clavierstucke in Tantzform" of 1878, and the "Funf Clavierstucke" of 1878.

What sets this music up for us and in the end gives us a kind of endless banquet of musical treats is the continual motion of the music in dance form and further extensions beyond it, so that the perpetual motion suggests a connection to Chopin yet continually takes it further into a personally expressive mode with exceptional inventive brilliance.

As the liners tell us, Moszkowski in his day was almost entirely known for his "Spanish Dances" for piano duet, then his solo piano "Serenata" which opens this volume as the first part of the "Sechs Stucke," op 15. That is a nice way to begin, relatively simple and lyrical. The program then goes on from strength-to-strength, with interpretations that heighten the beauty of the various pieces, plus give us pause to appreciate the charm and winning warmth of it all. 

There is no substitute for the direct appreciation of these works by repeated listens. It rewards you with a singing sort of contentment that affirms his continual freshness if we listen without an idea of what we will hear. I do recommend this one heartily. Get it and enjoy the ride!

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