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The Complete Leopold Godowsky Vol. 3

Godowsky
Release Date: 02/12/2007 
Label:  Marston   Catalog #: 53008  
Composer:  Frédéric ChopinCarl TausigSergei RachmaninovChristian Sinding,   ... 
Performer:  Leopold GodowskyDavid SapertonVictor SchiolerWilhelm Backhaus,   ... 
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mono 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The most important of the three Godowsky volumes issued by Marston.

This is the final volume in Marston’s edition devoted to the art on record of that most puzzling of great pianists, Leopold Godowsky. As before presentation is all one could wish for – the biographical essay and musical analyses, the discographical information and most importantly the transfers which capture the recording studio ambience and Godowsky’s tone very well indeed. Added to this the exceptionally well reproduced photographs and you have, once again, a class act, one that treats its material with respect.

The first block of recordings is the electric Brunswicks. They frequently revisited previous performances and offered remakes
Read more in better sound. And as so often during the course of this titan’s studio career the results vary alarmingly. His Rubinstein Melody in F (September 1926) is elegant and pleasing whilst his Chopin Waltz in C sharp minor, recorded the same day, is rather cursory and stand offish. Move forward four days and we find his Tchaikovsky Barcarole (June) is poetically inflected though a further three days later and his Chopin Etudes are less persuasive. One of the high peaks of his recording career lay in the two Schubert transcriptions, which have such delicious colouration, such moving delicacy (and highly elastic rubato) that they silence all doubters. The sheer poetry of the playing must come somewhere near the kind of performances that Godowsky gave privately and which all his confreres noted.

It wasn’t until relatively late in his recording career that he tackled large-scale works. These major statements were made in London for English Columbia. Schumann’s Carnaval is an impressive though occasionally serious-stolid performance, vitiated by a little rhythmic uncertainty early on. Godowsky takes the Chopin movement in a very unsentimental, cool, way and this is pretty much a touchstone of the performance as a whole; not objectified, not detached but slightly remote nevertheless despite the powerful final March. The Grieg Ballade on the other hand is one of the most complete statements ever made on it on disc. As with Andsnes’s recent recording of it – from which it differs quite considerably - the work takes on considerable stature when played with as much intellectual and colouristic control as here; and here I disagree with the sleeve note writer on the implicit status of the music. I don’t find it bombastic at all.

After the heights of the Grieg we find that the Beethoven E flat sonata, the Farewell, fares less well. It’s non-committal in the way that so many of Godowsky’s recorded performances of the central repertoire are apt to be, and seldom really demonstrates a definite affinity. The selection of Chopin Nocturnes however has moments of veiled beauty. The middle section of Op 15 No.2 in F sharp is especially beguiling and is spun with superb refinement. Then there’s the evocative and beautifully voiced C sharp minor Op.27 No.1, perhaps his finest recording of a Nocturne on disc. The B flat minor Sonata receives a characterful, digitally superior reading though Godowsky’s rubati in the Scherzo – like a coracle on a choppy river - are certainly extreme and a rare example of mannerism in his performances.

Talking of Chopin we have a rare survival from his final session, the one during which he suffered the stroke that effectively ended his public career. It’s the Fourth Scherzo, in E, and it is truly an amazing performance, one that should be heard by all who have an interest in Godowsky’s art. The first side is taken from a dub – and it’s in relatively poor shape – whilst the second is taken from the test pressing itself and is much better. Don’t give up when you first start because this is a titanic performance, full of drive, verve and tensile commitment. It must be close at least to the way Godowsky was heard in private, when his performances were said to be so extraordinary, freed of the shackles of studio or concert hall expectation. In addition to this there is a private recording from 1935 (it’s almost certain that it’s Godowsky playing) of a movement from the Java Suite. And as if that isn’t enough to whet your appetite there are three alternative takes and a selection of Godowsky compositions recorded during his lifetime – with one exception – by Saperton, Schiøler, Backhaus, Pouishnoff, Cherkassky, Gilels and Isabelle Yalkovsky. The exception is Saperton whose two Chopin-Godowsky Studies derive from an unissued 1940 Victor disc.

In many ways this is the most important of the three Godowsky volumes issued by Marston. All the big works that he recorded are here, in fine sound; the tremendous Scherzo rarity and the private Java suite extract as well. In all, though, this comprehensive salute to Godowsky has been realised with tremendous care and remarkable dedication.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Polonaise for Piano in A flat major, B 147/Op. 53 "Heroic" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 10/2/1925 
2. Schubert Transcriptions (3) for Piano: no 3, Marche militaire by Carl Tausig
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century 
Date of Recording: 10/7/1925 
3. Morceaux de fantaisies (5), Op. 3: no 2, Prélude in C sharp minor by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Russia 
Date of Recording: 9/1926 
4. Pieces (6) for Piano, Op. 32: no 3, Rustles of spring by Christian Sinding
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Germany 
Date of Recording: 9/3/1926 
5. Pas de écharpes, Op. 37 "Scarf Dance" by Cécile Louise Chaminade
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 9/3/1926 
6. La lisonjera, Op. 50 by Cécile Louise Chaminade
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by c1890; France 
Date of Recording: 9/3/1926 
7. Fantasiestücke (2), Op. 17: no 2, Hexentanz by Edward MacDowell
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Germany 
Date of Recording: 9/3/1926 
8. Melodies (2) for Piano, Op. 3: no 1 in F major by Anton Rubinstein
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852; Russia 
Date of Recording: 9/3/1926 
9. Waltzes (3) for Piano, B 164/Op. 64: no 2 in C sharp minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1847; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 9/3/1926 
10. Rondo capriccioso for Piano in E major, Op. 14 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Germany 
Date of Recording: 9/4/1926 
11. Paraphrase on Quartet from Verdi's "Rigoletto", S 434 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 3/4/1926 
12. Les saisons, Op. 37b: no 6, Juin "Barcarolle" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 9/7/1926 
13. Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 10: no 5 in G flat major "Black Keys" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Poland 
Date of Recording: 9/10/1926 
14. Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 25: no 9 in G flat major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832-1834; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 9/10/1926 
15. Schubert Song Transcriptions (12) for Piano: Morgengruss by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; USA 
Date of Recording: 9/11/1926 
16. Schubert Song Transcriptions (12) for Piano: Gute Nacht by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; USA 
Date of Recording: 9/11/1926 
17. Carnaval, Op. 9 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833-1835; Germany 
Date of Recording: 5/1929 
18. Nocturnes (3) for Piano, B 54/Op. 9: no 1 in B flat minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Poland 
Date of Recording: 6/23/1928 
19. Nocturnes (3) for Piano, B 54/Op. 9: no 2 in E flat major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Poland 
Date of Recording: 6/23/1928 
20. Nocturnes (3) for Piano, Op. 15: no 1 in F major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Poland 
Date of Recording: 6/23/1928 
21. Nocturnes (3) for Piano, Op. 15: no 2 in F sharp major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Poland 
Date of Recording: 6/23/1928 
22. Nocturnes (2) for Piano, Op. 27 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 6/128 
23. Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 106/Op. 32: no 1 in B major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1837; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 6/23/1928 
24. Nocturnes (2) for Piano, Op. 37 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838-1849; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 6/1928 
25. Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 142/Op. 48: no 2 in F sharp minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 6/22/1928 
26. Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 152/Op. 55: no 1 in F minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 6/23/1928 
27. Nocturne for Piano in E minor, B 19/Op. 72 no 1 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Poland 
Date of Recording: 6/23/1928 
28. Sonata for Piano no 2 in B flat minor, B 128/Op. 35 "Funeral March" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1839; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 4/25/1930 
29. Ballade for Piano in G minor, Op. 24 by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875-1876; Norway 
Date of Recording: 5/27/1929 
30. Sonata for Piano no 26 in E flat major, Op. 81a "Les Adieux" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809-1810; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 5/31/1929 
31. Scherzo for Piano no 4 in E major, B 148/Op. 54 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 6/17/1930 
32. Java Suite: Gardens of Buitenzorg by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1924-1925; USA 
Date of Recording: c1935 
33. Schubert Song Transcriptions (12) for Piano: Morgengruss by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; USA 
Date of Recording: 9/11/1926 
34. Berceuse for Piano in D flat major, B 154/Op. 57 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 4/10/1913 
35. Studies (53) on Chopin Etudes: no 15 in G flat major (after Op. 10 no 7) by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  David Saperton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1914; Berlin, Germany 
Date of Recording: 6/23/1940 
36. Studies (53) on Chopin Etudes: no 47 in G flat major (after Op. 10 no 5) "Badinage" by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  David Saperton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1914; Berlin, Germany 
Date of Recording: 6/23/1940 
37. Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 25: no 9 in G flat major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Victor Schioler (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832-1834; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1929 
38. Studies (53) on Chopin Etudes: no 39 by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Victor Schioler (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1914; Berlin, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1929 
39. Hojas de album (6), Op. 165 "España": no 2, Tango by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; London, England 
Date of Recording: 6/1928 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Godowsky  
40. Moments musicaux (6) for Piano, D 780/Op. 94: no 3 in F minor by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Leff Pouishnoff (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823-1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1927 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Godowsky  
41. Pieces (3) for Piano after Rameau: Tambourin in E minor by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 6/26/1925 
42. Transcription of Loeillet's "Gigue" by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Emil Gilels (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 1935 
43. Triakontameron: no 11, Alt Wien by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Isabelle Yalkovsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1920; USA 
Date of Recording: 1929 

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