Notes and Editorial Reviews
In the realm of miniatures and transcriptions, Leopold Godowsky's genius for concocting elaborate and fustian piano textures truly flowered, much as a brilliant interior decorator can transform a humble bedroom into a veritable boudoir. Not all decorators make good architects, however, and Godowsky's sprawling five-movement Piano Sonata is a case in point. The huge outer movements contain gorgeous passages laced with purple harmonies and clever polyphony but offer little in the way of memorable motives that lend themselves to being developed and transformed enough to sustain our interest.
Nevertheless, Konstantin Scherbakov manages to throw his considerable dexterity and feeling for Godowsky's keyboard idiom into this music at
full force. Note his caressing rubatos in the Andante Cantabile, the excitement and sense of ongoing momentum he brings to the first movement's boring development section, and his ultra-discreet pedaling. If you're curious to hear this work, Scherbakov's effort easily surpasses Geoffrey Madge's world premiere recording on Dante (now out of print). While the four shorter works don't rise to the level of invention of other Godowsky short pieces (like those in the Java Suite), their period charm benefits from Scherbakov's thoughtful and scrupulously prepared interpretations. Those who've been following the Scherbakov/Marco Polo Godowsky cycle will want to add this fifth volume to their collections.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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