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The Complete Leopold Godowsky Vol. 2

Godowsky
Release Date: 01/12/2006 
Label:  Marston   Catalog #: 52051  
Composer:  Sergei RachmaninovFranz LisztFrédéric ChopinErnö von Dohnányi,   ... 
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Volume 2 of Ward Marston's complete Leopold Godowsky edition picks up the chronological survey of the pianist's acoustic Brunswick recordings begun in Volume 1. These include all items Godowsky approved for release along with numerous unpublished sides, some of which collectors may have encountered on earlier LP and CD reissues. In my review of Volume 1 (type Q8351 in Search Reviews) I discussed Godowsky's frustrations and struggles with the limitations of early recording techniques, and the often uneven results that ensued from his endeavors. As it happens, most of the material on Volume 2 shows Godowsky's keyboard artistry in far more flattering light.

Disc 1 opens with a powerful, well-proportioned reading of Rachmaninov's
Read more ubiquitous C-sharp minor Prelude that easily rivals the authority of the composer's own recordings, while seriousness and scintillation happily mate in both Dohnányi's F minor Capriccio and the Chopin/Liszt "Maiden's Wish". Chopin's two G-flat Etudes, E-flat Op. 18 Waltz, and A-flat Op. 42 Waltz may seem overly sober and charmless to 21st-century ears, yet Godowsky's well-considered left-hand details should give modern-day pianists ample food for thought. The same goes for Chopin's D-flat Nocturne (I prefer Godowsky's more expansive electrical recording for Columbia) and Liszt's La Leggierezza.

Certain selections reflect the era's customary cutting down of longer works to fit within the limitations of a single 12-inch 78-rpm side. No doubt this irritated Godowsky, and I'd wager that this is reflected in the odd flustered moments that occur during otherwise strong, aristocratically molded takes of the Chopin A-flat Polonaise and Verdi/Liszt Rigoletto Paraphrase. It also may account for the demonic drive characterizing Chopin's B-flat minor Scherzo and Liszt's Tarantella from "Venezia e Napoli" (Godowsky's cuts differ from Josef Hofmann's better known recording), as well as the mechanical indifference I detect from Chopin's A-flat Ballade.

The stately Chopin Military Polonaise (Op. 40 No. 1) and ritard-laden Berceuse prove far more fluid and cohesive in Godowsky's unpublished 1924 test pressings than in his earlier "official" readings included in Volume 1. Four Debussy items compensate by subtle tonal gradations for what they lack in the hazy shimmer so often associated with this repertoire (thanks to Walter Gieseking).

Nearly all the old-timers carried lightweight encores in their public portfolios, and that may explain Godowsky's attraction to (and splendid playing of) a pair of works by two obscure Americans: Camille Zeckwer's In a Boat and Eastwood Lane's The Crap Shooters. Mark Arnest's annotations discuss the recordings from a musicological standpoint that's aimed more at specialists and scholars than general audiences. Lastly, we must salute the consistent excellence of Ward Marston's clean, realistic transfers. Volume 3 promises some of Godowsky's greatest recordings (the Grieg Ballade, the Chopin Fourth Scherzo), so stay tuned.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. 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: 5/1922 
2. Venezia e Napoli, S 162: no 3, Tarantella by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 5/1922 
Notes: This is an abridged version of this work. 
3. 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: 5/1922 
4. 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: 5/1922 
5. Waltz for Piano in E flat major, B 62/Op. 18 "Grande valse brillante" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Poland 
Date of Recording: 5/1922 
6. Ballade for Piano no 3 in A flat major, B 136/Op. 47 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 10/1922 
Notes: This is an abridged version of this work.  
7. 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: 10/1922 
Notes: This is an abridged version of this work. 
8. Concert Etudes (6) for Piano, Op. 28: no 6, Capriccio in F minor by Ernö von Dohnányi
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 10/1922 
9. Papillons d'Amour, Op. 59: no 2, A la bien-aimée by Eduard Schütt
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 10/1922 
Notes: This is an abridged version of this work. 
10. Nocturnes (2) for Piano, Op. 27: no 2 in D flat major, B 96 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 10/1922 
11. Polish Songs (6) for Piano (Chopin), S 480: no 5, My darling by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847-1860; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1922 
12. Polish Songs (6) for Piano (Chopin), S 480: no 1, Maiden's wish by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847-1860; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1922 
13. Concert Etudes (2) for Piano, S 145: no 2, Gnomenreigen by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1862-63; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 1923 
14. Polish Songs (6) for Piano (Chopin), S 480: no 5, My darling by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847-1860; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/1923 
15. Concert Etudes (3) for Piano, S 144: no 2 in F minor, La leggierezza by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1848; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/1924 
16. Wiegenlied for Piano in G flat major Op. 45 by Adolf Henselt
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1/1924 
17. 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: 1/1924 
Notes: This is an abridged version of this work. 
18. Waltzes (3) for Piano, Op. 34: no 1 in A flat major, B 94 "Valse brillante" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1/1924 
19. Scherzo for Piano no 2 in B flat minor/D flat major, B 111/Op. 31 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1/1924 
Notes: This is an abridged version of this work. 
20. 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: 1/1924 
21. Concert Etudes (2) for Piano, S 145: no 2, Gnomenreigen by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1862-63; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 1/1924 
22. Polonaises (2) for Piano, B 90/Op. 26: no 1 in C sharp minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834-1835; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1/1924 
23. Musical snuffbox, Op. 32 by Anatole Liadov
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1893; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1/1924 
24. 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: 2/1924 
25. Danzas (12) españolas for Piano, Op. 37: Dance in E minor by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1900; Spain 
Date of Recording: 2/1924 
26. La lisonjera, Op. 50 by Cécile Louise Chaminade
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by c1890; France 
Date of Recording: 2/1924 
27. Songs without words, vol 5, Op. 62: no 6, Andante grazioso in A major "Spring Song" by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
Date of Recording: 2/1924 
28. Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 25: no 1 in A flat major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 2/1924 
29. Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 25: no 3 in F major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832-1836; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 2/1924 
30. Waltz for Piano in A flat major, B 131/Op. 42 "Grande Valse" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 2/1924 
31. Polonaises (2) for Piano, Op. 40: no 1 in A major, B 120 "Military" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Poland 
Date of Recording: 2/1924 
32. Liebesträume for Piano, S 541: no 3, O Lieb, so lang by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1850; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 3/1924 
33. Fantasiestücke (2), Op. 17: no 2, Hexentanz by Edward MacDowell
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Germany 
Date of Recording: 3/1924 
34. Military Marches (3) for Piano 4 hands, D 733/Op. 51: no 1 in D major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1818; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 3/1924 
Notes: Arranger: Tausig. 
35. Rocky Island, Op. 10: no 22, Rêve angélique by Anton Rubinstein
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853-1854; Russia 
Date of Recording: 3/1924 
36. Children's Corner: no 6, Golliwogg's Cake-walk by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906-1908; France 
Date of Recording: 8/1925 
37. Préludes, Book 1: no 12, Minstrels by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910; France 
Date of Recording: 8/1925 
38. Suite bergamasque: 3rd movement, Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1890/1905; France 
Date of Recording: 8/1925 
39. Images for Piano, Set 1: no 1, Reflets dans l'eau by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; France 
Date of Recording: 8/1925 
40. Chansons de la mer, Op. 30: no 1, In a boat by Camille Zeckwer
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 8/1925 
41. Impromptu for Piano no 4 in C sharp minor, B 87/Op. 66 "Fantaisie-Impromptu" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 8/1925 
42. Liebesträume for Piano, S 541: no 3, O Lieb, so lang by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1850; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 8/1925 
43. American Dances (5) for Piano: The Crap Shooters by Eastwood Lane
Performer:  Leopold Godowsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1919; USA 
Date of Recording: 8/1925 

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