A treasure island of piano music — Spiegel Online
The Grand Piano label continues to uncover gems of the piano repertoire. — Fanfare



  • Various Artists

The Grand Piano label is dedicated to exploring undiscovered piano repertoire by unfamiliar composers, producing high quality, often world première recordings, performed by virtuoso authorities in their chosen field. Marking the label’s 5th anniversary, this collection is a comprehensive guide through the history of keyboard music from the invention of the fortepiano to today’s living composers, as well as taking the listener on a musical adventure through a geographically global range of rare musical gems, with all of their new and exciting sounds and fresh perspectives.


Disc 1
Neefe, Christian Gottlob
12 Keyboard Sonatas (1773): Sonata No. 4 in C Minor: III. Presto (1773) (00:02:25)
Türk, Daniel Gottlob
12 Keyboard Sonatas, Collection 2 (1777): Sonata No. 2 in E-Flat Major: II. Adagio assai (1777) (00:02:53)
Koželuch, Leopold
Piano Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 10, No. 1, P. XII:15: III. Allegretto () (00:04:13)
Vaňhal, Johann Baptist
3 Neue Caprice-Sonaten, Op. 31: No. 2 in G Minor, "Amoroso": III. Allegretto () (00:03:32)
Hoffmeister, Franz Anton
Keyboard Sonata in A Major (1790): III. Presto () (00:03:31)
Beethoven, Ludwig van
Sonata for Piano 4 Hands in D Major, Op. 6: II. Rondo: Moderato (1797) (00:03:23)
Cramer, Johann Baptist
Studio per il pianoforte, Book 1, Op. 30: No. 26 in G-Sharp Minor (1804) (00:02:07)
Busoni, Ferruccio
Klavierübung in 10 Books, Book 7: 8 Etudes after Cramer: No. 5 in C Major (1922) (00:02:02)
Szymanowska, Maria
18 Danses: No. 7. Valse in B-Flat Major () (00:01:31)
Voříšek, Jan Hugo
Piano Sonata in B-Flat Minor, Op. 20, "Quasi una fantasia": III. Finale: Allegro con brio (1824) (00:04:12)
Glinka, Mikhail Ivanovich
Variations on the song Sredi dolinï rovnïye in A Minor (Among the Gentle Valleys) (1826) (00:03:01)
Henselt, Adolf von
12 Études caractéristiques, Op. 2: No. 6 in F-Sharp Major, "Si oiseau j'étais, à toi je volerais!" (1838) (00:02:03)
Saint-Saëns, Camille
6 Bagatelles, Op. 3: Bagatelle No. 3: Poco adagio (1855) (00:03:00)
Balakirev, Mily Alexeyevich
Piano Sonata in B-Flat Minor, Op. 3, "Grande Sonate": IV. Finale: Allegro grazioso () (00:06:20)
Raff, Joachim
Fantaisie-polonaise, Op. 106 (1861) (00:06:58)
Gouvy, Louis Theodore
Sonata for Piano 4 Hands in C Minor, Op. 49: III. Minuetto: Moderato (1869) (00:04:16)
Carreno, Teresa
Souvenirs de mon pays, Op. 10 () (00:07:14)
Grieg, Edvard
Piano Concerto in B Minor (fragments) () (00:02:34)
Evju, Helge
Piano Concerto in B Minor: V. Finale (on fragments by E. Grieg) () (00:04:17)
Godard, Benjamin
Promenade en Mer, Op. 86 () (00:03:24)
Satie, Erik
Allegro (1884) (1884) (00:00:29)
Hofmann, Josef
Mazurka in B Minor (1885) (00:02:11)
Vianna da Motta, José
Cenas Portuguesas, Op. 9: No. 2. Chula (1893) (00:03:22)
Disc 2
Fauré, Gabriel
Dolly Suite, Op. 56: I. Berceuse (arr. A Cortot for piano) (1896) (00:02:30)
Roger-Ducasse, Jean
6 Préludes: No. 2. Très calme (1907) (00:01:38)
Samazeuilh, Gustave
Piano Suite in G Minor: II. Française (1902) (00:02:54)
Medtner, Nicolas
Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 5: II. Intermezzo: Allegro (1903) (00:03:44)
Le Flem, Paul
Le chant des genêts: No. 4. Pour bercer (1910) (00:02:30)
Schmitt, Florent
Feuillets de voyage, Book 2, Op. 26: No. 2. Mazurka (1913) (00:01:32)
Ponce, Manuel María
Barcarola mexicana, "Xochimilco" (1915) (00:02:39)
Friedman, Ignaz
4 Preludes, Op. 61: No. 1. Pensieroso (1915) (00:01:46)
Enescu, George
Pièces impromptues, Op. 18, "Suite No. 3": I. Mélodie (1916) (00:03:16)
Vardapet, Komitas
7 Folk Dances: No. 5. Shushiki of Vagharshapat () (00:03:34)
Tcherepnin, Alexander
10 Bagatelles, Op. 5: No. 6. Allegro con spirito (1918) (00:01:05)
Niemann, Walter Rudolph
3 Compositions for Piano, Op. 7: No. 3. Arabeske: Vivace e leggiero () (00:01:41)
Schulhoff, Erwin
5 Pittoresken, Op. 31: No. 1. Foxtrott (1921) (00:02:36)
Roslavets, Nikolay Andreyevich
5 Preludes: Prelude No. 4 (1922) (00:01:42)
Oswald, Henrique
Album, Op. 33: No. 2. Idylle (c. 1920) (00:02:03)
Gershwin, George
Rhapsody in Blue: Andantino moderato (version for piano) (1924) (00:02:30)
Khachaturian, Aram Il'yich
2 Pieces: No. 1. Waltz-Caprice (1926) (00:02:21)
Lourié, Arthur
Petite Suite in F Major: II. — (1924) (00:01:12)
Mosolov, Alexander
Turkmenian Nights: III. Allegro (1929) (00:02:21)
Aubert, Louis
Feuille d'Images: No. 2. Chanson de route: Avec entrain (1930) (00:02:16)
Nenov, Dimitar
Etude No. 1 (1932) (00:01:35)
Frommel, Gerhard
Piano Sonata No. 2 in F Major, Op. 10: III. Allegro (1935) (00:04:41)
Kaprálová, Vítězslava
Grotesque Passacaglia (1935) (00:02:34)
Grainger, Percy
Lincolnshire Posy: IV. The Brisk Young Sailor (version for 2 pianos) (1937) (00:01:46)
Bowen, York
24 Preludes, Op. 102: Prelude No. 4 in C-Sharp Minor: Allegro con fuoco (1938) (00:01:36)
Kvandal, Johan
Lyric Pieces, Op. 5, Nos. 4-7: No. 7. Scherzino: Allegro scherzando (1946) (00:02:14)
Succar, Toufic
Variations sur un theme oriental () (00:06:18)
Nørgård, Per
Toccata (1949): Fuga (1949) (00:02:33)
Weinberg, Mieczysław
Piano Sonatina, Op. 49: I. Allegro leggiero (1951) (00:02:20)
Disc 3
Kazhlayev, Murad
Picture Pieces: No. 2. Welcome Overture (1971) (00:02:59)
Abramian, Edouard
24 Preludes: No. 1 in E-Flat Major (1972) (00:01:22)
Bagdasarian, Eduard
24 Preludes: No. 3 in G Major (1958) (00:00:40)
Baz, Georges
Esquisses: VII. Une soirée libanaise () (00:02:07)
Arutiunian, Alexander
3 Musical Pictures: No. 3. Sassoun Dance (1960) (00:02:30)
Babadjanian, Arno Harutyuni
6 Kartin (6 Pictures): No. 3. Toccatina (1965) (00:01:53)
Gelalian, Boghos
Tre Cicli: III. Allegro con furia (1969) (00:02:46)
Rääts, Jaan
Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 36, "Quasi Beatles": II. — (1969) (00:02:31)
Glass, Philip
Music in Fifths (1969) (00:05:47)
Fuleihan, Anis
Piano Sonata No. 9: IV. Presto (1970) (00:03:45)
Tchaikovsky, Boris
Sonata for 2 Pianos: III. Etude (1973) (00:02:50)
Lykkebo, Finn
Tableaux: No. 1. Couleurs et valses: Alla cadenza. Allegretto. Lento a la valse (1979) (00:02:10)
Solal, Martial
Voyage en Anatolie (Journey to Anatolia) () (00:05:34)
Bisgaard, Lars Aksel
Barcarole (1987) (00:03:14)
Maček, Ivo
Prelude and Toccata: Toccata (1987) (00:02:51)
Riotte, Andre
Météorite et ses métamorphoses: Métamorphose II: En oppositions (2001) (00:01:25)
Silvestrov, Valentin
2 Waltzes, Op. 153: No. 2. Allegretto (2009) (00:02:31)
Hammond, Philip
Miniatures and Modulations: Open The Door Softly () (00:02:24)
Khoury, Houtaf
Piano Sonata No. 3, "Pour un instant perdu…": III. Quête () (00:06:17)
Ekanayaka, Tanya
Adahas: Of Wings Of Roots (2010) (00:04:18)
Jaberi, Afshin
Piano Sonata No. 1, "The Seeker": I. Allegro (2011) (00:06:08)
Glass, Philip
The Hours: Choosing Life (arr. M. Riesman and N. Muhly for piano) (2002) (00:03:48)
Total Time: 03:40:15

The Composer

Among those who worked principally in Armenia, without seeking to establish any worldwide reputation, the composer, pianist and teacher Eduard Aslanovich Abramian was one of the most significant and respected: a key figure in the modern development of Armenian music. Born in Tblisi on 22 May 1923, he was early singled out as one of a group of gifted children who, under the aegis of Tblisi State Conservatory, received tuition from the noted composer and pedagogue Sergey Barkhudarian, and then formed the core of a ten-year musical secondary school.

During World War II he was forced to put his studies aside, while he worked in an aircraft-construction factory. In 1950, after receiving a Tchaikovsky Prize, Abramian graduated from the state conservatory with honours degrees in composition and piano.

In 1960 he moved to Yerevan, where he taught at the conservatoire as professor of piano from 1961 to 1982. At the same time he became closely involved in the work of the Armenian Composers’ Union. Through this connection he obtained advantageous housing conditions and an excellent work situation. He also participated in over 150 meetings between groups of Armenian composers and workers from remote districts of the republic. In this way he became familiar with the folk-music of a wide range of his native country. Abramian died in Yerevan at the age of 63.

The Armenian composer Alexander Arutiunian was born in Yerevan in 1920, and showed considerable musical prowess whilst still a young boy. He played for Alexander Spendiarian (1871–1928, one of the founders of the Armenian national school) when he was seven, and in the same year joined the children’s group of the Yerevan State Conservatory. Later, he studied piano and composition at the senior conservatory, graduating in 1941; and he subsequently travelled to Moscow where he undertook further training. In Moscow, he was actively involved with the Armenian House of Culture, which offered concerts and tuition to its members, and where Arutiunian was able to perform his own music.

On returning to Yerevan, Arutiunian became the artistic director of the Armenian Philharmonic Society in 1954, a post he held until 1990. He also joined the staff of the conservatory (which had been renamed the Komitas Conservatory in memory of Armenia’s first nationalist composer, Komitas Vardapet) in 1962, and was granted a professorship in 1977. A member of the so-called Armenian “Mighty Handful” (along with Arno Babadjanian, Edward Mirzoyan, Adam Khudoyan and Lazar Saryan), he was awarded numerous Soviet state prizes, including the Stalin Prize (1949), People’s Artist of Armenia (1962), People’s Artist of the USSR (1970) and Honoured Citizen of Yerevan (1987). His music has been performed by many distinguished musicians, from Yevgeny Mravinsky and Valery Gergiev, to Sergey Khachatryan, Ilya Grubert and Jack Liebeck. Arutiunian died on 28 March 2012.

Unduly neglected, Louis Aubert, a pupil of Gabriel Fauré, in the first performance of whose Requiem he took part as a boy, was a composer of considerable distinction, showing some affinity with both Debussy and Ravel.

Stage Works

Aubert’s lyrical tale La forêt bleue brings to the stage the fairy world of children’s stories. His Cinéma: Tableaux symphoniques, a ballet, shows episodes in the development of the cinema.

Orchestral Music

Dryade, Tableau symphonique, originally written in 1924 as a score for a film, is similar in its inspiration to Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé or the work of Debussy that has its source in pagan antiquity. Aubert’s Tombeau de Chateaubriand pays tribute to his fellow-countryman, also a native of Saint-Malo. His moving Offrande of 1952 is dedicated to the memory of those who suffered in the war.

Arno Babadjanian was born in Yerevan, Armenia on 22 January 1921. His earliest musical influences came from his home. His father was an accomplished folk musician, capable of a variety of folk instruments. During childhood, Babadjanian witnessed the Westernisation of music in Armenia: with the creation of the Armenian Philharmonic and the Union of Armenian Composers was formed in 1932; the opening of the Opera Theatre in Yerevan in 1933; and the première of Arno Babadjanian’s Symphony No. 1 in 1934. Babadjanian’s first formal lessons were at the Yerevan Conservatory with Vardkes Talian (1896–1947). Talian instilled a sense of Armenian musical history in Babadjanian by insisting that his young student study the folk traditions of his country, in addition to the music of the great Armenian composer and ethnomusicologist, Vartabed Komitas (1869–1935).

Babadjanian graduated from the Yerevan Conservatory in 1947, and entered the Moscow Conservatory a year later to study the piano with one of Russia’s great pianists, the legendary Konstantin Igumnov (1873–1948). A student of Alexander Siloti, Anton Arensky, Sergey Taneyev and Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov, Igumnov passed a musical tradition to Arno Babadjanian that few were lucky to experience. Under Igumnov’s guidance, Babadjanian studied Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, Beethoven’s sonatas, Chopin’s piano works, and the works of the great Russian composers, Rachmaninov and Scriabin. These were formative years for Babadjanian, who, as a result of his God-given talents and rigorous schooling, became an extraordinary pianist. Concurrently with his studies at the Moscow Conservatory, Babadjanian studied composition with Heinrich Litinsky (1901–1985) at the House of Armenian culture in Moscow Litinsky was one of the most influential composer-teachers in the Soviet Union who contributed several important text-books on polyphony (Problems in Polyphony) (three volumes) and Imitation in Strict Counterpoint). He also taught over two hundred pupils, including Aleksandrov, Arutyunian, Khrennikov, Mirzoyan, and Peiko. In addition to being a brilliant teacher, he was an ethnomusicologist, who imbued his students with a love for their native folk-music. Babadjanian composed his expressive and powerful Polyphonic Piano Sonata in 1946 while studying with Litinsky.

In 1950 Babadjanian returned to Armenia where he taught the piano at the Yerevan Conservatory (1950–56), and also gave concerts and composed. It is during this period that he wrote one of his most celebrated works, the Heroic Ballade for piano and orchestra (1950). This Romantic work is a series of picturesque symphonic variations rooted in Armenian folk-lore and pianistically close to the Rachmaninov’s keyboard style. Always aware of his national roots, Babadjanian collaborated with Arutyunian in 1950 and created another of his most popular works, the Armenian Rhapsody for two pianos.

Babadjanian was not a prolific composer; he spent much of his time teaching and giving concerts. His extraordinary Piano Trio was competed in 1952 and was followed in 1954 by his orchestral Poem-Rhapsody. The Sonata for Violin and Piano was produced in 1959, followed by the Cello Concerto, which was written for and dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich. Among his last compositions were the Six Pictures for Piano (1965), the Third String Quartet (1979) and the Nocturne for piano and symphonic jazz ensemble (1981). Arno Babadjanian died in Moscow on 15 November 1983.

Balakirev was the self-appointed leader of The Five or The Mighty Handful, a group of Russian nationalist composers in the second half of the 19th century that comprised César Cui, Mussorgsky, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov and Balakirev himself. His own success as a composer was intermittent, largely owing to eccentricities of character and a tendency to make enemies through his own overwhelming enthusiasm and intolerance of other ideas. He was particularly opposed to the establishment of music conservatories in Russia by the Rubinstein brothers and was accused in his turn of amateurism.

Orchestral Music

Balakirev’s orchestral music includes concert overtures, two of them revised as the symphonic poems Russia and In Bohemia. His symphonic poem Tamara is based on a poem by Lermontov, and he completed two symphonies. His Piano Concerto in E flat major was left incomplete (it was subsequently finished by Lyapunov, who also orchestrated Balakirev’s oriental fantasy Islamey). He wrote two orchestral suites, one based on pieces by Chopin, and provided an overture and incidental music for Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Piano Music

Balakirev’s best-known work today is his oriental fantasy Islamey. As a pianist himself, he wrote a varied quantity of pieces for the instrument, including three scherzos, seven mazurkas, nocturnes and waltzes. His significant Sonata in B flat minor, eventually completed in 1905, after half a century, was dedicated to Lyapunov.

Born in Bonn in 1770, the eldest son of a singer in the Kapelle of the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne and grandson of the Archbishop’s Kapellmeister, Beethoven moved in 1792 to Vienna. There he had some lessons from Haydn and others, quickly establishing himself as a remarkable keyboard player and original composer. By 1815 increasing deafness had made public performance impossible and accentuated existing eccentricities of character, patiently tolerated by a series of rich patrons and his royal pupil the Archduke Rudolph. Beethoven did much to enlarge the possibilities of music and widen the horizons of later generations of composers. To his contemporaries he was sometimes a controversial figure, making heavy demands on listeners by both the length and the complexity of his writing, as he explored new fields of music.

Stage Works

Although he contemplated others, Beethoven wrote only one opera. This was eventually called Fidelio after the name assumed by the heroine Leonora, who disguises herself as a boy and takes employment at the prison in which her husband has been unjustly incarcerated. This escape opera, for which there was precedent in contemporary France, ends with the defeat of the evil prison governor and the rescue of Florestan, testimony to the love and constancy of his wife Leonora. The work was first staged in 1805 and mounted again in a revised performance in 1814, under more favourable circumstances. The ballet The Creatures of Prometheus was staged in Vienna in 1801, and Beethoven wrote incidental music for various other dramatic productions, including Goethe’s Egmont, von Kotzebue’s curious The Ruins of Athens, and the same writer’s King Stephen.

Choral and Vocal Music

Beethoven’s most impressive choral work is the Missa solemnis, written for the enthronement of his pupil Archduke Rudolph as Archbishop of Olmütz (Olomouc) although finished too late for that occasion. An earlier work, the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives, is less well known. In common with other composers, Beethoven wrote a number of songs. Of these the best known are probably the settings of Goethe, which did little to impress the venerable poet and writer (he ignored their existence), and the cycle of six songs known as An die ferne Geliebte (‘To the Distant Beloved’). The song ‘Adelaide’is challenging but not infrequently heard.

Orchestral Music


Beethoven completed nine symphonies, works that influenced the whole future of music by the expansion of the traditional Classical form. The best known are Symphony No. 3, ‘Eroica’, originally intended to celebrate the initially republican achievements of Napoleon; No. 5; No. 6, ‘Pastoral’; and No. 9, ‘Choral’. The less satisfactory ‘Battle Symphony’ celebrates the earlier military victories of the Duke of Wellington.


For the theatre and various other occasions Beethoven wrote a number of overtures, including four for his only opera, Fidelio (one under that name and the others under the name of the heroine, Leonora). Other overtures include Egmont, Coriolan, Prometheus, The Consecration of the House and The Ruins of Athens.


Beethoven completed one violin concerto and five piano concertos, as well as a triple concerto for violin, cello and piano, and the curious Choral Fantasy for solo piano, chorus and orchestra. The piano concertos were for the composer’s own use in concert performance. No. 5, the so-called ‘Emperor’ Concerto, is possibly the most impressive. The single Violin Concerto, also arranged for piano, is part of the standard violin repertoire along with two romances (possible slow movements for an unwritten violin concerto).

Chamber Music

Beethoven wrote 10 sonatas for violin and piano, of which the ‘Spring’ and the ‘Kreutzer’ are particular favourites with audiences. He extended very considerably the possibilities of the string quartet. This is shown even in his first set of quartets, Op. 18, but it is possibly the group of three dedicated to Prince Razumovsky (the ‘Razumovsky’ Quartets, Op. 59) that are best known. The later string quartets offer great challenges to both players and audience, and include the remarkable Grosse Fuge—a gigantic work, discarded as the final movement of the String Quartet, Op. 130, and published separately. Other chamber music includes a number of trios for violin, cello and piano, with the ‘Archduke’ Trio pre-eminent and the ‘Ghost’ Trio a close runner-up, for very different reasons. The cello sonatas and sets of variations for cello and piano (including one set based on Handel’s ‘See, the conqu’ring hero comes’ from Judas Maccabaeus and others on operatic themes from Mozart) are a valuable part of any cellist’s repertoire. Chamber music with wind instruments and piano include the Quintet, Op. 16, for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon. Among other music for wind instruments is the very popular Septet, scored for clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello and double bass, as well as a trio for two oboes and cor anglais, and a set of variations on a theme from Mozart’s Don Giovanni for the same instruments.

Piano Music

Beethoven’s 32 numbered piano sonatas make full use of the developing form of the piano, with its wider range and possibilities of dynamic contrast. Other sonatas not included in the 32 published by Beethoven are earlier works, dating from his years in Bonn. There are also interesting sets of variations, including a set based on ‘God Save the King’and another on ‘Rule, Britannia’, variations on a theme from the ‘Eroica’ Symphony, and a major work based on a relatively trivial theme by the publisher Diabelli. The best known of the sonatas are those that have earned themselves affectionate nicknames: the ‘Pathétique’, ‘Moonlight’, ‘Waldstein’, ‘Appassionata’, ‘Les Adieux’ and ‘Hammerklavier’. Less substantial piano pieces include three sets of bagatelles, the all too well-known Für Elise, and the Rondo a capriccio, known in English as ‘Rage Over a Lost Penny’.

Dance Music

Famous composers like Haydn and Mozart were also employed in the practical business of providing dance music for court and social occasions. Beethoven wrote a number of sets of minuets, German dances and contredanses, ending with the so-called Mödlinger Dances, written for performers at a neighbouring inn during a summer holiday outside Vienna.

A decisive factor in Lars Aksel Bisgaard’s choice of career was that in the winter of 1965–66 when, as a schoolboy, he participated in Finn Lykkebo’s knowledgeable and inspiring lessons in musical appreciation at evening classes. Lykkebo was very helpful in providing Bisgaard with information about what was necessary to gain admission to the conservatory’s music theory and music history classes. After passing his school-leaving exams, Bisgaard acquired the necessary knowledge first by studying musicology at the University of Copenhagen (1966–69) and then by following in Lykkebo’s footsteps as a student at the Royal Danish Academy of Music with music theory and music history as his main subjects (1969–75). Immediately after that, he commenced studies of composition under Per Nørgård at the Academy of Music in Aarhus (1975–81). In 1981 Lars Bisgaard succeeded Finn Lykkebo as a lecturer in music theory at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Esbjerg. He worked there until 1993, and then taught at the Royal Danish Academy of Music until his retirement in 2013.

Described by Saint-Saëns as ‘the most remarkable of the young British composers’, York Bowen was widely known as a pianist and as a composer, his fame reaching its zenith in the years immediately preceding the First World War. The youngest of three sons, he was born on 22 February 1884 at Crouch Hill, London. His mother, an accomplished musician, taught him piano and harmony and by the age of eight he was studying at the Blackheath Conservatoire. In 1898 he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, studying piano with Tobias Matthay and composition with Frederick Corder until 1905. A gifted student, he won many prizes for piano and composition, including the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Medal. Bowen was appointed Professor at the RAM in 1909, a post he held for the next fifty years. With regular performances at the Queen’s Hall and later at the Royal Albert Hall, his piano playing received critical acclaim for its technical and artistic excellence. In addition to his successful career as a solo (virtuoso) pianist, he formed celebrated duos with the great viola player Lionel Tertis and the pianist Harry Isaacs. Active as a musician to the last, Bowen died suddenly at his home in Hampstead at the age of 77 on 23 November 1961.

In a career which spanned some sixty years, Bowen was a prolific composer, writing over 160 works with opus numbers and several more which he left uncatalogued. Among his large-scale pieces are four symphonies and four piano concertos, the first of which he was invited to play at the Proms under Henry Wood. Other orchestral works include concertos for violin, viola and horn (given their premières by Marjorie Hayward, Lionel Tertis and Dennis Brain, respectively) and tone-poems such as The Lament of Tasso, first performed by Sir Henry Wood in August 1903. His proficiency on many orchestral instruments, notably horn and viola, served him well in his orchestral writing. Within his corpus of chamber music there are string quartets and piano trios, as well as a horn quintet and bass clarinet quintet. He wrote six piano sonatas dating from 1900 to 1961, together with sonatas for clarinet, flute, oboe, recorder, horn, violin, viola and cello. Influenced by the mastery of Tertis’s playing, Bowen did much to extend the repertoire of the viola (in addition to the aforementioned concerto and sonata, he also wrote a Fantasy for viola and a quartet for four violas). The piano, however, dominated his output to an exceptional degree for a twentieth-century British composer and his strikingly idiomatic writing for the instrument earned him the sobriquet of ‘the English Rachmaninov’.

Teresa Carreño’s immense musical talent became apparent at an early age. She was born in Caracas; her father Antonio, himself the son of a composer, took great pains to maintain his skills as a pianist besides his main career in politics as Venezuela’s Minister of Finance. He thus became her first teacher, but realised soon enough that he was not able to keep up with his daughter’s rapid progress as a pianist, and also given the fact that Teresa presented her own compositions for piano as early as the age of six. The family showed extraordinary support in furthering the highly gifted Teresa’s musical education, moving even to New York in 1862 (the move was, however, also a result of political changes taking place in Venezuela) in order to enable her to receive both an adequate musical education and pave the way for an international career and to give her the opportunity to perform in renowned concert halls. Teresa’s début at Irving Hall during the same year did not go unnoticed by the great pianist and composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829–1869), who henceforth gave her lessons. Teresa’s first published composition is dedicated to him: The Gottschalk Waltz, Op 1.

Teresa Carreño followed up the successful series of New York concerts with twelve sold-out performances in Boston in the following year. Enchanted critics celebrated the nine-year-old girl, who had trouble climbing onto the piano stool but then brilliantly performed compositions by both her teacher and Franz Liszt, surpassing the virtuoso-composers themselves. Her first public performance with an orchestra, for which she was awarded the renowned medal of the Philharmonic Society, occurred only hours after a solo recital. Another highlight of her early career was a performance for Abraham Lincoln at the White House, which vividly stayed in her memory: “The president and his family received us so informally and were so nice to me that I almost forgot to be cranky”—in spite of quite adverse circumstances: “the stool was unsuitable, the pedals were beyond reach, and when I had run my fingers over the keyboard, the action was too hard.”

In rapid succession Teresa Carreño conquered the concert halls of Havana, London and Paris. She travelled extensively, and her life at this point must have been full of exciting experiences and adventure: crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The family finally settled in Paris, an ideal environment for the aspiring pianist. Unable to enter the Conservatoire, she was able never-the-less to study with Georges Matthias, a Chopin student. She performed for both Gioachino Rossini and Franz Liszt; she met with eminent musicians such as Charles Gounod and Camille Saint-Saëns, and Anton Rubinstein himself insisted on giving her lessons, and even later on he was to hold her in high regard. Her repertoire by this point included works by Beethoven and Chopin; apart from that she mainly performed opera paraphrases, as was customary for a pianist of her time. She also presented her own compositions in many concerts, which appear very sophisticated considering her young age. A considerable number of her compositions date from this incredibly productive, incredibly busy period of her life, and were consequently published in the late 1860s and early 1870s, even before her twentieth birthday. It does not come as a surprise that these early compositions all require a highly skilled performer, given Teresa Carreño’s own considerable technical skills. The emotional depth of her compositions, however, manages to surprise time and again: It almost appears as if the life experiences of the following, turbulent years already resonate in these piano compositions; as if her music already foreshadows the tragic loss of her father, the premature death of her children and her failed marriages.

Ekanayaka, Tanya

Dr Tanya Ekanayaka is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning Sri Lankan- British concert composer-pianist regarded as one of Sri Lanka’s finest artistes. Classically trained and with a background in Asian and Popular music, she is also a linguist, musicologist and record producer. Although she trained as a pianist, her compositional skills are the result of a purely intuitive and natural development. She was born and brought up in the Kandyan highlands of Sri Lanka and began studying the piano when she was five years old, initially tutored by her mother, Indira Ekanayaka, who used a combination of teaching methods she describes as ‘experimental’ and ‘unintrusive’. She then went on to study under Bridget Halpé and in later years benefitted from the guidance of Colin Kingsley, John Kitchen, Raymond Monelle, Peter Nelson, Nigel Osborne, Jonathan Pasternack and Robin Zebaida.

She made her debut public recital appearance at the age of twelve, performed her first concerto at sixteen with the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka (SOSL), as joint winner and youngest competitor of the SOSL biennial concerto competition, and has since performed in notable international concert venues in Europe, North America and Asia.

Consistent with her interdisciplinary background, she holds a doctorate for interdisciplinary research involving Linguistics and Musicology from The University of Edinburgh as well as advanced academic and professional qualifications in Music Performance, Linguistics and Literature. She has been on the part time teaching faculty of Edinburgh University since 2007 where she has taught in its faculties of Linguistics and Music.

For more information, visit www.tanyaekanayaka.com.

The greatest of Romanian musicians, George Enescu was equally remarkable as a violinist and as a composer. He contributed significantly to the development of music in his own country, although much of his activity centred on Paris, where he was a pupil of Marsick and for composition of Fauré and Massenet. His violin pupils include Grumiaux, Ferras, Gitlis and Menuhin.

Despite early success, notably the two Romanian Rhapsodies [Naxos 8.550327], his work found real appreciation only among a small number of musicians and admirers. Prolific in his youth, during which he pursued studies first in Vienna then in Paris, the demands of performance and administration, not to mention upheaval in his personal life and in his beloved Romania, slowed his creativity so that he was able to complete only a handful of major compositions after the First World War. Yet the sheer quality of these works, which amalgamate his understanding of the classical masters with the achievement of the French and German romanticists, while transcending stereotypical notions of radical and conservative, has seen a gradual resurgence of interest over the past three decades.

Chamber music

Chamber music was a prominent feature of Enescu’s music from his earliest years. Along with his two cello sonatas [Naxos 8.570582], there are four extant violin sonatas, two string quartets [Naxos 8.554721], two piano quartets [the second on Naxos 8.557159], a piano quintet [Naxos 8.557159], piano trio, string octet, and wind decatet [Naxos 8.554173], as well as shorter pieces for various combinations.

Orchestral Music

Although much that he wrote may be of greater musical significance, Enescu's most popular composition is the Romanian Rhapsody No. 1.

Helge Evju was born on February 7, 1942 in Drammen, Norway, into a family of several musicians. He was taught piano mainly by his aunt, the concert pianist Aslaug Evju Blackstad, and had his hometown début in 1959, playing the Beethoven C major Concerto. From 1961 to 1963 he was resident at Brandeis University, Massachusetts, with a scholarship for music studies, studying piano with Evelyne Crochet and composition with Irving Fine, who unfortunately died in 1962. On his exam concert programme in 1963 was Samuel Barber’s Piano Sonata, which he also played in his Oslo début recital in 1968, after studies with Robert Riefling. In 1969 he took second prize in a pianists’ competition in Riefling’s name, and went to the Netherlands, and later to Prague for masterclasses with Nikita Magaloff and František Rauch. In 1974 he was singled out by the Prague critics for his performance of Janáček’s Piano Sonata 1.X.1905. In 1971 he started working as a pianist-répetiteur for the Norwegian Opera (now the Norwegian Opera and Ballet), where he stayed until retirement in 2011. His assignments for the Opera grew with the years to comprise concerts (touring the entire country), soloistic appearances with the orchestra, regular performances in the Sunday chamber concerts, lectures, texts, translations, arrangements, orchestrations and compositions. To this day he still makes guest appearances, and will conduct a comic operatic show from the piano in the spring of 2015.

In 1994 his complete (all gaps filled) cadenzas for the Mozart piano concertos were published by Verlag Zimmermann-Lienau, Frankfurt-Berlin, and pianists of high standing, such as Patrick Cohen and Andreas Haefliger, have used them in concerts and recordings. His piano transcriptions of mainly vocal music are a by-product of his operatic concert tours, to provide relevant piano interludes. He has written songs, piano pieces and several operatic arias and scenes.

Gabriel Fauré

In the rigid official musical establishment of Paris in the second half of the nineteenth century, Gabriel Fauré won acceptance with difficulty. He was a pupil of Camille Saint-Saëns at the Ecole Niedermeyer and served as organist at various Paris churches, including finally the Madeleine, but he had no teaching position until 1897 at the Conservatoire, where his pupils included Ravel and Enescu. In 1905 he became director of the Conservatoire in the aftermath of the scandal of the refusal of the Prix de Rome to Ravel and introduced a number of necessary reforms. He retired in 1920, after which he was able to devote himself more fully again to composition, notably two final chamber works, a piano trio and a string quartet. He died in Paris in 1924.

Stage Works

In 1893 Fauré wrote incidental music for a production of Molière’s Le bourgeois gentilhomme. The Sicilienne for this production was later used again in incidental music for Maeterlinck’s Pelléas et Mélisande and later still won popularity in a variety of arrangements, including the composer’s own orchestral version and arrangement for violin or cello and piano. There is a concert suite from Pelléas et Mélisande, orchestrated by Fauré’s pupil Koechlin.

Orchestral Music

Fauré’s nostalgic Pavane is an orchestral work with an optional chorus part, added at the suggestion of a patron, but generally omitted in modern performance. Music for solo instrument and orchestra includes the Ballade for piano and orchestra, Berceuse for solo violinand Elégie for solo cello. The piano duet Dolly Suite was arranged for orchestra in 1906 by Henri Rabaud.


Fauré is a song composer of major importance, capturing in his settings the spirit of his time, the mood of nostalgic yearning for the unattainable. Some of the songs, such as ‘Après un rêve’ (‘After a Dream’) have achieved even wider popularity in instrumental transcription. In addition to individual songs of great beauty, ‘Lydia’, ‘Clair de lune’, ‘Les roses d’Ispahan’, ‘Sylvia’, ‘En prière’ and many others, there are song cycles, including the Verlaine settings La bonne chanson and Cinq mélodies de Venise, L’horizon chimérique, La chanson d’Eve and Le jardin clos.

Church Music

Fauré’s Requiem remains a standard element in choral repertoire, with its setting of funeral rites rather than the full Requiem Mass of tradition. The earlier Messe basse (‘Low Mass’) was originally a collaborative composition of 1881 with Messager, but its final revision in 1906 consists of four Mass movements by Fauré himself.

Chamber Music

Chamber music by Fauré includes two fine violin sonatas and the Piano Trio and String Quartet of his last years. There are several evocative smaller pieces, including Romance, Berceuse and Andante for violin and piano and Elégie, Romance and Sérénade for cello and piano.

Piano Music

Fauré made a significant addition to piano repertoire, particularly in a series of thirteen barcarolles and a similar number of nocturnes, with five impomptus and a single ballade. The piano duet Dolly Suite was written in the 1890s for the young daughter of Emma Bardac, the later wife of Debussy and the singer for whom Fauré wrote La bonne chanson, after Bardac’s divorce from her banker husband.

Ignaz Friedman’s father was a musician who played in a local theatre orchestra. After about ten years of piano lessons with local teacher Flora Grzywinska, Friedman left Kraków in 1900 to study composition at the Leipzig Conservatory with Hugo Riemann. It was not until 1901, when he was already nineteen, that he decided to go to Vienna for lessons with Theodor Leschetizky. As with Moiseiwitsch, Leschetizky was not enthusiastic when the young Friedman presented himself, but after three years of study (also becoming Leschetizky’s teaching assistant), Friedman was ready to make his Vienna debut in November 1904. He chose to play three piano concertos at his debut: the D minor Concerto Op. 15 of Brahms, Tchaikovsky’s in B flat minor Op. 23, and the E flat Concerto by Liszt. This debut launched a touring career that began in 1905 and during the next forty years he toured the United States twelve times, South America seven times, and Europe every year, as well as visits to such countries as Iceland, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, Palestine, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Friedman gave around 2800 concerts. He collaborated with such artists as Emanuel Feuermann, Erica Morini, Mischa Elman, Leopold Auer, Antal Dorati, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, Willem Mengelberg, Arthur Nikisch and Eugène Ysaÿe.

Until 1914 Friedman lived in Berlin but during World War I he lived in Copenhagen and after the war resided in Italy. Friedman’s first visit to America was in 1920 and in April 1923 he made his first records for American Columbia. In 1938 with the approach of World War II Friedman tried unsuccessfully to get a teaching position in America. However in 1940 Friedman was able to step into a tour of Australia due to a cancellation by other artists. He settled there and performed, taught and broadcast. His health began to fail in 1943, and he died in Sydney five years later.

Friedman also composed, with many short works and transcriptions to his name, as well as a piano quintet and three string quartets. He edited the complete works of Chopin as well as the major works of Liszt, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Schumann. His vast performing repertoire ranged from eighteenth-century keyboard works (often in his own arrangements) to modern music of his day by Debussy, Ravel, Albéniz, Dohnányi, Kodály and Bartók. It was in the Romantic repertoire that Friedman excelled. He had a technique that apparently Horowitz acknowledged was superior to his own, and he used this to bring compositions alive. Rhythm and colour were very important to Friedman and he considered these attributes the most difficult to teach to students. His programmes would often contain a few major works such as a Beethoven sonata, a work of Schumann, a group of Chopin and a virtuosic closing work. When he played in London in 1925 the programme included Beethoven’s last piano sonata Op. 111 and Schumann’s Études Symphoniques and closed with Liszt’s Mephisto-Waltz No. 1. ‘It is no exaggeration to say he created a sensation by his technique alone. It looked so simple…’ Friedman’s desire to breathe life into compositions, to add colour and vibrancy, could lead to interpretations that were somewhat apart from the original text of the composer. His large musical personality could sometimes come between the composer and the audience, but then, Friedman was an interpretative performer (as were many musicians of his era) whose readings stemmed from his own feeling about the work he was playing, rather than subjugating himself entirely to what (he imagined) the composer would have wanted.

All of Ignaz Friedman’s recordings were made for Columbia, and the most famous of these are selections of Chopin’s mazurkas and Mendelssohn’s Lieder ohne Worte as well as Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat Op. 55 No. 2. Harold Schonberg famously described the latter when he said it ‘…may well be the most beautiful, singing, perfectly proportioned performance of a Chopin nocturne ever put on records’. Friedman’s love of rhythm and colour can be heard to full effect in his recordings of Chopin’s mazurkas. The infectious swing of his subtly-controlled rhythm is irresistible, whilst his tone production in Mendelssohn’s Lieder ohne Worte is something of pure beauty. This singing tone that Friedman produces has rarely, if ever, been equalled in these works. The few recordings of Chopin’s études are extraordinary. Both Op. 10 No. 7 and No. 12 are given performances of great bravura and drama with absolutely no sign of strain being put upon Friedman’s technique as he dashes these works off with aplomb. The same can be said of his dazzling recording of Busoni’s arrangement of Liszt’s La Campanella. Friedman again plays with unbridled bravura, in an astonishing performance that sweeps the listener along; although these traits can have a certain drawback in some works, such as Hummel’s Rondo in E flat, where Friedman’s impetuosity sounds incongruous.

Friedman’s only released concerto recording is disappointing. He recorded the Grieg Piano Concerto Op. 16 with an unidentified and under-rehearsed orchestra in 1928. An eminent critic once said that it sounds as though Friedman is playing with his legs crossed and a fat cigar wedged in the corner of his mouth. That is not to say that it is a slap-dash affair, but it is hardly a committed performance. What a thrill it would be to hear Friedman’s recording of Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto, made with Henry Wood and the New Queen’s Hall Orchestra in 1927 but never issued and now probably destroyed.

Friedman often played chamber music during his career, but only recorded one work with an instrumentalist, and that was Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata with Bronisław Huberman. Some of Friedman’s most delightful recordings are those of encore pieces of his own composition. His recording of his own Elle danse is full of teasing rubato and as two takes were published, we can compare different recordings of the same piece and note that Friedman plays differently in each. One ends quietly, the other loudly, Friedman playing as he felt on the day. Friedman’s complete commercial recordings have been issued on five compact discs by Naxos. Two short broadcasts have survived from New Zealand radio in 1941. Unfortunately, Friedman does not play the piano in these, but speaks on Chopin and Paderewski.

One of the greatest of the Leschetizky pupils, Friedman was without doubt one of the great pianists of the Golden Age, a larger-than-life musical personality whose character infused everything he played.

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — Jonathan Summers (A–Z of Pianists, Naxos 8.558107–10)

Gerhard Frommel was born on 7 August 1906 in Karlsruhe. He studied first with Hermann Grabner and then, from 1926 to 1928, attended masterclasses given by Hans Pfitzner. He was Professor of Composition at the universities of Frankfurt-am-Main and Stuttgart, among other institutions, and during the war he was active in the Frankfurt Musikhochschule. After 1950, tonal music, including that of Frommel, was regarded in Germany as fascist and was supplanted by dodecaphony and its further developments. Frommel died on 22 June 1984 in Stuttgart.

Anis Fuleihan made an intensive study of Middle Eastern traditional music as early as the 1920s, and there are traces of this preoccupation in his Piano Sonata No. 9. Inasmuch as he was director of the Beirut Conservatory from 1953 to 1960, and conductor of Beirut’s orchestra during the same period, Fuleihan is one of the founding fathers of Lebanese symphonic music. Although he was the scion of an old Lebanese family, Fuleihan was born and brought up in the town of Kyrenia in Cyprus and spent most of his life in the USA, where he made a name for himself as a pianist, conductor and composer. In the 1930s he worked for the publishing house G. Schirmer and had a good network of contacts among the big names in the music world of the time. His orchestral works were premièred by the likes of John Barbirolli and Leopold Stokowski, and he himself frequently conducted the New York Philharmonic. After teaching at Indiana University for many years, Fuleihan held appointments first in Beirut and later in Tunisia, where he founded the Orchestre Classique de Tunis in 1962. Not only his biography, but also his music gives the impression that he was a focussed and vigorous cosmopolitan.

Boghos Gelalian was born into an Armenian family that had fled to the Mediterranean city of Alexandretta to escape the Ottoman genocide. Already born into exile, and having lost his parents during a malaria epidemic, Gelalian (like many other Armenians) sought refuge in Lebanon when Turkey annexed Alexandretta, earning his living as a pianist in nightclubs, then working as a music arranger for radio. As musical advisor to the Rahbani brothers, he went on to play a significant role in the singer Fairuz’s rise to become a legendary icon of Arabic music. Fairuz’s son Ziad Rahbani, who later became the Lebanese left wing’s figurehead, was also one of his pupils. Despite his familiarity with jazz and light music and the Turkish and Arabic traditions, Gelalian’s own compositions are uncompromisingly modern. Their intense chromaticism occasionally verges on atonality, whilst also—astonishingly—being derived from Armenian and oriental modes.

In a period in which American nationalist music was developing with composers of the calibre of Aaron Copland and others trained in Europe, George Gershwin, the son of Russian Jewish immigrant parents, went some way towards bridging the wide gap between Tin Pan Alley and serious music. He won success as a composer of light music, songs and musicals, but in a relatively small number of compositions he made forays into a new form of classical repertoire.

Stage Works

Gershwin won serious attention with his opera Porgy and Bess, a drama of Black America, set at first in Catfish Row, Charleston, South Carolina. There is an effective instrumental suite, Catfish Row, derived from the opera, while the attractive song ‘Summertime’ has proved particularly memorable.

Orchestral Music

Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, written in 1924 for Paul Whiteman and his jazz band, marries jazz with something of the classical concerto form, an avenue further explored in Gershwin’s Piano Concerto of the following year. The tone poem An American in Paris again offers a synthesis between apparently divergent forms of music.

Piano Music

Gershwin’s piano music includes the three preludes, written in 1926, pieces that retain a modest place in modern American piano repertoire.

Philip Glass (b. 1937) discovered “modern” music while working as a teenager in his father’s Baltimore record shop. When he graduated with a master’s degree in composition from Juilliard in 1962, he had studied with William Bergsma, Vincent Persichetti and Darius Milhaud. His early works subscribed to the twelve-tone system and other advanced techniques. But in spite of some success (including a BMI Award and a Ford Foundation Grant), he grew increasingly dissatisfied with his music. “I had reached a kind of dead end. I just didn’t believe in my music anymore,” he said. A 1964 Fulbright Scholarship brought him to Paris, where he studied with Nadia Boulanger and met Ravi Shankar, the Indian sitar virtuoso. In their different ways, those two individuals transformed his work. Boulanger, in his words, “completely remade my technique,” and Shankar introduced him to “a whole different tradition of music that I knew nothing about.” He rejected his previous concepts and developed a system in which the modular form and repetitive structure of Indian music were wedded to traditional Western ideas of melody and simple triadic harmony.

After returning to the United States in 1967, he formed the Philip Glass Ensemble: three saxophonists (doubling on flutes), three keyboard players (including himself), a singer and a sound engineer. Embraced by the progressive art and theatrical community in New York City during the early 1970s, the Ensemble performed in art galleries, artist lofts and museum spaces rather than traditional performing art centres. It soon began to tour and make recordings, providing Glass with a stage on which to première and promote his ever-growing catalogue of works. It established him as a contemporary voice with something personal and thought-provoking to say, and since those heady early days he has never looked back. Although he has sometimes been labelled a “minimalist” along with composers such as Steve Reich and Terry Riley, Glass rejects the term.

Glinka is commonly regarded as the founder of Russian nationalism in music. His influence on Balakirev, self-appointed leader of the later group of five nationalist composers, was considerable. As a child he had some lessons from the Irish pianist John Field, but his association with music remained purely amateur until visits to Italy and in 1833 to Berlin allowed concentrated study and subsequently a greater degree of assurance in his composition, which won serious attention both at home and abroad. His Russian operas offered a synthesis of Western operatic form with Russian melody, while his orchestral music, with skillful instrumentation, offered a combination of the traditional and the exotic. Glinka died in Berlin in 1857.


Glinka’s first Russian opera, A Life for the Tsar, was well received at its first staging in 1836. His second full opera, Ruslan and Lyudmila, with a libretto by Pushkin, proved less acceptable at its first staging in St Petersburg in 1842. The overtures to these operas make effective curtain-raisers.

Orchestral Music

Travel abroad inspired the Spanish mood of Capriccio brillante on the Jota aragonesa, also known as the ‘First Spanish Overture’. The second overture of the series was expanded from Recuerdos de Castilla (‘Souvenirs of Castile’) into Souvenir d’une nuit d’été à Madrid (‘Memory of a Summer Night in Madrid’). Kamarinskaya, written in Warsaw, uses Slavic thematic material.

A violist and pupil of Henri Vieuxtemps, the French composer Benjamin Louis Paul Godard won a precociously early reputation as a composer of salon music, with a series of pieces that would once have found a ready place in any album of piano music. His other music, influenced by contemporary German trends, is more substantial, if neglected.


Godard is chiefly remembered for his operas. Les bijoux de Jeanette, his first opera, was produced in 1878, followed by Pedro de Zalamea in 1884 and Jocelyn in 1888. The Berceuse from Jocelyn proved its most popular element and has been arranged for numerous combinations of instruments and voices. Other operas were unsuccessful, although his final comic opera La vivandière, left incomplete at his death, seemed to promise more.

Orchestral Music

The four published symphonies of Godard include a Symphonie gothique and a Symphonie orientale, while his concertos consist of two Piano Concertos and two Violin Concertos, the first a Concert romantique. Other works include orchestral arrangement of the piano Scènes italiennes and Scènes écossaises.

Chamber Music

Godard wrote five Violin Sonatas and a series of other pieces for violin and piano and other ensembles.

Piano Music

Much of Godard’s piano music is in the form of salon pieces of no great pretensions, designed for a lucrative popular market.

Louis Théodore Gouvy was born in the Saarland town of Goffontaine (today Schafbrücke) just east of Saarbrücken, into a French-speaking industrialist family of Walloon origins. Prussian by birth, he had to wait until 1851 to be granted French nationality, by which time he had met the requirement to be resident in France for ten years.

Gouvy began piano lessons with a private tutor at the age of eight, and was educated in France—Sarreguemines, then Metz—developing a keen interest in Classical Greek culture and in modern languages—not only German, which he spoke fluently, but English and Italian as well. In 1837 he went to Paris to study law, continuing his piano lessons with a pupil of the pianist and composer Henri Herz (1803–1888).

Two years later, he made up his mind to abandon any thoughts of a career in the law and to devote himself to music. He explained his plans to his mother: “My goal, my ambition is not to become a teacher or a professional pianist. Music means more to me than that. Last Sunday at the Conservatoire I heard a symphony by M. Reber… Now that’s something I regard very differently than I do the ten digits of M. Liszt; that’s a goal I should truly be proud to achieve.” He began studying harmony and counterpoint with Antoine Elwart, who taught at the conservatoire, and took violin lessons with a young German violinist named Carl Eckert, a former pupil of Mendelssohn. In 1841 he undertook advanced piano studies with Pierre Zimmermann, another teacher at the conservatoire.

The following November Gouvy travelled to Germany, meeting Spohr in Frankfurt and Mendelssohn in Leipzig. On 23 November he reached Berlin, where he met Meyerbeer and Liszt. After visiting Dresden, Prague, Nuremberg and Mannheim, he returned to Goffontaine. On 11 March 1844 in Paris, at a concert in the series known as the Concerts Vivienne, the first public performance of one of his works took place, conducted by Elwart: an Overture for orchestra he had written in Berlin. Two days later, Gouvy decided to travel to Rome. He remained in Italy until May 1845, drawing inspiration from the stimulating and creative circles in which he moved, mixing not only with musicians such as Eckert and the Danish composer Niels Gade, but also with artists. Although Rossini, whom he met in Bologna, advised him to write for the stage, he ultimately chose instead to compose his First Symphony, Op. 9, completed on 12 March 1845. On returning to France, he invested all his energies into getting his symphony performed. It was heard in Paris at a private concert on 7 February 1846, then in public on 17 December 1847, and was very well received by audience and critics alike.

Thereafter, Gouvy would spend his winters and springs in Paris, promoting his music and cultivating his contacts, and his summers and autumns in Goffontaine, composing. He stood out in French musical life as a composer of orchestral and chamber music.

Over the next few years, most of the works he wrote were vocal pieces, both sacred—Requiem, Op. 70 (1874), Stabat Mater, Op. 65 (1875)—and secular, such as the trilogy of dramatic cantatas inspired by Ancient Greece—OEdipe à Colonne, Op. 75 (1880), Iphigénie en Tauride, Op. 76 (1883), and Electre, Op. 85 (1886). All of these were successfully performed in the main musical centres of Germany, Gouvy by then having established many contacts in the country, helped perhaps by the family of his German sister-in-law Henriette (née Böcking), herself a talented musician. Those contacts included such eminent names as Hiller, Reinecke, Gernsheim, Clara Schumann, Bargiel, Brahms, Joachim and Bruch. Tchaikovsky met Gouvy at Reinecke’s home and later described him as entirely “Germanized”, adding, “Perhaps M. Gouvy has good reason to complain about France, but it was painful for me to hear him praise all things German at the expense of all things French”. This notwithstanding, Gouvy was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1894 on the death of Anton Rubinstein, and to the König-Preussische Akademie in Berlin in 1895. He died in Leipzig on 21 April 1898.

The Australian pianist and composer Percy Grainger, an eccentric figure, may seem of marginal importance. Nevertheless he wrote a number of works that continue to give considerable pleasure, as do some of the remarkable arrangements that he devised. He became a friend of Grieg and of Delius and took a strong interest in the active collection of folk songs. He gave particular attention to the creation of music not bound by the traditional restraints of form and harmony. In 1918 he became an American citizen.

Instrumental Music

Grainger’s original instrumental music includes the delightful Handel in the Strand, intended for piano trio, piano quartet or string orchestra, and Mock Morris, for either string sextet or violin and piano, or again in arrangements for string or full orchestra. Harvest Hymn appears in various chamber or orchestral arrangements, while Walking Tune remains in its original wind quintet form. Folk-song arrangements for various groups of instruments, sometimes idiosyncratically described as with elastic scoring, include Early One Morning, Green Bushes, Molly on the Shore, Ye Banks and Braes and Shepherd’s Hey. Some of these were also arranged for large wind ensemble.

Vocal Music

Grainger wrote some original songs and choral music as well as solo and choral arrangements of folk songs. These include Irish Tune from County Derry, also arranged for wind band, Brigg Fair for tenor and chorus and The Men of Harlech for double chorus and drums.

Keyboard Music

Country Gardens, apparently derived from a medieval source, occurs in arrangements by Grainger for up to eight hands. Molly on the Shore is arranged for solo piano or piano duet, with similar versions of Shepherd’s Hey and Spoon River.

Edvard Grieg is the most important Norwegian composer of the later 19th century, a period of growing national consciousness. As a child, he was encouraged by the violinist Ole Bull, a friend of his parents, and studied at the Leipzig Conservatory on his suggestion. After a period at home in Norway he moved to Copenhagen, where he met the young composer Rikard Nordraak, an enthusiastic champion of Norwegian music and a decisive influence on him. Grieg’s own performances of Norwegian music, often with his wife, the singer Nina Hagerup, established him as a leading figure in the music of his own country, bringing subsequent collaboration in the theatre with Bjørnson and with Ibsen. He continued to divide his time between composition and activity in the concert hall until his death in 1907.

Stage Works

Grieg collaborated with the dramatist Bjørnson in the play Sigurd Jorsalfar, for which he provided incidental music, and still more notably with Ibsen in Peer Gynt. The original music for the latter makes use of solo voices, chorus and orchestra but is most often heard in orchestral form in the two suites arranged by the composer. These include ‘Morning’, ‘Aase’s Death’, ‘Anitra’s Dance’ and ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ in the first suite, and ‘Ceremonial March’, ‘Arabian Dance’, ‘Peer Gynt’s Homecoming’ and ‘Solveig’s Song’ in the second, the order not corresponding to the sequence of events in Ibsen’s remarkable play.

Orchestral Music

In addition to the two Peer Gynt suites and three pieces from Sigurd Jorsalfar, Grieg wrote one of the most famous of all Romantic piano concertos, completed in 1868. The so-called ‘Holberg Suite’, more correctly From the Time of Holberg, for string orchestra, celebrates the Norwegian playwright Ludvig Holberg, the Scandinavian Molière who was an almost exact contemporary of J.S. Bach and Handel. The Two Elegiac Melodies of 1881 are also for strings only; and the Lyric Suite, based on four piano pieces of 1891, was orchestrated in 1904.

Chamber Music

Grieg’s three violin sonatas remain a part of standard Romantic repertoire, revealing his mastery of harmonic colour in the clearest of textures. The third of these, in C minor, was completed in 1887 and is particularly striking. Other chamber music includes a String Quartet in G minor, two movements of a String Quartet in F, and his Cello Sonata, written in 1883.

Piano Music

As a pianist himself, Grieg wrote extensively for the piano, excelling, in particular, in his 10 volumes of Lyric Pieces, and in other sets of short compositions for the instrument, often derived directly or indirectly from Norwegian folk music.

Vocal Music

Grieg wrote 140 songs, many inspired by his wife, a singer. They set a wide variety of texts and form an important element of his music, comparable to other songs of the period in quality and expressiveness.

Philip Hammond was born in Belfast in 1951. He graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in l974 as a Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts and was awarded a Doctorate of Music from Queen’s in July 2003. His career has encompassed teaching, performing and writing. His work as a broadcaster and composer brings him regularly before public attention either on radio, television or on the concert platform. He was appointed a director of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 1988 and seconded to the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure from 2005–2007 in order to programme and direct a four month arts festival in Washington DC as part of “Rediscover Northern Ireland”. He retired from the Arts Council in 2009.

As a composer, Philip Hammond has been regularly commissioned by individuals and groups in Ireland and in Britain such as the Ulster Orchestra, the contemporary ensemble Lontano, the Brodsky String Quartet, James Galway, Sarah Walker, Suzanne Murphy, Tasmin Little, Barry Douglas, Nikolai Demidenko and Ann Murray. He is often commissioned as an “occasional” composer and his Waterfront Fanfares (1997) were written to open the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. His …the starry dynamo in the machinery of night… was specially commissioned by Queen’s University to celebrate the visit of President Clinton in May 2001. The National Youth Orchestra of Ireland commissioned and performed his Carnavalesque for Double Orchestra and Percussion in July 2003. In 2005, his …while the sun shines was commissioned by BBC Radio Three to celebrate the music of the great Irish conductor and composer Sir Hamilton Harty (in 1979, Philip Hammond contributed two biographical chapters to a book on Sir Hamilton Harty (Blackstaff, 1979). Philip Hammond’s Requiem for the Lost Souls of the Titanic for choruses and brass was premiered in April 2012 on the exact hundredth anniversary of the ship’s demise.

Adolf von Henselt was born in the Bavarian town of Schwabach on 9 May 1814. Praised by Liszt for his unequalled cantabile playing, Henselt belonged to a galaxy of star pianists who were all of a similar age. These included Chopin, Schumann, Thalberg and, of course, Liszt.

Although Henselt began his musical studies on the violin, he soon changed to the piano and made spectacularly rapid progress. It was as a child that he developed a strong and permanent affinity with the musical Romanticism of Carl Maria von Weber. After studying with Johann Nepomuk Hummel in Weimar and Simon Sechter in Vienna, he withdrew from the limelight for two years in order to perfect his unique way of playing widely spaced chords without recourse to the sustaining pedal. In view of the permanent damage that Robert Schumann reportedly did to his own hands while experimenting with stretching exercises, Henselt must surely have been taking a huge risk in persevering with his idiosyncratic technique. But his determination seems to have paid off, for even Liszt is said to have blanched at certain aspects of Henselt’s piano playing that bordered on the reckless.

For all his prowess at the keyboard, Henselt always suffered badly from stage fright, and when he was 22 he suffered a nervous breakdown. Diagnosed with severe strain from overwork, he was advised to take things easy for a while, so he travelled to Carlsbad (Karlovy Váry) in the hope that the pleasures of this Bohemian spa town would act as a tonic and aid his recuperation. Nineteenth-century sources maintain that he met Chopin here, but there is scant evidence to back up such a claim. In other respects, however, the year 1836 did prove to be auspicious for Henselt because he made the acquaintance of Rosalie Vogel, the wife of a Weimar court physician. By degrees, she impressed herself upon him so much that they became musical, and then physical, soulmates. As might be imagined, Dr Vogel was far from pleased, but he was powerless to prevent the lovestruck pair from marrying in the autumn of the following year.

In 1838 Henselt moved to St Petersburg after making a great impression on the tsar’s daughter, Maria Pavlovna, who like himself was a pupil of Hummel’s. His new appointment coincided with a flurry of compositional activity that was fuelled by his continuing enchantment with Rosalie.

Over the next few years Henselt’s public performances became fewer in number and he also wrote less music. His time was largely taken up with teaching in the imperial household and travelling throughout Russia as inspector general of music schools and teaching academies. Along with his colleague Anton Rubinstein, he was important in establishing a truly Russian school of piano playing, which was later so notably represented by Sergey Rachmaninov.

In 1889 Henselt (now sporting an aristocratic ‘von’ before his surname), died in the Silesian spa town of Warmbrunn (Cieplice). An obituary in The Musical Times mentions his English visits of 1852 and 1867, and reports that during the second one he refrained from playing in public. This reluctance to perform supports the view that he never fully overcame his chronic stage fright. However, despite this handicap and his heavy workload in Russia, he did compose a small number of works during the 1850s.

Born in Rothenburg am Neckar, Franz Anton Hoffmeister went to Vienna to study law, leaving in 1778 to serve as Kapellmeister to a nobleman in Hungary. By 1784 he was back in Vienna, where he set up a music publishing business, establishing a close association with Mozart. In 1795 he signed much of his business over to Artaria. In 1800 he started another publishing enterprise with the Leipzig organist Ambrosius Kühnel, a business which later was taken over by C.F. Peters. Hoffmeister left Leipzig and returned to Vienna in 1805. He published works by many of his contemporaries.

Vocal and Instrumental Music

Hoffmeister contributed to many genres of music. For the theatre he wrote operettas, Singspiel and operas, as well as other sacred and secular vocal music. For the orchestra he composed 44 symphonies, 13 of which are lost and 15 published. He was particularly prolific in chamber music, with a quantity of string quartets and flute quartets among many other works, including trios, duo sonatas, and violin or flute sonatas, all very much in the accepted style of his time.

Both of Josef Hofmann’s parents were musicians, his mother a singer of light opera and his father a conductor of the Kraków theatre and professor of piano and harmony at the Warsaw Conservatory. Young Josef was, however, a phenomenally gifted child who learnt the basics of music at the age of three, gave his debut at the Warsaw Opera House at five, and when he played again in Warsaw at the age of seven was heard by the great Russian pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein. At Rubinstein’s urging, the German impresario Hermann Wolff wanted to manage the boy and send him on a tour of Europe. Casimir, Josef’s father, would not allow this until the boy was nine years old. This amazing child prodigy played in Germany, France, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Britain. He played Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 Op. 15 in Berlin with the Berlin Philharmonic, and in London performed the same work with the Royal Philharmonic Society.

The following year a tour of America was arranged for the young Hofmann. He was to play eighty concerts, performing four times a week. Wherever he played the eleven-year-old boy caused a sensation with his playing and improvising. After three months of performances which included fifty recitals, seventeen of which were at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children stepped in citing the boy’s fragile health. Josef had been offered $10,000 for the American tour, but a benefactor offered Casimir $50,000 on the condition that Josef would not appear in public until he was eighteen years of age. The rest of the tour was cancelled and the family returned to Germany.

In Berlin, Hofmann took some lessons from pianist and composer Moritz Moszkowski who realised however that he could teach Hofmann very little.It was in 1892, when Hofmann was sixteen, that he became a private pupil of Anton Rubinstein who had himself been an exploited child prodigy and was by then the greatest living pianist. Once a week in winter, and twice a week in summer, Hofmann travelled from Berlin to Dresden to study with Rubinstein. During this two-year period he had around forty lessons with the great master, later describing the relationship he formed with Rubinstein as ‘the most important event of my life’.

At his adult debut in Hamburg Hofmann played Rubinstein’s Piano Concerto No. 4 Op. 70 with the composer conducting, giving such a wonderful performance that Rubinstein declared there was nothing left to teach him. That was in March of 1894; Rubinstein returned to Russia and died in the November. Hofmann played in England in June and November of 1894, and from then on led the life of a touring virtuoso for forty years, playing in Russia, Europe, North and South America and Mexico. He lived in Berlin until 1918 and then moved to the United States. In 1924 Hofmann was appointed head of the piano department of the newly formed Curtis Institute of Music and from 1927 was its director for just over ten years. His most famous pupil was Shura Cherkassky. In 1937 Hofmann celebrated his Golden Jubilee at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, an occasion introduced by Walter Damrosch who had been at the young Hofmann’s debut in 1887. Hofmann moved to Los Angeles in 1939 and after 1940 reduced his concert appearances, giving his last concert at Camp Wigwam, Maine in August 1948.

Hofmann was also a composer publishing more than one hundred works, many under the pseudonym Michel Dvorsky; he performed his own Chromaticon for piano and orchestra at his Golden Jubilee concert. As a child he was gifted not only in music, but in mathematics, science and mechanics and by the time of his death he owned more than seventy patents for items such as pneumatic springs, a windshield wiper, and many devices for the improvement of amplification in pianos.

Hofmann showed that rare combination of almost excessive artistic gifts allied with a great capacity for work and study. Like his teacher Anton Rubinstein, he gave a series of Historical Recitals. At the Salle de la Noblesse in St Petersburg, from November 1912 until February 1913 he played 255 works in twenty-one recitals, all from memory. Hofmann’s repertoire was extensive, but the composers he favoured were Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann and Liszt. Apparently he played little French music (Debussy’s Clair de Lune was an exception), and only a few works by twentieth-century Russians, including Rachmaninov and Prokofiev. He was personally acquainted with Scriabin, and in London in 1926 played Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No. 4 Op. 30 and Balakirev’s Islamey in the same programme as he played Three Chinese Pieces by Abram Chasins at the Wigmore Hall. After a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Op. 111, Abram Chasins attemped to convey to Hofmann the power of his performance. Hofmann modestly replied, ‘I’m very sorry for you that you never heard my master. Why… I’m a child—all of us put together are infants—compared to his titanic force.’

Hofmann’s unique abilities incorporated a technique second to none, and a clarity and pureness of tone that has probably never been heard since his death. Until his final years Hofmann had incredible control over dynamics and his virtuosity. He was always in total command of everything he played, presenting each work with an impression of complete facility.

Hofmann was the first artist of note to record when, as a child of ten, he was recorded by Thomas Edison with whom he kept in correspondence about matters scientific and technical. For a pianist of his stature, Hofmann’s commercial recordings can be frustrating and unrepresentative. His first commercial recordings were made in Berlin in 1903 for the Gramophone and Typewriter Company. He was twenty-seven years old, yet the discs are on the whole disappointing and uninteresting: perhaps he felt constrained by the recording studio. From 1912 to 1918 Hofmann recorded for Columbia and from these acoustic sessions come some of his best recorded performances including Liszt’s Tarantella from Venezia e Napoli and Moszkowski’s Caprice Espagnol, both including extraordinarily accurate repeated notes. Other highlights include the Prélude in G minor Op. 23 No. 5 by his friend Rachmaninov, who dedicated his Piano Concerto No. 3 Op. 30 to Hofmann, although he never played it in public.

Hofmann’s next commercial discs were made for Brunswick in 1922 and 1923. From these few sessions, again acoustic, come the scintillating Feuerzaubermusik by Wagner, arranged for piano by Louis Brassin. Many of the other titles recorded had already been issued by Columbia, but there is also a fine (though abridged) Scherzo in B minor Op. 20 by Chopin, and by Liszt, the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 and an impressive La Campanella which was unpublished at the time. The question then arises, why did Hofmann make no further commercial recordings in the late 1920s and 1930s when the sonically superior electrical process was introduced and he was at the height of his powers? He did in fact record for RCA in 1935, but these sides were not issued at the time, although they have since appeared in Marston’s The Complete Josef Hofmann series of compact discs. Most important among them is a complete performance of the first movement of Chopin’s Piano Sonata in B minor Op. 58, where one can hear Hofmann in an extended movement rather than the many encore works he recorded. In this work he is one of the few pianists to make musical sense of the chromatic development section. After hearing a performance of the complete sonata in 1940, Virgil Thomson wrote, ‘The Chopin B minor Sonata was my completest enjoyment of the evening. Mr Hofmann has always put his super-best into Chopin. So it is just as well to mention in that connection certain technical and musical excellences that are the very substance of Mr Hofmann’s piano-playing, because it is in his playing of that composer’s works that they are most sumptuously and completely laid before us.’ In November of 1935 whilst in England, Hofmann recorded five sides for HMV, and of these the most important is of the scherzo from Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in E flat Op. 31 No. 3 which he never otherwise recorded. It is known that Hofmann was particularly satisfied with the HMV discs, but they were never released until well after his death. Piecing together the rest of the Hofmann picture can be done with surviving recordings of radio broadcasts and live performances.

A part of Hofmann’s performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor Op. 11 at the Queen’s Hall in London in 1935 has survived. The sound is poor, but complete performances of both Chopin concertos survive from the late 1930s and are some of the most extraordinary piano playing captured on disc. Hofmann’s dexterity and clarity in the third movement of the Concerto No. 1 is extraordinary. It should be mentioned here that Hofmann’s recorded performances divide critical opinion today. At the height of his career in the 1920s and 1930s Hofmann was without peer in the pianistic world; most of his professional colleagues acknowledged him as such. However, by the early 1940s circumstances in his personal life had led to him becoming reliant on alcohol and this affected his performances, some of which have survived from the Bell Telephone Hour Programme. In the late 1960s Hofmann’s recorded performances were described in print as ‘…the lowest debasement conceivable of a noble and aristocratic art’. In the 1970s a well-known English critic described Hofmann’s ‘…arrogant refusal to acknowledge even the most basic directions… and the way Hofmann’s legendary ‘virtuosity’ collapses so quickly into so much uncontrolled gibberish’. Like all pianists of his era Hofmann was an individual with his own sound and his own understanding of a composer’s score. Today, in an era in which most pianists attempt to persuade their audience that they are offering the composer’s music as he intended it, it is difficult for many to comprehend an artist like Hofmann who would express his conception of a work in the way he thought appropriate.Hofmann’s view of Chopin is chaste, with delicate filigree playing of ornamentation. The larghetto from the Piano Concerto No. 2 Op. 21 is an excellent example of Hofmann’s understanding of this composer; it is a vocal interpretation at times almost sounding as a speaking voice. Other surviving live performances include Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos 4 and 5 and the Concertos Nos 3 and 4 by Hofmann’s teacher Anton Rubinstein. He chose to play Rubinstein’s Concerto No. 4 Op. 70 at his Golden Jubilee Concert at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in 1937; miraculously, the whole concert was recorded, including his solos. His tone in the slow movement of the concerto is extraordinary for its richness and quality of sound, attributes often admired in Anton Rubinstein himself. Hofmann celebrated his Jubilee in Philadelphia on 4 April 1938 with a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 Op. 58 conducted by Eugene Ormandy. It is a performance of chaste poetry, light and shade. The solos, which he also performed at the New York Jubilee, were also recorded.

Another complete surviving concert was the one Hofmann gave at the Curtis Institute three days later. Of interest here are performances of major works not otherwise recorded by Hofmann: Beethoven’s ‘Waldstein’ Sonata Op. 53 and Schumann’s Kreisleriana Op. 16. It is the ‘Waldstein’ Sonata that so upsets today’s critics, and also the fact that Hofmann omitted parts of Kreisleriana. Hofmann also gives a stunning performance of his own Kaleidoskop Op. 40 No. 4 and a titanic reading of Chopin’s Ballade No. 4 in F minor Op. 52. It is here that Hofmann’s enormous dynamic range and intensity can be heard in a performance that comes close to the descriptions of the playing of Anton Rubinstein. Recordings of Hofmann broadcasts still continue to be discovered; another performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major Op. 58 given in 1943 with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Dimitri Mitropoulos has been issued by Marston, and Marston’s The Complete Josef Hofmann series is now to include recently discovered cylinder recordings from the 1890s in Volume 9 (the final volume of the set).

Hofmann was one of the greatest of pianists from the Golden Age, or any age. His was a totally individual voice, instantly recognisable, like that of his pupil Shura Cherkassky, and unlike anything that can be heard today. Whether one likes or dislikes Hofmann’s style, it can never be denied that he was one of the most prodigiously gifted musicians to have ever graced this earth.

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — Jonathan Summers (A–Z of Pianists, Naxos 8.558107–10)

Jaberi, Afshin

The brief but intense life of Czech composer and conductor Vítězslava Kaprálová (1915–1940) was set between the two world wars in the period of the First Czechoslovak Republic to whose modernist movement she belonged. Kaprálová’s creative development began in her hometown of Brno, stimulated first by the cultured environment of her own family and its circle of friends, among whom were some of the finest musicians and music scholars of the new republic. Her natural talent was recognized early and nurtured by her parents who both played an important role in Kaprálová’s early musical development. Her mother Vítězslava, born Uhlířová (1890–1973), was a qualified voice teacher; her father, Václav Kaprál (1889–1947), was a composer (a pupil of Leoš Janáček), teacher, pianist, choirmaster and music editor. The city’s conservatory, where young Kaprálová pursued a double major in composition and conducting from 1930–1935, provided a solid foundation for her education, which was further advanced by her studies under composer Vítězslav Novák and conductor Václav Talich at the Prague Conservatory from 1935–1937. Following her graduation from the conservatory’s Master School in 1937 and aided by a French government scholarship, Kaprálová moved to Paris, where she continued her studies in conducting with Charles Munch at the École normale de musique, while also taking private lessons in composition with Paris-based Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů. Martinů’s often cited influence on Kaprálová’s musical development is overestimated, however, for the music of Igor Stravinsky and her father in particular exerted as strong an influence on the young composer. There is no doubt that when Kaprálová died in 1940, possibly from typhoid fever, just two months after marrying Alphonse Mucha’s son, the world of classical music was robbed of a burgeoning talent and a highly individual voice.

Like her composer father, Kaprálová was drawn to piano as her natural instrument, and piano compositions are well represented in her relatively large creative output that includes about fifty compositions. Piano also played a crucial role in her music as a compositional tool with which she experimented in both smaller and larger forms. It is therefore not surprising that her most original and sophisticated works are for this instrument: from her Sonata appassionata and Piano Concerto in D Minor to April Preludes and Variations sur le carillon de l’église St.-Etienne-du-Mont (and the Martinů–influenced, neoclassical Partita in which piano also plays an important percussive role). Piano compositions arguably represent the best of Kaprálová’s music which abounds in fresh and bold ideas, humour, passion and tenderness, and is imbued with youthful energy.

Murad Magomedovich Kazhlaev was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in January 1931, the son of an ENT specialist. He studied at the Azerbaijan State Conservatory, initially in the junior school (1938–49) and then in the senior faculty (1950–55), graduating from the composition class of Boris Zeidman (1908–81), a Leningrad student of Maximilian Steinberg (Rimsky-Korsakov’s son-in-law), the teacher of Shostakovich and Shaporin. He worked additionally with the Dagestani pioneer Gotfrid Hasanov and pursued conducting under Niyazi (Zulfigar oğlu Tagizade Hajibeyov, 1912–84), for nearly fifty years the iconic music director of the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra. Kazhlaev’s ethnicity is Lak, one of the tribal peoples of Dagestan.

A skilled pianist (he knew Richter, a patient of his father’s, frequently driving him around old Baku), Kazhlaev settled in Makhachkala, Dagestan’s fortress capital, in 1955. Here he taught theory, cofounded the Dagestan Composers’ Union (having been elected to the USSR Composers’ Union in 1954, while still a student), and directed the Dagestan Radio Symphony Orchestra (1957–63). Recipient of the Glinka State Prize (1970) and People’s Artist of the USSR (1981), he moved to Moscow in January 1989, taking up an eighteen-year appointment as artistic director and conductor of the prestigious Academic Grand Concert Orchestra of State Radio and Television (latterly the Yuri Silantyev Academic Grand Concert Orchestra), Russia’s flagship popular music, big band, variety and and jazz outfit but with a programming policy embracing also classicoromantic repertory and contemporary premieres. In 1993 he was appointed professor of composition at the State Rachmaninov Conservatoire, Rostov-on-Don. In January 2016, on the occasion of his 85th birthday, he was created an Honoured Artist of Dagestan.

Kazhlaev’s catalogue ranges from nationalist orchestral works to circus numbers, ballet to operetta, musical to revue commissions to songs and romances—all overtly harmonic, tuneful and vibrantly imagined. His jazz, big band, light music and film output, getting on for two hundred scores, affirms the studio professional working against the clock. Teeming with pigment, atmosphere and show-stopping numbers, the spectacularly orchestrated 1968 Dagestani ballet Gorynka (The Mountain Girl), produced at the Kirov (Mariinsky Theatre) with Barïshnikov, compares more than favourably with Khachaturian’s wartime Gayane: a veritable banquet of lyric chorus and percussive attack, nasal reeds and Caucasian trumpet, with shards of Rachmaninov and Sacre adding black powder to the cocktail.

Aram Khachaturian was one of the most popular composers of the Soviet period of Russian history, successfully managing to combine the folk music of his native Armenia with the more formal Russian musical tradition as represented by Rimsky-Korsakov. Born in 1903, he showed early signs of a love of music, but his formal training did not begin until 1922, when he was admitted to the famous Gnessin Institute in Moscow (his family having moved there the previous year) and continued at the Moscow Conservatory with the eminent composer Myaskovsky. The first major work of Khachaturian to be performed was his Symphony No. 1 (1934). International acclaim greeted his rambunctious Piano Concerto of 1936, the success of which was quickly duplicated with the Violin Concerto of 1940, and throughout the 1940s Khachaturian composed many successful works, such as the ballet Gayaneh with its famous “Sabre Dance” (1942), his Symphony No. 2 (1943) and Cello Concerto (1946).

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Patmore (A–Z of Conductors, Naxos 8.558087–90).

Born in Tripoli in 1967 and with a doctorate in musicology, Houtaf Khoury represents the younger generation of Lebanese composers. The formative influences on his work came from the Ukraine, from Kiev, where a grant enabled him to pursue his studies from 1988 to 1997. Khoury shares the scepticism of composers such as Shostakovich, Schnittke and Kancheli vis-à-vis the avant-garde’s obsession with material and the belief that music always conveys a message. His orchestral works, chamber music and compositions for piano are pleas for a more humane world.

Leopold Koželuch was an esteemed contemporary of Mozart, and in many circles considered the finer composer. He was an early champion of the fortepiano and his Keyboard Sonatas are a treasure trove of late eighteenth-century Viennese keyboard style, including perfect examples of the form and foreshadowing Beethoven and Schubert.

Leopold Koželuch was born in Velvary, northwest of Prague in 1747. He was christened Jan Antonín but changed his name to Leopold to avoid confusion with his older cousin, also a musician, of the same name. His Czech family name of Koželuh (‘tanner’) became Koželuch to make it more manageable in German. Cousin Jan Antonín became one of Leopold’s earliest teachers, along with František Xavier Dušek, a noted Czech keyboard player and composer. In 1778, after some success as a composer of ballet music and having relinquished law studies, Koželuch moved to Vienna, Europe’s thriving musical centre and, as Mozart was to remark, ‘the land of the Clavier’. Koželuch soon established a fine reputation as a fortepianist, composer and teacher. By 1781 he was regarded so highly that the Archbishop of Salzburg offered him Mozart’s former post as court organist. He declined, later stating to a friend ‘the Archbishop’s conduct toward Mozart deterred me more than anything; for if he could let such a man as that leave him, what treatment should I have been likely to meet with?’ In 1784 Koželuch founded his own publishing firm (Musikalisches Magazin) in the same year as Hoffmeister and slightly behind Artaria (1778) and Torricella (1781). This was to provide an ideal vehicle for the publication of his compositions. He also forged valuable and profitable links with European publishers, notably in Paris (Boyer, Leduc and Sieber), London (Birchall, Longman and Bland), and Amsterdam. In 1792 he succeeded Mozart as Kammer Kapellmeister and Hofmusik Compositor to Emperor Franz II and remained in that post until his death in 1818. After 1802 Koželuch became associated with George Thomson, a man with an insatiable appetite for Scottish, Irish and Welsh folk-song arrangements (other contributors included Pleyel, Haydn, Beethoven and Hummel). This lucrative work and his court duties kept him busy for the remainder of his working life.

The Norwegian composer Johan Kvandal, a pupil of Marx in Vienna and Nadia Boulanger in Paris, held an important position in the musical life of his country.

Chamber Music

Kvandal’s chamber music includes string quartets and works for wind instruments, written in an approachable idiom that reflects the influence of folk material on his writing.

Of Breton origin, Paul Le Flem studied at the Schola Cantorum under Vincent d’Indy and Roussel, later teaching at the same establishment, where his pupils included Satie and Jolivet. His music is strongly influenced by his native Brittany, the landscape of which is reflected in his work.

Stage Music

Le Flem dramatic works include the operas Le rossignol de St-Malo (‘The Nightingale of St Malo’) and La magicienne de la mer (‘The Magician of the Sea’), as well as the chante-fable Aucassin et Nicolette.

Orchestral Music

In addition to his symphonies, Le Flem wrote evocative orchestral music such as En mer (‘At Sea’) and La voix du large (‘The Voice of the Open Sea’).

Vocal Music

Le Flem set texts by Verlaine and others and arranged for chorus a number of Breton folk-songs.

The composer Artur Lourié (1892–1966) enjoyed an eventful career in pre-war Russia, through the early years of the Soviet Union then Paris between the wars, before settling in New York. Often (unfairly) seen as an epigone of Stravinsky, his mercurial character is to the fore in The Mime (1956), dedicated to Charles Chaplin.

— Richard Whitehouse

Finn Lykkebo began his musical education in earnest at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in 1960—initially as a church musician, and from 1963 onwards also with music theory and music history as principal subjects. He also studied composition under Per Nørgård, and at the same time Lykkebo composed choral settings, piano music and songs, primarily in smaller, more modest forms. Lykkebo always stood slightly on the periphery of the circle of young composers at the Academy, which centred around Per Nørgård. In 1965, when Nørgård left the Royal Danish Academy of Music to take up a similar teaching post at the Academy of Music in Aarhus, his pupils followed him there—with the exception of Finn Lykkebo, who henceforth stood on his own two feet as a composer, and basically regarded himself as self-taught in this capacity. After his diploma exam in 1966, Lykkebo worked as a lecturer in music theory at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Esbjerg (formerly the Vestjysk Musikkonservatorium) until 1981. Works from this period include Tableaux pour piano, composed in 1969 and revised in 1978. Tableaux is Lykkebo’s only published piano composition (it is published by Samfundet til udgivelse af dansk Musik).

Among the artists who were to make their mark on the music scene in Yugoslavia during the mid-twentieth century, Ivo Maček occupies a significant place. Born in Sušak (now Croatia) on 24 March 1914, he trained at the Classical Gymnasium and also at the Music Academy in Zagreb. After graduation in 1934, he studied piano with Svetislav Stančić in Zagreb and composition with Jean Roger-Ducasse in Paris. Having taught at the Lisinki Music School in Zagreb and also holding the post of secretary at the Zagreb Opera, he quickly established himself as a pianist both in concert and in recital, giving performances across Yugoslavia and abroad—appearing with various established artists (such as the cellist Antonio Janigro and the cellist and conductor Enrico Mainardi) then, along with the cellist Mirko Dorner, winning the International Competition for Duo Performance at Vercelli in 1952. He had been the recipient of of a federal Government Award in 1948 and went on to win the Milka Trnina Award for concert performance in 1957–8, underlining his success both as performer and pedagogue.

Maček acted as a juror at numerous international piano competitions such as the Chopin in Warsaw, the Busoni in Bolzano and the J.S. Bach in Leipzig. As well as teaching piano at the Music Academy in Zagreb, he was also chairman of the departments for piano and organ during 1967–70; at the same time taking summer seminars at the Liszt Academy in Weimar. He was a regular member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts, and won many awards such as the Vladimir Nazor Prize for lifetime achievement in 1978, the Josip Slavinsky Award for composition in 1989 and the Lovro von Matačić Award for lifetime achievement in 1992. His editorial work includes teaching editions of piano sonatas by Beethoven and a critical edition of the piano works by Josip Slavenski. He died in Zagreb on 26 May 2002.

The Russian composer and pianist Medtner, of remoter German ancestry, made his early career in Moscow. He left Russia in 1921, finally to settle in England. Described by some as a Russian Brahms, he also had something in common with Rachmaninov, although he was generally more austere in his approach.

Orchestral Music

Medtner wrote chiefly for the piano, and his orchestral music consists of three piano concertos, the first completed in 1918 and the third in 1943. These works make heavy technical demands on the soloist and belong firmly to Late Romantic tradition, any tendency to Slavic exuberance restrained by an element of German Classicism.

Piano Music

Medtner wrote a wide range of piano music, from his 1895 Adagio funèbre, with the direction cacofoniale, through a series of genre pieces to his later Sonata-Idylle. However, they all seem to continue the tradition of Schumann rather than explore the new fields opened up by Russian nationalism and innovation.

Chamber Music

Medtner’s chamber music consists primarily of three violin sonatas, the last of which, the Sonata ‘Epica’ of 1938, makes formidable demands on its performer. There are three Nocturnes for violin and piano (1908) and a posthumously published piano quintet.

Alexander Vasilyevich Mosolov was born in Kiev in 1900, but moved with his family to Moscow three years later. When he was five, his father died, but his widowed mother, a professional singer who worked at the Bolshoi Theatre until 1905, was left comfortably well off. After her husband’s death, she married the painter and designer Michael W. Leblan (1875-1940). She cultivated a cosmopolitan outlook, and the young Alexander was brought up speaking French and German in addition to Russian. The family regularly visited the cultural capitals of western Europe, especially Paris, Berlin and London. During the October Revolution he volunteered to serve in the Red Army, but in 1921 he was medically discharged, suffering from what we would now call post-traumatic stress disorder. He then entered the Moscow Conservatoire and studied composition with Glière and Myaskovsky. In 1927 Prokofiev, who was then living in the West, returned for a concert tour of the Soviet Union. He became acquainted with the music of Mosolov, whom he praised as the most interesting of Russia’s new talents.

In the years following the appearance of The Iron Foundry in 1927 Mosolov was attacked for his pessimism and modernist leanings. He consequently simplified his style, making it more readily accessible, and he abandoned potentially awkward proletarian subject matter. Instead, he developed a keen interest in the folk music of the Soviet Central Asian republics of Turkmenistan and Kyrgystan. The Phantasy for Piano, Turkmenian Nights, published in Vienna in 1929, is a product of this time, although some tough ‘constructivist’ elements do remain in it. Eventually Mosolov’s concern with folk music took over his approach to composition, though not necessarily through choice. For as long as Stalin’s henchmen held Soviet artists in their iron grip, there would be no more tolerance of ‘futurism’, which was considered elitist and not serving the interests of the state. In 1937 Mosolov was arrested for ‘counter-revolutionary activities’ and had an eight-year sentence handed down. Through the offices of some well-connected colleagues, he was released after only eight months, but he was never again able to experiment in his musical work. His youthful prospects as a leading Soviet composer with a rosy future were never fulfilled, and he sank into obscurity. By the time of his death in 1973 he was more or less forgotten, save for The Iron Foundry, which remained his signature piece.

Christian Gottlob Neefe, born in 1748, is remembered today mainly as Beethoven’s first important teacher in Bonn. Neefe (pronounced Nay-fuh) was a respected and successful musician of his time: Court Organist and Kapellmeister of the Electoral Court Orchestra in Bonn, music director of a prominent theatre group, composer of numerous Singspiele (operettas) and other works, and music teacher. He became Beethoven’s teacher around 1780, in piano, organ, thoroughbass, and composition. A great admirer of the Bach family, he introduced Beethoven to the Well-Tempered Clavier of JS Bach, and the music and writings of Bach’s distinguished son, Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach. In addition, Neefe was a sympathetic and fatherly friend to the young Beethoven, who later wrote to him: “I thank you for the counsel which you gave me so often…If I ever become a great man yours shall be a share of the credit.”

Dimitar Nenov was undoubtedly one of the leading figures in Bulgarian classical music from the first half of the twentieth century. A brilliant pianist, composer, and architect, he was a crucial figure for the generation of composers that came after him. It was this group of composers that formed the Bulgarian avant-garde of the 1950s and 1960s.

Born in Razgrad in 1901, Nenov took piano lessons as a child, and in adolescence studied with Andrey Stoyanov. In 1920 he went to Dresden and enrolled simultaneously at the Technische Hochschule in architecture, and at the Dresden Conservatoire in piano, theory, and composition. Upon graduation from the Hochschule in 1927, Nenov returned to Bulgaria, and in the next several years worked as an architect in various capacities. In the early 1930s he began to concentrate his creative efforts exclusively on music, and in 1931 he went to study for six months with Egon Petri in Zakopane, Poland. During the next year he was awarded a diploma in music from Bologna, and between 1933 and 1943 he directed a private conservatoire in Sofia. In 1943, already a well-established pianist, pedagogue, and composer, he assumed a full-time professorship in piano at the State Academy of Music in Sofia.

Dimitar Nenov expressed a vivid interest in composition quite early in his life, and by the age of 25 he had already written one symphony, two piano sonatas (one unfortunately lost), a sonata for violin and piano, and several smaller compositions, some for solo piano and some for orchestra. It is important to note that the nascent classical style of the first generation of Bulgarian composers was folklore-based, combining native melodic material with Western European nineteenth-century tonal practices. In contrast, Nenov, as a member of the second generation, wrote his early works in an unusually ‘international’ style which is quite dissonant even to twenty-first-century listeners. The musical environment of Dresden in the 1920s probably influenced these works, but they also exhibit a definite personal style and sound that Nenov was to develop and crystallise throughout the rest of his life.

Walter Niemann was born in Hamburg on 10 October 1876 into a notable musical family. His father was the composer and pianist Rudolph Niemann while his uncle, Gustav Adolph Niemann, was a renowned violinist and an important musical influence in Finland. Niemann studied under Engelbert Humperdinck and was also a pupil of Carl Reinecke at the Leipzig Conservatory, earning a doctorate (on early ligatures and mensural music) in 1901. Niemann first worked as a teacher in Hamburg and served as editor of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik in Leipzig through 1904–06. Between 1907 and 1917 he was critic for the Neueste Nachrichten in Leipzig, though he was later to give up both of these positions in order to devote himself to composition. He also taught on the faculty of the Hamburg Conservatory. In 1927, Hermann Abert described him as “the most important composer for the piano today, who understands how to make music which is fine and colourful, even though he often strays into the salon”.

As well as a gifted pianist and composer Walter Niemann was a respected intellectual and author of numerous scholarly and literary works—the most renowned of which was Brahms, published in 1920 then translated into many languages. Meister des Klaviers: Die Pianisten der Gegenwart und der letzen Vergangenheit (Master of the Piano: Past and Present) was published in 1919 and was long considered a classic. He also wrote popular biographies of composers; that of Brahms emphasized the composer’s North German roots at the expense of his later Viennese years. As a reviewer he was often outspoken in his criticism of ‘pathological’ and ‘sensuous’ composers such as Richard Strauss, Mahler and Schoenberg, and was threatened in 1910 with a libel suit by Reger. Conversely, he praised nationalists and folk-influenced composers such as Pfitzner, Sibelius and MacDowell, and was influential in the popularizing of Scandinavian composers in Germany. Following the Second World War, Niemann’s idiom fell out of favour: he died largely neglected in Leipzig on 17 June 1953.

Per Nørgård is the most prominent Danish composer after Carl Nielsen. His signature can be found almost anywhere in Danish music as a result of his animation, teaching, thought-provoking theories and cultural criticism. For more than thirty years his widely embracing musical personality has inspired and influenced a host of Scandinavian composers.

One of the greater names in Brazilian music of the19th century, Henrique Oswald was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1852, the son of a Swiss father and Italian mother, both musicians. A year after his birth the family moved to São Paulo, where his father became involved in the music business, while his mother’s reputation grew as a piano teacher. It was, in fact, with his mother that Oswald had his first piano lessons, before going on to study with Gabriel Giraudon.

In 1868 Oswald moved to Europe, where he studied the piano with Buonamici and Henri Ketten and composition with Grazzini and Maglioni. He settled in Florence and became a European musician, assimilating fully the culture of the continent from the age of 16.

Oswald’s long stay in Italy came about through the generosity of the Emperor Pedro II, who had been present at a recital by the young pianist in 1871, during a visit to Florence, and granted him a substantial allowance that continued for almost 20 years. Oswald married an Italian singer, Laudamia Gasperini, known to both Liszt and Brahms, and became a teacher at the Music Institute in Florence. He absorbed musical influences from refined style, especially effective in his piano compositions. Proof of his ability in this field came with his spectacular victory in the Composition Competition promoted in 1902 by Le Figaro in Paris; his work Il neige, for piano, won over no less than 600 competitors, gaining the first prize on the decision of a jury that included Saint-Saëns, Fauré and Diémer.

In 1903 Oswald returned to Brazil, leaving his family in Europe, to take up the position in Rio de Janeiro as director of the National Institute of Music, the present School of Music of the Federal university of Rio de Janeiro, upon the invitation of president Rodrigues Alves. He retained his position for three years, but never succeeded in overcoming the difficulties inherent in the functions of an administrator; he felt himself alienated from the musical world. He then became a teacher, with Luciano Gallet, Fructuoso Vianna and Lorenzo Fernandez among his pupils, dividing his time between Brazil and Europe until 1911, when he decided to settle definitively with his family in Rio de Janeiro. Here, from the age of 60, he spent the two final decades of his life, becoming professor at the National Institute of Music and making his house an influential centre for chamber music. He trained a generation of pianists and composers and became one of the most influential figures in Brazilian musical life in the first part of the present century.

The Mexican pianist and composer Manuel Ponce studied in Italy and Germany, returning home finally to establish himself as a writer, teacher and composer and a leading figure in the musical life of the country.

Orchestral Music

Ponce’s characteristically Mexican music includes an important addition to guitar repertoire: his Concierto del sur (‘Concerto of the South’), written for the guitarist Segovia. Two years later, in 1943, he wrote an effective Violin Concerto, in which he makes use of the best known of his songs, the popular Estrellita.

Guitar Music

As Kreisler did for the violin, so Ponce wrote a series of pastiche pieces for the guitar, attributing them to various composers of the past (this at the request of Segovia, who needed a more extensive repertoire). His compositions for guitar include sonatas, preludes, and a set of variations with a fugue on the traditional melody La folia.

Piano Music

Ponce’s piano music, coloured by national elements, reflects his own interest in the instrument.

Jaan Rääts belongs to a group of composers including Veljo Tormis, Eino Tamberg and Arvo Pärt who emerged in the 1960s to bring Estonian music into the modern mainstream, embracing the styles, philosophies and techniques taking hold among Western postwar composers.

Born on October 15th 1932 in Tartu, Estonia, Rääts studied piano at the Tartu Music High School. In 1957 he graduated from the Tallinn Conservatory, where he studied composition with Mart Saar and Heino Eller. From 1955 to 1966 Rääts worked at Estonian Radio as a recording engineer. He went on in 1966 to become their chief editor of music programmes, and worked between 1970 and 1974 as music manager of Estonian Television.

Rääts also served as chairman of the Estonian Composers’ Union from 1974 until 1993, and as teacher of composition at the Estonian Academy of Music was named professor in 1990. Composers such as Raimo Kangro, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Rauno Remme, Tõnu Kõrvits, Mihkel Kerem, Avi Benjamin Nedzvetski, Kerri Kotta, Toomas Trass, Vsevolod Pozdejev, Tõnis Kaumann and Timo Steiner make up a diverse and distinguished list of former Rääts pupils. In addition, Rääts has received numerous honours and awards in his native land, most recently the Estonian State Cultural Award (1995), the Annual Prize of Endowment for Music of Culture Endowment of Estonia (2002), the Annual Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (2007), the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Estonian National Culture Foundation (2011), and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Republic of Estonia (2011).

The bulk of Rääts’ compositional output encompasses instrumental music, with ten symphonies and 24 concertos, an extensive catalogue of chamber music, and film scores. Rääts’ prolific body of work for piano includes the cycles 24 Preludes (1968), 24 Preludes to Estonian Folk Melodies (24 prelüüdi eesti rahvaviisidele, 1977), 24 Estonian Preludes (24 eesti prelüüdi, 1989), and three different series of miniatures entitled 24 Marginalia (24 marginaali – 1979 for piano solo, 1980 for electronics, and 1982 for two pianos). His ten piano sonatas span a half century of creativity, and are only just getting to be known to Western listeners.

Joachim Raff enjoyed the highest reputation in his lifetime but was later remembered only for his famous Cavatina, an attractive short piece that appeared in many arrangements. Encouraged by Mendelssohn and then by Liszt, he served the latter as an assistant at Weimar, orchestrating Liszt’s earlier symphonic poems. His own work as a composer started in earnest when he left Weimar in 1856, to settle in Wiesbaden and then, from 1877, in Frankfurt as director of the Hoch Conservatory, a position he retained until his death in 1882.

Orchestral Music

Recent attempts have been made to reassess Raff’s music. His 11 symphonies go some way towards a synthesis of pure music and the programmatic element of the Neo-German school exemplified in the symphonic poems of Liszt. Most of the symphonies have titles of one sort or another, the last four representing aspects of the four seasons. He wrote concertos for piano, for violin and for cello, and other works for solo instrument and orchestra, as well as a series of suites and overtures.

Chamber Music

Raff contributed to the repertoire of German chamber music with works ranging from piano quintets to duo sonatas, the last including five sonatas for violin and piano.

Piano Music

Equally prolific in his work for the piano, Raff wrote a large number of shorter pieces, as well as transcriptions and fantasies derived from the current operatic repertoire.

Vocal and Choral Music

In addition to works for choir, including several psalm settings, Raff published four volumes of part-songs, three of them for male voices.


Raff enjoyed some success with his first opera, König Alfred, first staged in Weimar in 1853. One other of his six operas, Dame Kobold, received some contemporary attention.

The French composer André Riotte was taught by Arthur Honegger and Andrée Vaurabourg at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, as well as attending classes on musical analysis given by Olivier Messiaen. He studied composition and orchestration with André Jolivet and, later, was greatly influenced by Jean Barraqué and Iannis Xenakis. In parallel with his musical studies, he also trained as an electronics engineer. Until 1982 he worked as both a composer and an engineer, in France, Italy and Belgium. His work as an IT specialist within the then EC (he was director of a data-processing lab at the Euratom Joint Research Centre in Ispra) inspired him to learn more about the formalization of music, in his own works and in more general research terms

A pupil of Gabriel Fauré at the Paris Conservatoire, Jean Roger-Ducasse succeeded Dukas as professor of composition at the same institution. As a composer he developed a personal style, firmly rooted in tradition.

Stage Works

The lyric comedy Cantegril was staged at the Paris Opéra-Comique in 1931, five years after the mounting there of his lyric mimodrama Orphée.

Orchestral Music

Roger-Ducasse showed his mastery of orchestration in his Suite française of 1907. Other orchestral compositions include the Marche française of 1914, a Petite Suite and a set of Variations plaisantes (‘Pleasant Variations’) on a serious theme for harp and orchestra. His music for chorus and orchestra includes the triptych Ulysse et les Sirènes (‘Odysseus and the Sirens’) and his earlier work based on Faust Au jardin de Marguerite (‘In the Garden of Marguerite’).

Chamber Music

Chamber music of interest by Roger-Ducasse includes a String Quartet and a Piano Quartet.

The composer, violinist and teacher Nikolai Roslavets was born in Central Ukraine and studied at the Moscow Conservatory, where his teachers included Ippolitov-Ivanov and the violinist Hřímalý. He graduated with a composition based on Byron’s Heaven and Earth and embarked, with the help of his parents-in-law, on a career as a free-lance composer and music critic. He collaborated with other leading young composers, including Myaskovsky, in the foundation of a group that in 1923 was to become the Association for Contemporary Music. After the February Revolution of 1917 he joined the Socialist Revolutionary Party, and in 1918 was a member of a group affiliated to the Bolsheviks, breaking off his connection in 1921. He did much in the following years to promote the cause of contemporary music, notably as a leader of the Association for Contemporary Music, while defending traditional musical training and earning the condemnation of the Association of Proletarian Musicians, who stigmatized him as a formalist, class enemy, Trotskyite and anti-Soviet.   In 1931 he moved from Moscow to Tashkent, where he worked as a conductor, composer and director at the Music Theatre. Two years later he returned to Moscow, where he had difficulty in keeping body and soul together, proscribed by the Soviet authorities, but was teaching privately. At his death in 1944 many of his manuscripts were seized by the secret police, but others were preserved by his widow and by one of his pupils. Perestroika has allowed a revival of interest in his work.

A victim, in common with other innovative composers in Russia, of the political dispute between the avant-garde Association for Contemporary Music and the powerful populist Association of Proletarian Musicians,  Roslavets devised a new system of tonal organization with a technique of synthetic chords, a phrase taken from Scriabin, consisting of between six and ten notes, in a technique that has been compared to the twelve-tone system developed by Schoenberg. He remains one of the most important and one of the most neglected composers of his generation in Russia. At one time a leading musical revolutionary, the so-called Red Schoenberg, for the last ten years of his life he was virtually a non-person, his music unheard and his name, officially at least, largely forgotten.

Once described as the French Mendelssohn, Camille Saint-Saëns was talented and precocious as a child, with interests by no means confined to music. He made an early impression as a pianist. Following established French tradition, he was for nearly 20 years organist at the Madeleine in Paris and taught briefly at the École Niedermeyer, where he befriended his pupil Gabriel Fauré. He was a co-founder of the important Société Nationale de Musique with the patriotic aim of promoting contemporary French music in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-01, in which he had served in the Garde Nationale de la Seine. Prolific and versatile as a composer, he contributed to most genres of music, but by the time of his death in 1921 his popularity in France had diminished considerably, as fashions in music had changed.


The best known of the 13 operas completed by Saint-Saëns is Samson et Dalila, a romantic treatment of the biblical story. His pastiche dances from the unhistorical opera Henry VIII may also be heard in concert performance.

Vocal and Choral Music

Saint-Saëns wrote a number of sacred and secular choral works and made a considerable contribution to the body of French solo song.

Orchestral Music

The ‘Organ’ Symphony—the third of the three numbered symphonies by Saint-Saëns, so named from the use of the instrument in the work—is the best known. Other popular orchestral works include Le Rouet d’Omphale (‘Omphale’s Wheel’) and Danse macabre.

Saint-Saëns, a fine pianist himself, wrote five piano concertos, three violin concertos and two cello concertos. Both the Introduction and Rondo capriccioso and Havanaise are familiar in the repertoire for violin and orchestra.

Chamber Music

Saint-Saëns was equally prolific in his provision of chamber music, with a series of duo sonatas, including two violin sonatas, two cello sonatas and a variety of other pieces. The Carnival of the Animals, often heard in more expanded form, was originally a private joke for the enjoyment of his friends.

Organ and Piano Music

Saint-Saëns, distinguished as a pianist and organist, wrote for both instruments, as well as for the harmonium. His organ music includes the Fantaisie in E flat, his first such composition and among the most popular with recitalists.

A French composer as eccentric in his way of life as in his music, Satie exercised considerable influence over some of his more distinguished contemporaries, including Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc, particularly through his tendency towards extreme simplicity. A number of his compositions have become very familiar to many, largely through their use in other contexts.

Stage Works

Best known among the various stage works of Satie is his collaboration with Jean Cocteau, Parade, described as a ballet réaliste and first performed in Paris in 1917. This was followed by the ballet Mercure, a collaboration with Picasso that presents different aspects of the god, and the Dadaist ballet Relâche (‘Closure’), which served to alienate, by its perceived vulgarity, still more of his earlier supporters.

Piano Music

It is principally the piano pieces by Satie that have won popularity. Among these, many with characteristically eccentric titles, are the Gymnopédies, the Gnossiennes and the three Sarabandes.

A composition pupil of Massenet and of Fauré at the Paris Conservatoire, Florent Schmitt, in common with a number of his contemporaries, was fascinated by the exotic; an element of orientalism appears as a feature in several of his successful compositions.

Orchestral Music

La Tragédie de Salomé (‘The Tragedy of Salome’), originally a dance piece, was revised as a symphonic poem in 1910. An element of exoticism is apparent in the film score for Flaubert’s Salammbô, with its Carthaginian setting, and in a number of subsequent orchestral works, while his gifts of orchestration are evident in his two symphonies and in a varied series of other compositions.

Choral Music

Schmitt won early success with his exotic setting of Psalm 47 in 1904. Other choral works range from settings of La Fontaine’s fables to liturgical music (settings of the Mass and other sacred texts).

Chamber and Instrumental Music

Chamber music for various combinations of instruments includes finely judged work for wind instruments, while Schmitt’s music for keyboard shows equal variety of conception.

Erwin Schulhoff was born in Prague on 8 June 1894 and showed musical ability from an early age. A musical career was decided upon on the recommendation of no less than Antonín Dvořák, and Schulhoff studied at the Prague Conservatory from 1904, followed by piano tuition in Vienna from 1906 then composition in Leipzig with Max Reger from 1908 and subsequently in Cologne with Fritz Steinbach from 1911. In the meantime he had laid the basis of a career as a pianist, while his efforts at composing were rewarded with the Mendelssohn Prize in 1918 for a piano sonata. His music up to the First World War had shown the expected influences from Brahms and Dvořák, and by way of Strauss, to Debussy and Scriabin, but four years in the Austrian army saw him adopt a more radical stance artistically and politically. In the next few years he absorbed the values of the Expressionism represented by Schoenberg and the Second Viennese School as well as the Dadaism espoused by Georg Grosz, whose advocacy of jazz was to find its way into much of Schulhoff’s music from that period.

Valentin Silvestrov was born on 30 September 1937 in Kiev. He came to music relatively late, at the age of fifteen, and was initially self-taught. From 1955 to 1958 he took courses at an evening music school while training to become a civil engineer: from 1958 to 1964 he studied composition and counterpoint, respectively, with Boris Lyatoshinsky and Lev Revutsky at Kiev Conservatory. He then taught at a music studio for several years. He has been a freelance composer in Kiev since 1970.

Silvestrov is considered one of the leading representatives of the “Kiev avant-garde”, which came to public attention around 1960 and was violently criticized by the proponents of the conservative Soviet musical aesthetic. In the 1960s and 1970s his music was hardly played in his native city; premieres, if given at all, were heard only in Russia, primarily in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), or in the West. His Spectrums for chamber orchestra, for example, was premiered to spectacular acclaim by the Leningrad Philharmonic under the baton of Igor Blashkov in 1965. In 1968 the same conductor gave the premiere of the Second Symphony.

The works of the young composer were awarded the Koussevitzky Prize in 1967, and the Hymn for Six Orchestral Groups earned Silvestrov the festival’s honorary title of 1970.

Despite these successful performances in the West (the composer himself was not allowed to attend them!), Silvestrov’s music met with no response in his own country and tended to remain “sub rosa.” The avant-gardist tag created obstacles at every turn. For a long time his works were at least heard on the periphery of the official music scene, thanks to the enthusiasm of some performers.

This situation gradually changed with Silvestrov’s growing international acclaim. One of his earliest champions was the American pianist and conductor Virko Baley, an aficionado and longtime advocate of contemporary Ukrainian music in general and Silvestrov’s works in particular. It was Baley who brought about the Las Vegas performances of Postludium for piano and orchestra (1985) and the symphony Exegi monumentum (1988) as well as a Valentin Silvestrov 50th Birthday Concert in New York (1988). Silvestrov became a visiting composer at the Almeida Music Festival in London (1989), Gidon Kremer’s Lockenhaus Festival in Austria (1990), and various festivals in Denmark, Finland, and Holland.

Since the end of the 1980s, the number of performances has increased, even in Russia and the Ukraine. Silvestrov’s music was heard at the “Alternative” New Music Festival in Moscow (1989), “Five Evenings with the Music of Valentin Silvestrov” (Ekaterinburg, 1992), “Sofia Gubaidulina and Her Friends” (St. Petersburg, 1994), “Sofia Gubaidulina, Arvo Part, Valentin Silvestrov” (Moscow, 1995), and the Silvestrov 60th Birthday Festival (Kiev, 1998). At the latter event, a scholarly conference devoted to Silvestrov was held at the Tchaikovsky National Academy of Music of the Ukraine (formerly Kiev Conservatory).

During the 1990s, Silvestrov’s music was heard throughout Europe as well as in Japan and the United States. In 1998-9, he was a visiting fellow of the German Academic Exchange Service in Berlin, where three of his works have been premiered to date: Metamusic (March 1993), Dedication for violin and orchestra (November 1993), and the Sixth Symphony (August 2002).

Both in his earlier avant-garde period and after his stylistic volte-face of 1970, Silvestrov has preserved his independence of outlook. In recent decades he has dispensed with the conventional compositional devices of the avant-garde and discovered a style comparable to western “post-modernism”. The name he has given to this style is “metamusic”, a shortened form of “metaphorical music”.

Of all the many translations of the Greek combinative particle meta (post-, supra-, ultra-, extra-, etc.) Silvestrov prefers “supra” or “ultra”. He regards metamusic as “a semantic overtone on music”. In a certain sense, “metamusic” is also a synonym for a universal style (a concept that Silvestrov has been using for some time) and a universal language. He understands it to mean “a general ‘lexicon’ that belongs to no one but can be used by anyone in his or her own way”. His work has affinities with the age of the “classical” fin-de-siecle, especially Gustav Mahler, with whom Silvestrov is often compared. The difference is that the lexicon of today is unlimited. This limitlessness forces composers to search for the lost ontological meaning of music as art. In Silvestrov’s view a view that reveals the lyric basis of his art regardless of the period in his career one of the crucial prerequisites for the continued existence of music resides in melody, which he also regards in an expanded sense of the term. This has found expression in the remarkable role that vocal music has played in his musical output. Silvestrov is the author of two large and many shorter song cycles in addition to isolated songs and cantatas, usually on poems by classical authors. In his relation to poetry, he avoids trying to disturb the music inherent in the poems themselves and attempts to subordinate himself to it. “Poetry...is the salvaging of all that is most essential, namely, melody as a holistic and inalienable organism. Either this organism is there, or it is not. For it seems to me that music is song in spite of everything, even when it is unable to sing in a literal sense. Not a philosophy, not a system of beliefs, but the song of the world about itself, and at the same time a musical testament to existence.” This same approach also governs Silvestrov’s instrumental music, which is always richly infused with both logical and melodic tension.

The young Maria Wołowska displayed extraordinary musical precocity and she quickly became a sensation in the Warsaw salons. To broaden her musical horizons, it was decided to send her to Paris, where her fame spread. There she impressed such luminaries as the composers Gioachino Rossini and Luigi Cherubini (who dedicated a piano fantasia to her).

After her return to Poland in 1810 she married Józef Szymanowski, a wealthy landowner, and before long there were three children (one of whom, Celina, later married Adam Mickiewicz, Poland’s national poet). The Szymanowskis’ marriage was not successful and it ended in divorce in 1820. Maria (who retained her married name for professional purposes) resumed her international career in 1815 and undertook some very long tours that included both private and public performances. It was during an arduous three-year tour of western Europe between 1823 and 1826 that she first met Goethe. She also had an audience with the British royal family, and in 1828 travelled to Russia, where she was employed by the imperial court as First Pianist to the empress. During the summer of 1831 Maria Szymanowska succumbed to a cholera epidemic that swept St Petersburg, and she died on 25 July, aged 41.

Through her own compositions, which appealed to professionals and amateurs alike, Szymanowska played an important part in the early development of that quintessentially Romantic musical phenomenon: the pianist-composer. She was greatly admired by her contemporaries, and her recitals routinely included works by living composers such as Hummel and Beethoven (whose Bagatelle in B flat, WoO 60, is dedicated to her). The influential Czech composer and teacher Václav Tomášek, who counted Beethoven and Goethe among his acquaintances, praised the clarity and attack of Szymanowska’s keyboard technique, and he also wrote enthusiastically of her inspirational performance style.

By the end of the nineteenth century salon music had become strongly associated with dilettantism and mass consumerism, but in earlier decades its defining characteristics were elegance and refinement. These qualities are admirably displayed in Szymanowska’s attractive collections of dances, which include polonaises, waltzes, mazurkas, quadrilles and contredanses (in addition to more unusual types such as cotillions and anglaises). Taken collectively, these dances are, for the most part, pleasing and light, with precisely the degree of imaginative artistic inventiveness needed to appeal to the aristocratic salons of the day.

In a career that spanned the last half of the twentieth Century, the composer Boris Tchaikovsky towered high among his Soviet contemporaries. His work received unalloyed praise from the most prominent musical figures, Shostakovich, Rostropovich, Kondrashin, Barshai, and Fedoseyev, and was represented on more than twenty Melodiya LPs, few of which circulated outside the Soviet Union. In the West, however, where musical tastes favoured the avant garde, his music was largely overlooked. That climate of opinion has been rapidly changing. As more of his work is recorded on CD, Boris Tchaikovsky is becoming widely recognised as one of the most important Russian composers of our time.

As both standard-bearer and innovator, Tchaikovsky arguably did more to enrich the tradition of Russian instrumental music than anyone else of his generation. He was trained at the Moscow Conservatory during the 1940s under Vissarion Shebalin, Shostakovich, and Nikolay Myaskovsky. He received his diploma in 1949, having studied with the leading instrumental composers of the time, Shostakovich, Nikolay Myaskovsky, and Vissarion Shebalin, bravely refusing to take part in the official condemnation of the much-abused Shostakovich. Tchaikovsky’s works from the 1940s and 1950s already display a pronounced gift for melody; his earliest compositions reflect an individual style.

Widely respected in Russia and praised by figures such as Shostakovich and Mstislav Rostropovich, Boris Tchaikovsky amassed a formidable body of works, including four symphonies, four instrumental concertos, six string quartets, a variety of chamber and orchestral music for various ensembles, piano and vocal music, and an abundance of music for the cinema.

His works from the 1950s, such as the celebrated Sinfonietta for Strings (1953), show that he was a traditionalist with forward-looking sensibilities. An extensive revamping of his style in the 1960s, coincident with the freer creative environment then emerging in the Soviet Union, led his music in fresh directions. Unlike the alienating rhetoric and the host of "isms" adopted by many of his contemporaries, Tchaikovsky's mature style maintained strong connections with its Russian roots. With its brittle lyricism, pronounced rhythmic features, and an expanded harmonic palette that never completely abandons tonality, the new style allowed him to take on a broad and at times exotic array of formal challenges. The result was a highly innovative, richly expressive body of work that appealed to a wide concert-going public.

The cultural thaw of the 1960s opened many doors for Soviet composers in an emerging freer creative environment. While some composers were drawn to avant-garde trends developed in the West, Tchaikovsky, quite independently, began to explore a bolder musical language of his own. Yet the lyricism that lies at the base of his musical thinking was undergoing profound metamorphosis. A fresh approach to composition was evolving whereby thematic development takes place as a kind of “mosaic” of accentuated, declamatory utterances. The striking rigidity of these utterances, a Tchaikovsky hallmark, and their strong rhythmic characteristics are related to similar aspects found in Russian folk-music. They somehow impart to his music a distinctly Russian sound while completely avoiding any traces of an overt folk influence. A corresponding increase in the level of dissonance and the use of bolder orchestral colours are also to be noted. What in fact Tchaikovsky had created was a highly personal, thoroughly up-to-date musical language capable, as will be apparent, of an astonishingly wide range of expression. Tchaikovsky’s new style opened up a world of formal exploration and expressivity, mostly in the realm of abstract instrumental music. Technical challenges of one sort or another fascinated him and led to an ever-fresh source of inspiration.

His most daring compositions include a bravura Cello Concerto (1964) that challenges the notion of thematic identity, a single-movement Violin Concerto (1969) that shuns the time-honoured musical practice of repetition, and a five-movement Piano Concerto (1971) all of whose elements derive from primitive rhythmic patterns. His orchestral compositions, such as his Theme and Eight Variations (1973) and the tone-poems Wind of Siberia and Juvenile (both of 1984), reveal a wealth of lyrical invention. His symphonies embrace an ever-expanding quest for innovation within traditional forms. To briefly summarise, in the First Symphony (1947) matters of thematic organization receive individual treatment; the Second Symphony (1967) incorporates musical quotations from the classics as points of structural departure; the Third Symphony, "Sebastopol", (1980) is conceived as a single monumental movement; and his Symphony with Harp (1993) explores a unique set of timbral possibilities.

The son of Nikolay Tcherepnin, the Russian-born pianist, conductor and composer Alexander Tcherepnin moved with his father to Tbilisi in 1918 and in 1921 to Paris. His subsequent career took him to China and Japan; then, in the years after the war, he spent a period in America.

Orchestral Music

Tcherepnin was always open to experiment in composition. Although he remained fundamentally Russian in his writing, he devised a new synthetic scale and made use of the Chinese scale. Married to a Chinese pianist, he wrote six piano concertos and four symphonies, returning to Russian themes in his final Russian Sketches of 1971.

Today, Türk remains best known for his extensive and extremely detailed musical treatise, Klavierschule (1789), one of the most important sources for keyboard performance practice of the late 18th century. He is also well-known among piano teachers as the composer of a collection of useful keyboard miniatures, the Kleine Handstücke für angehende Klavierspieler, which systematically prepare beginning students for the many challenges of more advanced repertoire.

Türk’s musical training, which he received as a teenager in Dresden from Gottfried August Homilius, a former student of Johann Sebastian Bach, thoroughly prepared him for the varied musical rôles, which he had to adopt throughout his professional life. When he became a student at the University of Leipzig in the early 1770s, the keyboard virtuoso, Johann Wilhelm Hässler, introduced him to Emmanuel Bach’s Versuch über die wahre Art das Klavier zu spielen (1753) and also to his keyboard sonatas. Shortly afterwards, Türk, under the supervision of his mentor and friend Johann Adam Hiller, began to compose his first two collections of sonatas.

The public perception of Johann Baptist Wanhal has changed little since his death in 1813. The biographical articles in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (1951) and The New Grove (1980), both written by the same author, were based upon the identical early 19th-century authors. So too were all incidental articles written subsequent to Wanhals death. They reflect the questionable comprehension and biases of the original authors: Dr Charles Burney, whose single visit with Wanhal occurred in 1772, Gottfried Johann Dlabacz, his Bohemian compatriot who stayed with him in Vienna for some time in 1795, and an anonymous Viennese author whose necrology seems to have been mostly based upon rumour and filtered through the interpretations of authors such as Gerber and Rochlitz. The following presents my own interpretation based upon rereading the sources in the light of recent investigations of the Viennese musical scene. Detailed discussion, including my reasons for spelling his name with a "W", may be found in my book, Johann Wanhal, Viennese Symphonist, His Life and His Musical Environment, published by Pendragon Press in 1997.

Wanhals life may be divided into five periods. The first lasted from his birth as a bonded servant on 12 May 1739 in the Bohemian village of Nechanicz until he moved to Vienna to begin his career in 1760 or 1761. During these twenty years he received excellent training from fine teachers in several Bohemian towns and villages so that he became an accomplished violinist and organist, and a composer of both instrumental and church music. At the same time he prepared himself for a move to Vienna by learning to speak German. His attractive personal characteristics (happy, modest, honest, personal warmth, good looks, personal deportment, deeply religious, etc.) together with his pragmatic and independent spirit foretold his later success.

The second period of Wanhals life began when the Countess Schaffgotsch, to whose family he was in bondage, offered to take him to Vienna. The exact date is not ascertainable, but it was fortunate because he arrived at a crucial time in the history of instrumental music. It was the beginning of an approximately twenty-year period (1760s - early 1780s) when, supported by the exhilaration of a booming economy, the nobility in Vienna were competing with each other and the newly rich burgers for the prestige derived from having the most glamorous musical soirees - with new music performed by their own orchestras. It also coincided with the tempestuous rise of the printed-music industry in Paris that reflected the massive upsurge of interest in music that was sweeping Europe. Wanhal was quickly accepted into the centre of the activity as a violinist, composer and teacher. Problems of authenticity and dating negate any attempt to be absolutely accurate, but I estimate that during the first nine or so years he composed more than thirty symphonies along with chamber music, and music for the church. The competition between those who wanted to have their own orchestras during the opulent decade of the 1760s dictated that Kapellmeister were needed who could recruit and train musicians, provide music for them to play, care for the practical aspects of an orchestra, such as managing the affairs of the personnel, arrange performances, etc. That Wanhal possessed all the essential musical and personal qualities was recognized by Baron Issac von Riesch of Dresden, who wanted to establish his own Kapelle. He accordingly persuaded Wanhal to accept his financial support and go to Italy - which was considered a kind of finishing school - where he could spend a substantial period of time rubbing elbows with the leading musicians, writers and intelligentsia - and thus acquire the final polish necessary for the leader of a Kapelle.

May 1769 to September 1770 demark the third period of Wanhals life, which was spent in various Italian cities (especially Florence). His association with many famous persons included leading composers such as Gluck. He also met the great social reformer, Emperor Joseph II, an encounter that I believe had special significance since Wanhal had, in the previous decade in Vienna, been able to buy his freedom from the bondage inherited from his birth in Bohemia. During this same period he was also able to contemplate the heavy demands of the position in Dresden for which he was being groomed - and be evermore aware of his enormous debt to Baron Riesch.

At the outset of the third period in 1770, Wanhals return from Italy put him in the awkward position of being obligated to accept a position that he did not desire. Nonetheless, his utilitarian and independent nature caused him to refuse the position. There are no accounts of what transpired, but the embarrassment and notoriety must have been very unpleasant, and he was depressed for some time. Furthermore, he found himself with only the support he could derive from teaching and composing - his situation when Burney visited him in 1772.

During the following years he was several times (from 1773 to 1779) invited by Count Ladislaus Erddy, one of the great patrons of musicians, to his estate in Varazdin, Croatia. There are no records of when or how often these visits occurred, other than a few dates found on several works composed for the nuns in a convent in Varazdin. However, the music Wanhal produced in Vienna and published in Paris in the 1770s bears witness to his constant activity on the musical scene. The gradual increase in his published compositions shows that he was successful in supporting himself, but there were changes in the genre of music he wrote and published. As the robust economic conditions in Vienna declined during the later 1770s so did the fad for orchestral soirees. Wanhals last symphonies were published in Berlin ca. 1780, and soon thereafter a reviewer in Hamburg expressed hope that Wanhal would continue to compose symphonies. But the market for symphonies in Vienna was rapidly diminishing, and the practical Wanhal composed no more of them.

The beginning of the fifth and final period of Wanhals life is less clearly definable, but by 1785 he was ensconced on the Viennese scene. By this time the Viennese publishers had seized the initiative from the French publishers who had for many years provided them with prints, even of their own composers, including Wanhal. Publishers such as Artaria, Hoffmeister, and Sauer were fiercely competing in response to the demands of a new musical public whose tastes had changed, away from symphonies to small groups, Harmoniemusik, solo and instructional-pieces for keyboard, and programmatic pieces.

A few reports from 1784 and 1787 place Wanhal in Viennese society, but in general he seems to have been gradually retreating from active public life. By 1795, however, when Dlabacz visited him in Vienna, Wanhal was prospering, as may be seen in an oil painting in the possession of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna (See the frontispiece of my book). He apparently lived in comfortable circumstances for the remainder of his life. His death records show that he was living in an apartment close to St Stephans Cathedral in Vienna, incidentally close to his most active publishers, and that his modest possessions were willed to the wife (widow?) of a Viennese bookseller.

In retrospect, a special legacy from him also deserves recognition. Through his strength of will and character he broke fee of his bondage and consciously shunned the support of a patron. Thus, when he refused to accept Baron Rieschs position in 1770 he became one of the first active participants in the new social order. He created his own peaceful Viennese version of the French Revolution.

Paul Bryan

Komitas was one of the first Armenian musicians to undergo classical Western musical training, in Berlin, in addition to music education in his own country. He was educated in a theological seminary in Vagharshapat, and ordained a priest in 1894. A gifted singer, he studied liturgical singing and early Armenian chant notation. He also developed a keen interest in folksong, and collected melodies which he would then harmonise for choral performance. He published both folksong collections and writings on Armenian church melodies, and his work laid the foundations for the development of a clearly defined national musical style. He moved to Constantinople in 1910, a city with a significant Armenian population, and continued to compose (predominantly vocal music), conduct and research.

The Portuguese pianist and composer José Vianna da Motta studied the piano and composition in Berlin, and in Frankfurt with Hans von Bülow. He attended Liszt’s final classes in Weimar and his close association with the music of Liszt continued after the latter’s death in 1886. One of the leading pianists of his time, he finally returned to Portugal in 1917, becoming director of the Lisbon Conservatory in 1919 and doing much to establish there a broader system of musical and cultural education.

Piano Music

The influence of Liszt is apparent in Vianna da Motta’s compositions for piano, where Portuguese elements have an increasing part to play.

Like many before him, Jan Václav (Hugo) Voříšek, an exceptionally talented pianist and promising young composer, left his native Bohemia for Vienna in 1813 to further his musical ambitions. Under the patronage of Countess Rozina Kolowratz-Libstejnsky, owner of the Vamberk estate where he was born, Voříšek had already begun to establish his reputation in Prague as a pianist while studying philosophy, aesthetics, mathematics and later law at the Charles University. His failure to complete his studies in Prague was due to no lack of ability but rather the increasingly prominent part music was beginning to play in his life.

One of the most influential figures in Voříšek’s development as an artist was his teacher, the pianist and composer Tomášek, who was so impressed with his pupil’s abilities that he taught him free-of-charge from around 1804. Under Tomášek’s guidance Voříšek made rapid progress as a pianist but little attention was paid in his lessons to theoretical matters. Voříšek later recorded that instruction ceased when he reached the seventh chord and his extant notebooks appear to bear this out. Nonetheless, Tomášek’s own works as well as those of Bach and the great Viennese masters taught him a great deal about the craft of composition and Voříšek’s first works, some German dances and a funeral march, appeared in print as early as 1812. He also composed and had performed the cantata Gefühle des Dankes as a farewell to one of his teachers.

Although Voříšek’s move to Vienna in the autumn of 1813 was ostensibly to further his education in law, he threw himself into the musical life of the city. He quickly established a reputation as an exceptional pianist and, like his rivals, Moscheles and Hummel, he was particularly admired for his brilliant extempore playing. Voříšek appeared regularly in the concerts of the newly established Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde and indeed had performed Hummel’s Rondo brillant in A, Op. 56, at their very first concert in December 1815. He was appointed assistant conductor of the Gesellschaft’s orchestral concerts in1818 and the following year he was named a principal conductor and member of the advisory council. Among his many other musical activities in Vienna was regular participation in Kiesewetter’s Historische Hauskonzerte which gave Voříšek extensive experience of performing older works from which he also learned a great deal about compositional technique.

Although Voříšek was enjoying considerable success in Vienna as a pianist he returned to his legal studies and finally completed his degree. In May 1822 he was appointed a clerk in the maritime division of the Imperial War Department and later that year applied successfully for the position of Second Court Organist. He was appointed on 10 January 1823 and promptly resigned from his post in the War Department. On the death of the First Organist later that year Voříšek succeeded to the position which he held until his death from tuberculosis on 19 January 1825.

Mieczysław Weinberg was born in Warsaw, where his father was a composer and musical director at a Jewish theatre. As a Jew Weinberg was forced to flee from his native Poland after the German attack in 1939; he found refuge in the Soviet Union and studied composition in Minsk with Vassily Zolotaryov, a disciple of Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov. With the support of Shostakovich he was eventually able to settle in Moscow, and was saved from Stalin’s persecution and arrest in 1953 by the Shostakovich’s intervention and by Stalin’s timely death. He was a close friend of both Shostakovich and Myaskowsky.


Weinberg was a prolific composer, writing in a style akin to that of Myaskowsky and Bartók; however, he was not always given the support and performances he deserved. His orchestral works include 25 symphonies, some with soloists or chorus, as well as symphonic poems. There are concertos for cello, for violin, for trumpet and for flute. His chamber music includes four viola sonatas, four cello sonatas, two violin sonatas, and 17 string quartets.


“After listening to this, I would really love to own the complete collection, which also proves to be mostly on a high level artistically. There’s no doubt that a large selection of the releases presented here will soon decorate my CD shelves.” – The New Listener