Godowsky: Piano sonata

And, separately: Marc-Andre Hamelin on his relationship with the piece:

“Living in Canada, it wasn’t terribly easy to find Godowsky’s music. He found some of it in music stores in Montreal, and he made a trip to New York in 1970 and he found a great deal more: there was a music dealer who had a lot of second-hand stuff that had originally belonged to a couple of members of Godowsky’s entourage. And I helped him over the years with whatever else I found.

“But for some reason he’d never been able to secure a copy of the Sonata because he’d never seen it. And he finally went as far as requesting a photocopy of it from the Library of Congress. Not only that, but also a copy of the manuscript, and the sketches. He had to obtain permission from Godowsky’s son. And that’s how he found it.

“Only much, much later, like in the early 1990s, was I able to get an actual copy of it. An original. And at that point, the only recording that existed was on LP, and it was only the first movement. It was played by a lady named Doris Pines, who I don’t think is performing anymore. But this is the early 70s, it’s on the Genesis label. From the very, very little I knew of it, it always seemed to me like it was a work which started very interestingly and that the interest dwindled with each movement. But that was a very uninformed opinion on my part; I mean I really hadn’t delved into it.

“But in 2000, I suddenly got a request. My Godowsky étude recordings had just come out, and I got a letter from Robert Lienau, the original publishers of the Sonata, asking me whether I would write a preface to it because they were going to reprint it. I procrastinated because I didn’t really know the work. So they asked a friend of mine, a musicologist, to write the preface, and that was fine. But their request did cause me to take a second look at the piece. And as I was reading the first movement, I was thinking “Yes, this is really good.” And I was reading the other movements and saying “Oh yeah, this has possibilities.” And already, the thought of a possible relationship with the piece was formed.”