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Early works by Moszkowski and Dvořák on the programme of the Sofia Philharmonic

Photo: sofiaphilharmonic.com

There is just one day to go until an event that is truly rare – a concert featuring an opus by a world-famous composer thought to have been lost for over a century. Even more impressive – it is to be performed by Bulgarian musicians who have invested a great deal of effort into restoring and releasing the composition. The work in question is Piano Concerto No. 1 by Moritz Moszkowski and it will be performed by Ludmil Angelov with the Sofia Philharmonic with conductor Vladimir Kiradjiev.

Born in Poland of Polish-Jewish descent Moszkowski is one of the most famous pianists in his day. As a composer he earned recognition most of all for his virtuoso piano compositions – concert studies as well as “parlour music” which was extremely popular in the 19th century. Interest in his music has seen a revival in recent years.

Tomorrow, 16 January Moszkowski’s Piano Concerto No. 1 will be performed in Bulgaria Hall for the first time after its premiere at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw and the release, by Hyperion, of a studio recording with the BBC orchestra in Glasgow.

The credit for the restoration and editing of this work goes mostly to Ludmil Angelov, a concert pianist of world renown. He worked together with conductor Vladimir Kiradjiev who has lived in Vienna for years even though his work as opera and symphony conductor takes him to all corners of Europe.

Photo: Helmut Lackinger

We started our work on this concert 7-8 years ago, says Vladimir Kiradjiev. A mutual friend found the musical score at the national library in Paris, the city where Moszkowski died in 1925. The score had been left there inside a file. It turned out it was really hard work. The musical score was written by hand, plus nobody was sure whether the work had ever been performed at all. There were so many things that were not clear, like the orchestration for example. Thanks to another friend of ours we later released the score in Symetrie, Lyon. In the 1870s Moritz Moszkowski was considered the greatest piano virtuoso after Franz Liszt. The public was mesmerized by his technical skill. The concert is of enormous interest. It is an early work – opus 3. In it the composer made use of all the techniques he knew. The concert is 50 minutes long in all. The music is so brilliantly written and so organic, so emotionally beautiful… It is romance, pure and simple, combined with a virtuosity and exquisite piano technique, something so rare to hear.

The other work we shall be performing is Symphony No. 5 by Dvořák. It is part of the Sofia Philharmonic’s “5th symphony” concert cycle.  It is a Dvořák that is youthful and fresh, a Dvořák we may not know all that well. I have conducted many of the composer’s early symphonies, though not this one. And I am very pleased to be given the opportunity to do so.

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