Moszkowski: From Foreign Lands, Rediscovered Orchestral Works

Moszkowski: From Foreign Lands, Rediscovered Orchestral Works—San Francisco Ballet Orchestra/Martin West (Reference 138)

Here’s a clear-eyed review of this CD from Joshua Kosman, the distinguished San Francisco music critic: “The German Jewish musician Moritz Moszkowski was a minor figure in the once-vibrant Romantic tradition of pianist-composers. When he died in 1925, he was remembered almost exclusively for his keyboard music, although his catalog also included an opera, a ballet, a violin concerto and more. What those consist of, only the scholars know, but in the meantime Martin West and the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra have assembled a collection of Moszkowski’s orchestral bonbons, dances and character pieces — some of them recorded here for the first time — and given them suave, charming performances. “From Foreign Lands,” a suite for four-hand piano that Moszkowski arranged for orchestra, gives the set both its title and its theme; the playlist includes evocations of Spain, Cuba and Venice, as well as waltzes and incidental stage music. The level of invention on display is not particularly high, but Moszkowski boasts a light orchestral touch and a gift for ingratiating melody, and West and the orchestra bring out every nuance they can unearth.”

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