Ignaz Friedman


Ignaz Friedman

Ignaz Friedman "(also spelled Ignace or Ignacy)" (February 14 1882 – January 26 1948) was a Polish pianist and composer. Critics (e.g. Harold C. Schonberg) and colleagues (e.g. Sergei Rachmaninoff) alike placed him among the supreme piano virtuosi of his day, alongside Leopold Godowsky, Moriz Rosenthal, Józef Hofmann and Josef Lhevinne.

Biography

The son of a musician in Kraków, Ignaz Friedman was a child prodigy. He studied with Hugo Riemann, Theodor Leschetizky and participated in Busoni's masterclasses. His official début in Vienna in 1904 featured a program of three piano concertos and several encores, rivalling the similar programs of established titans like Busoni and Godowsky, and he remained a titan throughout his career. His style was quiet and effortless, imbued with a sense of rhythm and color, grounded in a sovereign technique, and much has been written about his peerless interpretations of Chopin in particular.

As with his compatriot and contemporary Moriz Rosenthal, Friedman's Chopin interpretations, particularly those of the mazurkas, are considered by many to be unsurpassed. Despite having given 2,800 concerts during his career, he sometimes received lukewarm reviews in America in later years, as critics were becoming accustomed to modernist playing which stripped romantic interpretation of its agogics and essence. (Rachmaninoff admired Friedman's playing but opined that he "played too much to the gallery.") [David Dubal, "Evenings with Horowitz, who may have made such comments out of jealousy, although he revered Friedman] ."] At the outbreak of the Second World War, Friedman was in Europe, but managed to escape when a concert tour in Australia was offered at the last moment. He chose not to return to Europe but settled in Sydney and remained there until his death (which occurred on Australia Day, 1948). Partial paralysis of his left hand had forced him to retire from the concert platform in 1943.

His many recordings are admired and loved. Like most of the great artists of his time who broadcast, much of his recorded material has been lost, including hours of radio recordings made in Australia and New Zealand. His place in the pantheon of great pianists of the twentieth century is assured.

He composed more than ninety works, mainly piano miniatures, but also pieces for cello and a piano quintet. His compositions are superior to those of most other virtuoso pianists of his time, but have not found a niche in the repertory. He arranged many works, especially those of J. S. Bach and Domenico Scarlatti.

He also edited the complete works of Chopin and produced editions of Schumann and Liszt.

Friedman also taught several important pianists, including Ignaz Tiegerman and Bruce Hungerford.

Discography

Releases by Naxos Historical

*Vol.1:- BEETHOVEN: 'Moonlight' Sonata / CHOPIN: Mazurkas (8.110684)
*Vol.2:- GRIEG: Piano Concerto / CHOPIN: Sonata in B Flat Minor (8.110686)
*Vol.3:- CHOPIN: Mazurkas (8.110690)
*Vol.4:- MENDELSSOHN: Songs without Words (8.110736)
*Vol.5:- English Columbia Recordings (8.111114)

References

External links

*
* [http://www.arbiterrecords.com/musicresourcecenter/friedtch.html At the Piano with Ignaz Friedman]
* [http://www.arbiterrecords.com/musicresourcecenter/friedman.html Friedman's concert programs]
* [http://www.bosendorferimperial.com BosendorferImperial.com] - site about the Imperial piano with complete audio files including "Viennese Waltz, #2" from a set of six waltzes written by Friedman, played by Victor Borge


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