Max Kowalski: Piano Works, Opus 6 and More

by Victoria Griswold

Released 2014
Released 2014
Four Piano Works of Max Kowalski, 1882-1956, Holocaust Composer.
Opus 6 are two works, Andante and Minuet. Originally published but now in public domain (reprinted by Recital Publications, Huntsville Texas. Fox Trot & Slow Tango are still in manuscript.
Max Kowalski(1882-1956) was born in Kowal, Poland. His family moved the next year to Frankfort, Germany, where he grew up, studied and earned Doctorates in both Music and Law (his specialty was Copyrights). His teacher of compostition was Bernhard Sekles and voice, Alexander Heineman. In Germany from 1913 till 1931, Max Kowalski was a prolific composer of beautiful lieder in the Romantic style. Although he was Jewish, Max Kowalski wrote music of all styles and genres, from Japanese, Chinese, Danish, Arabic, French and that of many great German authors, he even wrote a Marienlieder in his Opus 12. He was friend to many other composers, artists and performers and every song cycle he wrote was quickly published until Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich took over the country. In the late 30's Kowalski was very involved with the "Kulterbund" in Frankfort, Germany and his music continued to have popularity in their orchestral concerts. He is mentioned and highlighted by his presence at the last Kulturbund concert(1938) in Martin Goldsmith's book entitled "The Inextinguishable Symphony". By the end of 1938, Kowalski was arrested and spent time in Buchenwald but within a month he was released and he fled to England where he spent the rest of his life teaching voice, singing in a Synagogue and making a humble living. Although no music of his was ever published again, he kept writing new works, 18 new song cycles in manuscripts which singers performed in concerts and on radio. Opus 1 is his first composition dated 1913 and first published by Leukart in Germany. It had been out-of-print many years until Dr. Walter Foster of Recital Publications in Huntsville, Texas took up the challenge to bring as many of Max Kowalski's song cycles to the public as possible. So far, 13 of his 17 previously published cycles have been reprinted and a few of the manuscripts are now first editions which can be gotten through Recital Publications.

Victoria Griswold performs the four piano pieces of Holocaust composer, Max Kowalski, 1882-1956. The first two songs of Opus 6, Andante and Minuet were written for a famous pianist named Alfred Hoehn. The second two pieces were originally written for Max's daughter, Vera, to dance to in recital.

Victoria Griswold is a classical pianist who has concertized in Europe and Brazil. At her debut recital in New York City, one reviewer characterized her as "an elegant pianist." She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Manhattan School of Music, and her principal teachers include the late William Nelson of Carleton College, Zenon Fishbein at the Manhattan School of Music, and Jeaneane Dowis in New York City and the Aspen Music Festival. She has recorded on the MMC label several new works by the American composer William Thomas McKinley with European orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. Her musical background includes appearances as solo recitalist; soloist with orchestra; chamber pianist; pianist and Music Director for professional Musical Theatre productions; Music Director and harpsichordist for Ars Musica Antiqua, an Early Music ensemble; and as church organist. She also served as staff accompanist at Jersey City State College for six years. Ms. Griswold taught piano for 30 years in her private studio, and has adjudicated for many young people's competitions and auditions sponsored by such organizations as the New Jersey Symphony, the Summit Symphony, the Livingston Symphony, the Music Educators Association of New Jersey, the Andrew DeGrado Foundation; and the New Jersey Music Teachers Association.Victoria Griswold is also the owner of the Plainfield (NJ) Music store, a retail establishment specializing in printed music.

The songs of Opus 6 (Andante and Minuet) were both written for a well known pianist and music educator, Alfred Hoehn (October 20th in 1887- August 2nd, 1945) who was also an editor of much of the piano sonatas and individual piano pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven for the Edition Schott .

The Fox Trot and Slow Tango were both written when Max Kowalski had emigrated to London, England in 1939. He wrote them for his daughter, Vera, to perform to in her dance recitals there. They remain in manuscript.

All pieces were recorded on site and then mastered by Max Caselnova, at Fox Recording, Rutherford, NJ.

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