Discography of Godowsky's Passacaglia

The list is cronological with respect to date of recording.

I welcome any additions or corrections.

What a pity that Godowsky did not accept the proposal by record company Brunswick in 1928 to record the Passacaglia. Instead, we are left with a tantalising
review by Abram Chasins of the world premiere performance of that master piece in Godowsky's New York apartment, where Godowsky played in the presence
of some of his friends, including Josef Hofmann:

"And how he played! This was sheer enchantment, both the work itself and Godowsky's pianism. It had the cool, colorful clarity of a stained-glass window. Although
I was greatly moved and impressed by what I heard, Godowsky's effortless mastery made me unaware of the vastness of his pianistic feat that night. Years later I
realised it when one of the great virtuosos told me that he had worked on the "fiendish piece" for a year, several hours each day, and had finally had to give up the
unequal struggle. "It is impossible to master, " he said. I felt tactful that day and refrained from telling him with what devastating ease Godowsky had disposed of
it, making it seem like nothing at all."

Year Date Pianist Cover Label Reference Comments
197? n/a Stephen Glover IPL 1001
1987 August Marc-André Hamelin Musica Viva MV 1026 Hamelin performs on a Fazioli grand piano,
an interesting choice of piano at a time where
only a few hundred pianos of that particular
piano brand existed.
1987 21 August Rainer Maria Klass Danacord Unpublished
live recording
Pianist Daniel Berman recorded for his own
interest the complete 1987 and 1988
"Schloss vor Husum" festival concerts.
Danacord has issued a selection of these
recordings from the first years of the festival
(DACOCD 299). However, the Passacaglia by
Klass is not included in the issued selection.
1991 21-23 May Rian de Waal Hyperion CDA66496 Rian de Waal gave the work its second London
performance in April 1991, 63 years after Godowsky
gave the work its first public performance at
London's Queen's Hall in April 1928.
1993 24 April Janice Weber The Boston
Conservatory
Digital
audio tape
Live recording

Weber performed the work as early as 1983,
the first New York performance in forty years.
1996 n/a Carlo Grante Altarus AIR-CD-9094 Published 1996. No recording date information.

The performance follows Jorge Bolet's copy of
the score into which Godowsky had marked
numerous corrections.
1997 n/a Carlo Grante Music & Arts CD-984 Published 1997. No recording date information.
1998 January David Stanhope Tall Poppies TP135 Stanhope performs on a Stuart & Sons
grand piano.
1998 21-23 May Ian Hobson Zephyr Z112-98
2000 n/a "Michael Nanasakov" Nanasawa
Articulates
JNCD-1008 Produced with computer and Yamaha discklavier
by Junichi Nanasawa.

Nanasawa names the virtual pianist Michael
Nanasakov.
2001 22, 23 August Marc-André Hamelin Hyperion CDA67300
2001 4, 5 October Antti Siirala Naxos 8.555997 Siirala included the Passacaglia in one of
his recitals at the 2000 London International
Piano Competition where he won first price.
2002 10 April Michael Schäfer Telos TLS 052
2002 3, 4 December Konstantin Scherbakov Marco Polo 8.225187
2008 6 June Artem Borissov YouTube n/a Live recording

One early performance of the Passacaglia deserves mentioning: Godowsky's son-in-law, David Saperton (who went on to record eleven Chopin-Godowsky studies, two Godowsky Symphonic Metamorphosis
(Die Fledermaus and Künstlerleben) and several other Godowsky works), performed the Passacaglia in February 1935 at the Astor Hotel, New York. The performance was part of a surprise party celebrating
Godowsky's 65th birthday; four hundred people participated including Josef Hofmann, Josef Lhevinne, Jascha Heifetz, Harold Bauer, George Gershwin and Albert Einstein. Other performers included the
young Shura Cherkassky, who played the Albeniz-Godowsky Tango (reference: Jeremy Nicholas' Godowsky biography).

Last update 9 December 2013.

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