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Alan Kogosowski
#1325192 12/14/09 01:05 PM
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Australian pianist Alan Kogosowski is considered a Chopinist and has received accolades for his accomplishments.

He's written about RSIs as well as Chopin's music, but seems to be an obscure name in the U.S. compared to more prominent musicians and musicologists.

Does anyone have any impressions of his playing or familiarity with his scholarship?

Steven

Re: Alan Kogosowski
sotto voce #1325323 12/14/09 04:21 PM
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That was interesting, Steven. I hadn't heard of him for years - in fact probably not since some of the early achievements mentioned in the wiki article you linked, like winning BP Showcase in 1966 (I actually remember that one! smile ). I was pretty impressed with his playing then, but I have to say I wasn't all that old. smile


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Re: Alan Kogosowski
currawong #1325332 12/14/09 04:30 PM
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I have occasionally heard him on ABC Classic FM, but otherwise one doesn't hear so much of him any more, and it is a pity! I am too young to remember or have experienced his early achievements... frown



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Re: Alan Kogosowski
ChopinAddict #1325649 12/14/09 11:34 PM
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Really surprised to hear his name mentioned at all. I was aware that he had managed to complete Chopin's unfinished 3rd Piano Concerto and give its premiere.
Years ago, my piano teacher in NYC had received a private copy of some DVD that he had been apparently sharing with some of his acquaintances, of a piano recital in UK (I think?) devoted to Chopin's music.

I can particularly say that he was very familiar with Chopin's music and knew much of the context surrounding each composition.

Overall, his playing was nothing too astonoshing, but also nothing short of decent. In the programme he played several of Chopin's etudes, the Fantasy, the 1st Ballade, and several preludes.

It must be mentioned, in agreement with what I clearly remember seeing in the DVD, that he had suffered an accident when he was younger and had sustained damage to his hands. He managed to resume practicing again, but after extensive research in piano performance, taking the muscles and tendons into account. I believe that is the reason why his playing was very dry, and too careful. Its as if his playing was purely "safe" and he could never even meet his own expectations, performance-wise.

I also remember his performance of the Heroic Polonaise, and the performance was vapid; lacking enough, that anyone would agree with me, easily. Being completely honest, the performances were banal, and if Kososowski's name has remained quite obscure for some time, it has been with evident reasons.

Re: Alan Kogosowski
Journee Oubliee #1325918 12/15/09 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by William Penafiel
I was aware that he had managed to complete Chopin's unfinished 3rd Piano Concerto and give its premiere.

That's how Kogosowski first came to my attention as well, and it's what prompted my question about others' knowledge of him. It gave me pause, because I find his characterization of his endeavor to complete Chopin's "unfinished" concerto to be inaccurate and misleading.

There's ample evidence that Chopin planned either a third concerto or a concerto for two pianos in the early 1830s, and that the project finally reached fruition in 1841 in a composition for piano solo, the Allegro de Concert Op. 46. But the Allegro de Concert is a fully finished and fleshed out work; Chopin's next "concerto" could only be described as "unfinished" to the extent that he didn't orchestrate the Allegro de Concert or compose anything beyond an Allegro movement. (There's no evidence at all that he sketched or even planned any material for a slow movement or a rondo.)

By "completing" Chopin's concerto—though Chopin's intentions can't be divined—Kogosowski has fabricated a three-movement chimera for piano and orchestra from the Allegro de Concert, the Lento con gran espressione in c-sharp minor (otherwise known as the posthumous Nocturne prominently featured in the film The Pianist), and the Bolero Op. 19.

Unfortunately, even the statement that Kogosowski "orchestrated the Allegro de Concert" (from his website is deceptive:

Quote
Alan Kogosowski has orchestrated the Allegro de Concert - he is not the first to have done so - also filling out its formal structure with a second subject taken from the introductory section.

Probably the best-known of those earlier attempts was by Jean-Louis Nicodé in 1880; it was roundly criticized for substantially altering the musical content and interpolating more than 70 bars of new material. Kogosowski's product is even more loosely derived from Chopin's music than Nicodé's; it entails a major restructuring and significant augmentation of the ideas in the Allegro de Concert:

audio of Kogosowski's "orchestration"

I wish I could like it, but it's more a paraphrase inspired by Chopin than true Chopin—and even more distinct from its source than Carl Tausig's arrangement of Chopin's Concerto Op. 11. I don't really like the impulse to "improve" upon a great composer's work, and don't understand why it should be necessary.

Polish musicologist Kazimierz Wilkomirski didn't find it necessary when in the 1930s he created a setting of the Allegro de Concert for piano and orchestra. With measure-for-measure faithfulness to Chopin's writing, Wilkomirski demonstrated that it's quite possible to guess at what Chopin might have imagined without second-guessing the integrity of the composition's musical substance.

Unfortunately, the only CD recording I've ever seen of Wilkomirski's transcription—by Michael Ponti and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, part of the "Romantic Piano Concerto" series on the Vox label—has gone out of print, though it's still available as a mp3 download. Now that's good listenin'. Kogosowski's enterprise ... not so much, in my opinion (though I have no idea if he subjected the Lento con gran espressione and the Bolero to the same treatment).

Steven

Re: Alan Kogosowski
sotto voce #1325977 12/15/09 02:12 PM
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"I find his characterization of his endeavor to complete Chopin's "unfinished" concerto to be inaccurate and misleading."
_________________________________________________

Steven - I agree. One can't help but question Kogosowki's motives for "completing" the 3rd concerto. Seems like it was more of a publicity stunt to focus attention on himself rather than a sincere scholarly effort.


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