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 concertoâ€”though Chopin's intentions can't be divinedâ€”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
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 NicodÃ© 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 NicodÃ©'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 Chopinâ€”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 transcriptionâ€”by Michael Ponti and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, part of the "Romantic Piano Concerto" series on the Vox labelâ€”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).