2015 | 5 | 95-123
Article title

„Geniusz kompozytorów przeszłości nie był jednorazowym przebłyskiem”. O kadencjach Wandy Landowskiej

Title variants
„The genius of the composers of the past was not a one-time flash in the pan”. On Wanda Landowska’s cadenzas
Languages of publication
Wanda Landowska was not only an outstanding interpreter of early music, educator and writer, but also a composer (in her youth she wanted to become a composer rather than performer). She wrote piano pieces and songs, chamber music and cadenzas for concertos that she herself performed. Among her cadenzas there are compositions for keyboard concertos of three composers: G.F. Haendel, J. Haydn and W.A. Mozart. In total, for nine concertos, plus a cadenza for Mozart’s Piano Sonata in B Flat Major KV 333. On the basis of indirect information (correspondence and write-ups) it can be estimated that the cadenzas were created between 1907 and the end of the 1920s. They are not examples of virtuoso interludes, but rather belong to the kind of cadenza referred to in the German literature as hinzukomponiert. Each of them is a sort of Landowska’s erudite commentary on the style of the original work. What distinguishes them is the presence of solutions which are rare in this genre (for instance piano dynamics, slowdown and non-obvious choices of the material from the concerto). At the same time, however, they are substantially in line with the compositions for which they were created (often archaic techniques, especially counterpoint, and modern ones are combined). They show the author’s profound knowledge about the history of music and her recognition in the compositional techniques of different periods. In some cases, composing a cadenza was accompanied with the research of sources (as in the case of the cadenzas for Mozart’s Piano concerto in d minor or Haydn’s Keyboard Concerto in B-flat Major). The cadenzas vary for example in the way the composer approaches the material from the concerto: there are examples of a simple quotation, a combination of a quotation and pastiche, and there are those which exceed the allocated place and role and have an impact on the very shape of the original piece. This article presents typical compositional strategies and the most interesting examples from Landowska cadenzas.
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Publication order reference
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