Five Spanish Dances for Violin and Piano, Op.12
Moszkowski's Spanish Dances were originally composed for piano. They date from 1876. They were an immediate hit. Moszkowski's publisher requests from all quarters to also make alternative versions. He agreed and the version for violin and piano, among others came into being. Along with the original, it has become the most popular. In the violin version, impressive double and triple stops and many other virtuoso effects were included.
Moritz (Maurice) Moszkowski (1854-1925) was born in Breslau, Prussia (now Wroclaw, Poland). He studied music in Breslau, Dresden and Berlin. He not only enjoyed a career as a brilliant and prominent concert pianist and respected conductor, but was also a fine composer and a first rate teacher. Among his many students were Thomas Beecham, Frank Damrosch, Josef Hofmann and Joaquin Turina. Although his music is little known today, it was popular during the late nineteenth century. He was quite prolific, composing over two hundred pieces. Of Moszkowski, the famous pianist Paderewski wrote, "After Chopin, he best understands how to write for the piano." Although Moszkowski primarily small scale piano pieces, he also wrote larger scale works including a Piano Concerto, a Violin Concerto, two orchestral suites, a symphony, a ballet and an opera.
This work is a brilliant tour de force and a sure audience pleaser. Any of these dances make a great encore or short recital work and together, all five can take the place of a full length sonata.