Oskar Morawetz - didn't start out as a composer, but  became a popular one anyway.
Oskar Morawetz – didn’t start out as a composer, but became a popular one anyway.

Oskar Morawtz – Duo for Violin and Piano – Albert Pratz, Violin – Leo Barkin, Piano – 1956 – CBC Transcription Service

Over to Canada again this week for a radio broadcast performance of the music of Oskar Morawetz, as performed by Albert Pratz and Leo Barkin, and recorded by the CBC in Toronto around 1956.

Morawetz didn’t initially set out to be a composer, rather a Pianist and teacher who migrated to Canada from his native Czechoslovakia just ahead of the German annexation of 1938. After brief periods of living in Vienna and Paris, Morawetz went to Canada, where he settled in Toronto and took up a position teaching music theory. In preparing for his Bachelor’s Degree, Morawetz had the choice to either write a composition or a paper. Morawetz chose to write a composition and it was the that choice that changed his life. The composition; a String Quartet, gained instant notice and he won a Canadian Performing Rights Society Award in 1945. And his composition career took off.

Morawetz the pianist slowly gave way to Morawetz the composer and, throughout the rest of his life, he became one of the most frequently performed Czech/Canadian composers, with his symphonic work performed by over 120 orchestras throughout the world.

This piece, the Duo for Violin and Piano is one of his earlier works (1946 – revised in 1947), and has been one of the most frequently performed chamber pieces and has been recorded by several performers over the years. This particular performance hasn’t been available for some time.

Something to discover, if you aren’t already familiar.


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