Alexander Goldenweiser (composer)

Alexander Borisovich Goldenweiser (or Goldenveyzer; Алекса́ндр Бори́сович Гольденве́йзер ; 0[O.S. 26 February]26 November 1961), was a Soviet and Russian pianist, teacher and composer.

Goldenweiser was born in Kishinev, Bessarabia, Russia. In 1889 he was admitted to the Moscow Conservatory in the class of Alexander Siloti (also Ziloti). He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1895 in piano class Pavel Pabst (previously engaged in A.I.Siloti), winning the Gold Medal for Piano, in 1897 - in the composition class of Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov. He also studied compositions from Anton Arensky and counterpoint from Sergei Taneyev (1892-1893).

He joined the faculty of the Conservatory shortly afterward, and during his tenure there, his pupils included Grigory Ginzburg, Lazar Berman, Samuil Feinberg, Rosa Tamarkina, Dmitry Kabalevsky, Galina Eguiazarova, Nikolai Petrov, Nikolai Kapustin, Alexander Braginsky, Sulamita Aronovsky, Tatiana Nikolayeva, Dmitry Paperno, Oxana Yablonskaya, Nelly Akopian-Tamarina, Dmitri Bashkirov, Dmitry Blagoy and many others.

Rachmaninoff's Second Suite, Op. 17, was dedicated to him as well as Medtner's Lyric Fragments, Op. 23.

He was a close friend of Leo Tolstoy. He published memories of his relationship with Tolstoy in his book Vblizi Tolstogo.

He made a number of renowned recordings as a pianist, including four recordings on piano roll for the Welte-Mignon reproducing piano in 1910. He died in 1961, in Moscow Oblast.

Honours and awards

  • Stalin Prize, first class (1947)
  • Two Orders of Lenin (including 9 March 1945)
  • Order of the Red Banner of Labour, three times (27 April 1937, 29 April 1950, 9 March 1955)
  • People's Artist of the USSR (1946)

    Selective discography

  • Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 31. Leonid Kogan, violin. Mstislav Rostropovich, cello. Composer, piano. Melodiya D-9123-4 (LP); released 1961
  • Contrapuntal Sketches, Op. 12. Sonata Fantasia', Op. 37. 'Skazka, Op. 39. Jonathan Powell, piano. Toccata TOCC 044, CD, released 2009. The Contrapuntal Sketches were written in the 1930s. With this work Goldenweiser can perhaps stake claim as being the first Russian composer to write a set of polyphonic pieces in each of the major and minor keys, all of which appear on this recording.
  • Russian Piano School, Vol 1: Alexander Goldenweiser. Music by Tchaikovsky, Arensky, Borodin, Rachmaninoff (also with G. Ginsburg), Medtner, Goldenweiser - original recordings 1946-1955 by Melodiya. NoNoise transfers distributed BMG 74321 25173 2