Recitals in Britain
The recital became popular among British performers. Here is a programme given by Walter Macfarren (1826—1905), brother of Sir George Macfarren (1813—87), Principal of the Royal Academy of Music:
If we skip to just past the turn of the twentieth century, we find the recital firmly established in Bechstein Hall (changed to Wigmore Hall in 1916). Here is a program by the Polish-American pianist Leopold Godowsky (1870—1938) in 1902:
Any pianist will immediately declare how long and challenging this programme would be in any period. While orchestra concerts had by this time become much shorter, often the same as ours today, recitals were expected to be challenging affairs.
Some recitals were largely chronological; others alternated classical and more contemporary works. Wherever it appeared, contemporary music was given a distinctly secondary role within the piano recital. Here we see two programmes given by the distinguished British-born pianist Harold Bauer (1873—1951) in 1910:
Ravel dedicated Undine to him. Bauer was an important example of the increasing number of pianists who did not compose, though he often tinkered with pieces extensively.
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Page last updated: 30 March 2005