Goltz was born in Tashkent but moved to Leningrad in the late
1920s. In 1934, the year in which he began his cycle of 24 Preludes,
he entered the city's Conservatory. His other works include an
orchestral overture, a piano concerto which is understood to
be lost, a string quartet, various song-cycles and film music.
He was at work on a symphony when the onslaught of Hitler's Operation
Barbarossa launched the Great Patriotic War. He died, a member
of the Baltic Navy, in Leningrad at the age of 28.
All credit to Muscovite Podobedov, a graduate of the Tchaikovsky
Conservatory in his home city, for taking up the baton for this
seemingly irretrievably neglected composer. A frequent visitor
to his homeland Podobedov now resides in Oakland California.
He mentions in his liner-notes that the 24 Preludes and the isolated
Scherzo were published in the USSR in 1950 and then again in
1971. Goltz and Sofronitsky were in the same class in the Leningrad
Conservatory in the 1930s. It is little surprise then that Sofronitsky
recorded one of the Preludes (No. 4) and the Scherzo in 1938.
Goltz's Scherzo is a galloping piece with references to Prokofiev
and perhaps to the wilder extremes explored by Lourié and
Mossolov. The Preludes are all very brief. They range from romantic,
to grotesque, fanciful, to tempestuously Scriabinesque, to exercises
in mechanical celerity that would play well on a pianola roll.
Impressionistic and obsessive dance pieces like No. 7 appear
alongside skipping gnome dances like No. 12. Goltz, whether he
knew it or not, was picking up on the inspiration of Prokofiev
and Scriabin. Humorous character pieces such as No. 15 are alongside
drowning pool contemplations such as the dankly sinking No.16,
the militant aggression of Allegro con fuoco
obsessive self-mesmerising pieces like the Allegretto (No.21).
The final Allegro
is threaded with Miaskovsky's optimism.
As makeweights we have gracious performances of four Chopin pieces.
If you are a Russian piano music specialist you must have this.
It's a discovery.