According to Vladimir de Pachmann,
the pianist, whose playing of Chopin has
won enviable fame for him, the
transcriptions made by Leopold Godowsky
are not to be taken lightly. They constitute,
in his opinion, some of the most
important works in the literature of the
"I only have learned a few of Godowsky's
transcriptions of Chopin." said de
Pachmann last weeek to a Times reporter,
"but I have played over by myself all
of Godowsky's works in this direction and
I can scarcely tell how great I believe it
to be. His original work may not be so
fine, but his transcriptions are wonderful
and very difficult. Who can play
them? Only a few. They demand a special
technique of their own. Godowsky
himself perhaps does not bring to them
all the supreme qualities they need.
"He has written an arrangement of
Weber's 'Invitation to the Dance' and
dedicated it to Busoni, but Busoni has
never yet played it in public. I, too, play
it in my own room and leave public
performance of it to Godowsky. What an
astounding thing it is—three of Weber's
themes played against each other in the
most marvellously brilliant manner. There
is but one Godowsky. He came to my
rooms in London last year and played for
me, and I admire him intensely. Next
year he will come to America."
The famous pianist was in one of his
sunniest moods. He has returned to
America wearing his hair like Liszt—long
and cropped about the neck and
pushed back straight from the forehead,
and in a sense he suggests the Abbé,
although their faces are entirely distinct.
When he landed some weeks ago in the
Summer he confessed that after a bad
voyage he was in a bad mood.
"Touring fatigues me," he said, "and
that voyage was dreadful. Then when
the reporters met me at the dock and
asked me if I liked America I told them
'No.' That morning I did not like anything.
They printed all I said about
America and musical critics and what
not, and, of course, I didn't mean it at
all. I was sick and cross.
"I shall not complete the tour that
has been mapped out for me this time, I
think. I should like to drop out about
thirty concerts. It is too much. I am
no longer young and it tires me to travel.
I love to play and I shall continue to do
that, but I do not want to travel any
more. I should like to live in Italy, and
there I think I shall go to pass my old
age, just playing for the people that I
I don't like Russia; Germany, where
the people love to hear me play, is too
cold in the Winter, and there is nobody
there in the Summer. It is the same
with America; it is too cold here. Just
the same, I find American audiences very
sympathetic. I think they are more
responsive than English audiences.
"Just now I am playing better than I
have ever played, because my technique
is greater. Tone is at the command of
an artist's technique, and now I devote
all my time to the piano. I am as I was
twenty years ago. I had another interest—certain
collections of mine—which a
year ago I gave up. I think of nothing
but music now. I give myself to my
music. I am learning the new technique,
the technique which enables one to play
My memory is not as good as it once
was, and I find it difficult to remember
pieces I have not played for years, and I
have no time to restudy them. Now
when I am at home I can remember
everything without difficulty, but when
I get on the platform things make me
nervous. The lights especially make me
What a composer Liszt was! I place
him as a composer and pianist on the same
plane, and he was the greatest of pianists.
I heard him play forty years ago,
when he was 60 , but how he did play!
Rubinstein played Chopin perhaps better
than Liszt, but he was not so great. He
knew it and said so himself. I heard
Rubinstein play hundreds of times. For
thirty years I went to his concerts whenever
I could. He was wonderful. He
had force and power, the big tone that
one associates with Caruso."
When asked if he would ever teach, de
"I have taught a few pupils, but I
think I shall never teach again unless I
can find someone to whom I can pass
on the tradition of my playing. That I
should like to be able to do, but where
can I find him? I would take all the
pains in the world if such a one existed.
It is not my son .
My boy will not be a
great pianist, I think, but he will be a
great composer. He is now a professor
in the Paris Conservatoire.
"Do you know who the greatest teacher
of the piano is now? It is Raphael
Joseffy. He is the greatest teacher
anywhere. He has issued a piano method—exercises
which I think are invaluable.
It is a flawless method, indeed, and now
more exercises are coming from his pen."