Par 1 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 pianoforte.
Par 2 "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.
Par 3 "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."
Par 4 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.
Par 5 "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.
Par 6 "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 love.
Par 7 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.
Par 8 "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 Godowsky.
Par 9 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 nervous.
Par 10 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 [in 1871 Liszt was indeed 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."
Par 11 When asked if he would ever teach, de Pachmann said:
Par 12 "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 [Léonide, known as Lionel, born 1887]. 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.
Par 13 "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."