THURSDAY, February 13, 2020
He was an American composer and pianist of the late Romantic period. He was best known for his second piano concerto and his piano suites Woodland Sketches, Sea Pieces and New England Idylls. Woodland Sketches includes his most popular short piece, “To a Wild Rose”.
This is the second of two piano concertos, and I don’t know much about MacDowell. I ran into this concerto by listening to a group of concertos most people don’t know and I didn’t know myself. I can hear obvious connections to Grieg and Dvorak, more to Liszt and even to Litolff.
However, I’m struck by how late this concerto is in relation to others because most of MacDowell’s are decades behind what was going on in Europe, and this may be due to a lag between the culture of Europe and what was going on in the US.
He was a great virtuoso and unfortunately not nearly as well known as many other pianists who got more press but who really did not play nearly as well.