Price: $350.00




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Autographed and inscribed deep chocolate tone sepia postcard of the composer at the piano with an inscription in Polish, Chicago, January 30, no year stated, but it is 1928.

Tansman (1897-1986) was a Polish, Jewish composer and a skilled concert pianist.  He was born in Lodz Poland, attended the local conservatory and then studied law in Warsaw. While in Warsaw, he privately studied composition with composer and pianist Piotr Rytel, a musical descendant of both Chopin and Beethoven via Michalowski and Mikuli.  Tansman won his first acclaim in 1919 in a Warsaw competition for his Romance for violin and piano which won both first and second prize.  He moved to Paris the same year where he befriended Stravinsky and Ravel who became his unofficial musical advisors.  He was also friendly with Darius Milhaud and Arthur Honegger who tried to get him to join “Les Six” but he did not want to be tied down to their musical philosophy, so he joined the Ecole de Paris which was essentially for visual artists, but they accepted Eastern European musical émigrés which also included Tcherepnin and Martinu among others.  To make a living whilst he composed, Tansman toured as a concert pianist. His music was first heard in America in 1925 with the New York Philharmonic under Willem Mengelberg.  He was played every few years with some regularity there through 1943 and then not again until 1961. Tansman made a tour of  America in the Fall of 1927, where he made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra playing his own 2nd Piano Concerto with Serge Koussevitzky in a series of 4 concerts in December and January 1927/1928 in Boston and one concert in New York City at Carnegie Hall in January, 1928. He then toured several cities including Chicago where he performed the same work with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His works were performed that year by Stokowski and Ormandy in Philadelphia, Frederick Stock in Chicago, Mengelberg in New York, Damrosch in New York, as well as Hertz in San Francisco.  He also played in Denver and Los Angeles. By this point he was well on his way, his works were being performed throughout Europe and America.  Tansman’s works could be classified as neo-classic prior to the War and neo-stylistic afterwards.  He and his second wife Colette, the daughter of French composer and naval admiral Jean Cras, escaped Paris and boarded a boat in Nice to America.  As they were on the fly when they escaped they did not have luggage for the trip, so according to his diaries, Tansman purchased a coffin for their possessions which apparently made the headlines when he arrived in New York.  He wound up in Los Angeles where like Korngold he scored films, “Flesh and Fantasy”, “Destiny”, “Paris Underground” and “Sister Kenny” were the major films where he was listed as composer.  He also worked on numerous other projects writing incidental music including “Abbott & Costello Go to Mars”!  While in Hollywood, he was part of the musical émigré community and ran salons in his home.  He says in his diaries that the Budapest Quartet, the Paganini Quartet, the Stravinsky’s, George Szell, Charles Laughton and Edward G. Robinson were all regulars at those events.  Tansman was also busy during those years where he wrote his fifth, sixth and seventh symphonies, as well as a serenade for orchestra, two string quartets, six symphonic etudes and a konzertstük for piano and orchestra for the left hand commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein.  Tansman and his wife left Hollywood in 1946 bound for France where he lived for the remainder of his ling life.  One of the most prolific composers of his time and greatly under appreciated today.  In 2015, The Jewish Forward published an article, “On Alexandre, the Greatest Jewish Composer You have Never Heard of”.  This Summer, his music will be heard at the Bard Festival.