Today I’d love to share with you Johanna d’Arc, a symphony in four movements that has smitten me over the last few months. It was written by German composer Moritz Moszcowski, who was of Jewish-Polish descent (1854-1925). I’ve written before about his terrific Piano Concerto in E (I promise, it is one of the greatest).
At first, when I listened to Johanna d’Arc it fell completely flat for me – which is typical of new classical music, at least for me. However, I stuck with it, as love of Moszkowski’s piano concerto and a few glimpses of greatness in the second movement kept me listening to it. After half a dozen times I finally understood it. My advice to you: Start in the middle of second movement and listen to it a few times, and then relisten to the whole piece. When I listen to Johanna d’Arc I hear occasional bits of Mahler (in the violins and in Jewish melodies), Elgar (in the cellos), Saint-Saens (in melodies), and Bruckner (in grandness).
First, Im very glad that I have discovered you. I’ve been a student of value investing for a while now and I guess I discovered you through a link by prof. Damodaran if i’m not mistaken. It’s early days familiarizing with your work but your posts and Q&A sessions are fantastic.
Second, thank you for discovering Maszkowski for me. I’m a little ashamed that despite being a fellow Pole (one of his many nationalities) I didn’t know about him. Wonderful virtuosery and the echos of Polish music, mazurkas, Chopin – superb. Upon reading about him more I have found out he has been born in Wroclaw the best city for me, a city where I spent my student years.
But even more surprisingly there’s also an investing lesson for all of us that we can draw from his life. After his fame and prosperity faded he lost his wealth after investing (speculating?) in Russian, Polish and German bonds and securities which lost their value amid wartime – an unexpected lesson in investing.
Thank you very much Vitalyi, looking forward to learning from you and enjoy your writing about investing, life and music.
Good Morning Vitaliy,
Your writing and music really brightened my day. I was supposed to join an online meeting, but luckily the company was having technical difficulty so I happened on your letter and introduction to Maszkowski. Coincidentally I had just read Alan Furst’s “Under Occupation” about the espionage during Paris’s occupation of the Germans. He mentions that the Poles recruited very intelligent spies for their resistance and one of them is a subtly prominent character in this book. Thank you for embellishing this read by informing me about a Polish composer.
By the way, would you please include Anton Arensky’s String Quartet in A Minor?
Brilliant music. Thank you for introducing me to this maestro.