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).