Transcription of the finale from Kodály’s Sonata for Solo Cello (2005-2006)
For solo piano
Duration: 11 minutes
Original work: Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8, by Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967), published by Universal Edition (public domain in the US and in countries where copyright duration is life + 50 or fewer years)
World premiere: April 16, 2006
Williams Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston
Jonathan Howard Katz, piano
In the spring of 1999 I was in the audience when János Starker (1924-2013) gave a master class at Indiana University on each movement of the Kodály sonata for a PBS documentary. I remember that the piece became lodged in my brain for about 24 hours afterwards, and I began to think of the possibility of a transcription. It didn’t happen until years later, when I was studying at NEC, but once it was finished I had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Starker about it. He was skeptical, but after I sent him an early recording, he wrote, in part, “I listened to your Kodaly and I was impressed. For a lifetime I was accustomed to hear or play transcriptions for cello from the violin or piano repertory and envied the richness of your repertory. Nevertheless, your work has merit. Even Kodaly might be pleased. . . . [W]hat you did with the third movement is commendable.” He went further to offer a couple of specific comments. I was honored to have received the approval of the cellist most associated with this piece and to have had the chance to discuss it with him.