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Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941)
Piano Music for Two and Four Hands

Humoresques Op. 14
No. 1 Minuet in G major A l’Antique *
No. 2 Sarabande A l’Antique
No. 6 Cracovienne fantastique A la Moderne
Chants du voyageur Op. 8
No. 3 Melodie; Andantino gracioso
Miscellanea for piano Op. 16
No. 1 Legende No 1
No. 2 Melodie
No. 3 Thème Varié *
No. 4 Nocturne
No. 7 Minuet in A major
Tatra Album for Piano Four Hands Op. 12 #
Nos. 1-6
Waldemar Malicki (piano) with
Tamara Granat (piano) *
Duo Granat (Waldemar Malicki and Tamara Granat (pianos)) #
Recorded in the hall of the Pomeranian Philharmonic, Bydgoszcz 1998
DUX 0328 [56.51]

 

There is a little overlap here with Dux’s own recording of the solo piano music by Elżbieta Guzek, already reviewed by me, and they include the once ubiquitous Minuet in G, the Cracovienne fantastique from the same Op. 14 set, the Op. 8 Melodie and the Thème Varié from Op. 16. Guzek offered the big 35-minute Sonata, a Romantic pile-driver of real interest. Here the Duo Granat share the honours with Waldemar Malicki taking most of the solo pieces but with Tamara Granat taking on the delightful Thème Varié and opening with the Minuet. The Duo then gives us the Tatra Album, six miniatures of appealing freshness, directness and folk-influenced, Brahms-absorbed, joviality. A surfeit of Paderewski is no bad thing in my book, even when his salon or Chopin-reviving instincts do take him perilously close to the generic. His vein of nostalgia and delicacy however proves rewarding and given his lyric gifts coupled with an understated pathos we have miniatures of real charm.

Granat’s Minuet is straighter than her compatriot’s and she doesn’t incinerate the bass line so daemonically as does Elżbieta Guzek, which is not necessarily a loss, though her right hand filigree runs are marginally less whimsical. Waldemar Malicki doesn’t press the Cracovienne fantastique too hard; it’s sufficiently full of playful glint and colour as it is and despite its salon limitations it certainly takes some playing. The Op. 6 Melodie is a particular example of Paderewski’s homage to Chopin and a most effective and persuasive one. The Tatra Album was inspired by both folklore and the Mountains that separate Poland and Slovakia – a dual influence that also haunts his fabled but as yet unreleased-on-disc opera Manru. Paderewski was closely involved in the development of a TB sanatorium near Zakopane, now a much visited holiday location, and frequently supported developments in the area and gave performances there (and it was where he composed the Minuet in G major and Cracovienne fantastique). Of the six little movements the first impresses with its dancing inflections, the second with delightful simplicity and the third, which begins with songlike grace and also wistfulness then opens out into frivolous humour. The Duo Granat brings out the Brahmsian hints of the Allegretto fifth movement and the off-note rubato-laden dances of the final Allegro.

As before this release has some good notes and booklet layout. Dux has a strong commitment to Paderewski and I welcome their care, enthusiasm and professionalism.

Jonathan Woolf

 



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