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Polish Flute Music
Ignacy Feliks DOBRZYNSKI (1807-1867)

Andante e Rondo alla Polacca Op. 42 [11:17]
Tadeusz SZELIGOWSKI (1896-1963)

Sonata for Flute and Piano (1952) [15:25]
Aleksander TANSMAN (1897-1986)

Sonatine á Lois Fleury pour flute et piano [9:58]
Bolesław WOYTOWICZ (1899-1980)

Sonata for Flute and Piano (1952) [21:14]
Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941)

KrakowiakóDanse Polonaise Op. 9 No. 5 [3:26]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)

Variations in E major on Non piu mesta from Rossiniís La Cenerentola [4:39]
Antoni Wierzbiński (flute)
Elżbieta Tyszecka (piano)
rec. Polskie Radio Łodź SA, June 2005

ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0137 [66:06]

 

Poland, lately, has made impressive strides in the classical recordings field, and Acte Préalable has done an admirable job in spotlighting both Polish composers and Polish artists. It does so again in this release. Acte Préalableís catalogue has quite a few world premiere recordings and, though this disc makes no such claim, Iíve not been able to find other recordings currently available for most of the pieces on this disc.

The first piece here presented is by Dobrzynski, who has some rather Beethovenian string quintets available on this same label. Based primarily in Warsaw, he composed chamber and piano music primarily, though he has a symphony, an opera, and various songs to his credit. This piece has the overarching atmosphere of Weber. Regarding recording aesthetic, the piano if played on its own would seem a poor instrument, but in its pairing with the flute, fits well. The Andante opens rather pensively, but with some scales in major mode that keep things from getting too earnest. The Rondo is more of a success, with an enjoyable bounce and some rapid passagework. There isnít much surprising in the piece, but it is a pleasant listen.

Following the Romantic Dobrzynski is the far more modern-sounding Szeligowski, a Boulanger student. Listening to the piece, one can easily hear the influence of Prokofiev and Stravinsky. The flute sonata of 1952 shows itself as a rather balanced work, with equal weight given to both instrumentalists. Considering the composerís general focus on solo piano works, the music is relatively reserved regarding any sympathy for the piano, an element that Alexander Tcherepnin had difficulty overcoming with the sonatas he wrote, the cello sonatas in particular. The final movement of the Szeligowski is a frantic chase between the piano and flute, with syncopated elements requiring a tight ensemble.

What follows is the Sonatine á Lois Fleury pour flute et piano by Aleksander Tansman, who has been seeing an increasing number of works being recorded since his death in 1986. This includes the suite for two pianos reviewed earlier on this website (review)

Born in Łodź in 1897, he, of the Polish composers Iíve heard thus far, best fits the Jazz Age in which he lived. The opening theme is Oriental in character, which the liner notes also mention, but combined with the piano part also fits the Twenties, with the rolling wheels of city busy-ness. After a brief Intermezzo, the Fox Trot continues the feel of contemporary popular music. Tansman, as the liner notes indicate, had a soft spot for what is now called "light music". Of the pieces in this collection, this stands out as the lightest effort, but with its occasional shimmy, is well worth a listen.

Bolesŀaw Woytowicz, whose piano music is represented on a different Acte Préalable release (AP0082) was born in present day Ukraine and spent most of the productive years of his life in Katowice. As a professor at the Katowice Academy of Music, he composed until his death. There are three symphonies, cantatas, string quartets and chamber music, much of which relies upon classical forms and structures. The flute and piano sonata of 1952 has the general feel of Hindemith, with a focus on counterpoint and an uneasy feel to the harmonies. The second theme of the first movement is a languid beauty. Those familiar with Satieís Gymnopédies (and who isnít these days?) will immediately recognize similarities with the piano part of the second movement. Itís hard not to keep thinking of Satie at the beginning, but things move off into other realms that the listener will find interesting. An enjoyable piece.

Closing the disc are two big names: Paderewski and Chopin. The Paderewski incorporates some rather challenging passagework whereas the Chopin tends to forego the flashy runs in the extreme registers of the flute, presenting instead a delightful if somewhat predictable set of variations. Not often heard, flute enthusiasts will no doubt enjoy both of these small pieces.

The recording quality here is good, with the piano a bit distant, but a good foil to the flute. The pieces here would not be considered great works, but they hold interest, especially the Woytowicz, and the íTwenties-feel Tansman sonata.

David Blomenberg

Acte Préalable catalogue

 



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