52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  


Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Recordings of the Month


Che fai tù? - Villanelles

Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel

violin concertos - Ibragimova

Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov

The Complete Lotte Schöne


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons

Vivaldi Violin Concertos



alternatively AmazonUK   AmazonUS



Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor Op.21 (1829) [29:32]
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor Op.30 (1909) [35:22]
Witold Malcuzynski (piano)
Philharmonia Orchestra/Paul Kletzki
rec. November 1946 (Chopin); April 1949 (Rachmaninov)
GUILD GHCD 2323 [65:11]


Malcuzynski died in 1977 but it seems longer ago. He was one of the more glamorous and popular artists on the circuit but he doesn’t seem to have fostered much posthumous enthusiasm even from the serried ranks of pianophiles. Certainly reissues continue to appear but there’s been nothing that has really sought to get to grips with his legacy in a comprehensive way.

Guild has thought to conjoin the Chopin Second and Rachmaninov Third Concertos. It’s not a bad move as far as programming is concerned. The Chopin is a good performance made better still by virtue of Kletzki’s truly first class accompaniment. This is not some prosaic skeleton or apologetic collaboration – on the contrary. Kletzki generates some marvellously effective and assertive orchestral marshalling; fine colours, taut rhythms, sympathetic control in the slow movement.  The tuttis in the first movement are cut.  Malcuzynski’s playing is cultured if not quite the final word in delicacy. Unfortunately the issue is blighted by transfer problems. Firstly it is over-processed and consequently opaque. Maybe you could do what Mortimer Frank is always suggesting in another critical forum and re-equalise (if you can). But you’d still have to contend with a couple of first movement side-joins that really won’t do and with which you can do nothing. The second of them, at 6:05-6:08, is a real dog’s dinner. Pearl 0095 is noisier but better in this respect – though the companion works are entirely different; more Chopin, Szymanowski and Liszt’s Second Concerto.

In respect of side joins the Rachmaninov is better though it still suffers from noise reduction that blunts the frequencies. To my ears this should be a much more open sound and given that the Rachmaninov was recorded in 1949 there’s absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t be. The performance seems to have divided auditors down the years. Some have found it too fast and frivolous, others have found it “overbearing” whilst adherents admire its fluency, virtuosity and intense drama. As with the Chopin – where he was partnered by Susskind in the stereo era – the pianist set down other performances; among them a Warsaw traversal with Rowicki in 1964 and a live Mitropoulos from 1956. I happen to enjoy this Kletzki-conducted performance. The first movement is very fast but the cadenza is finely controlled and the virtuoso and expressive demands of the concerto seem to me to be well accommodated – and notably well balanced. Certainly few could deny Malcuzynski’s driving eloquence in even the thorniest passages.

So a rather unbalanced disc. The performances are generally very recommendable as examples of Malcuzynski’s immediate post-war way with both concertos. Any soloistic limitations are compensated for by conductorial excellence in the Chopin; the driving tension of the Rachmaninov is deepened by the pianist’s probing romantic affiliations in the slow movement. I just wish the transfers were better.

Jonathan Woolf


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.