Stojowski enjoyed a cachet
in the Golden Age not least for his solo piano music. Of
late, Hyperion’s exploration of the two piano concertos
(CDA67314 - see review
has re-established him as a composer of virtuosic fare
for the instrument. His orchestral and
has always been more of a sideline, more often read about
than listened to. This Dux release will, one hopes, do
as much to propagate these works in the collective imagination.
It certainly deserves to.
Op.9 Suite is a captivating piece completed in 1891. It’s
cast in three movements. The opening is lightly and deftly
scored, imaginative coloured, and redolent of lighter Tchaikovsky
and also perhaps Dvořák. This opening variations on a Polish hymn increases
in vehemence and power and builds to a magnificent, effulgent
climax. One can imagine a ‘Stokowski conducts Stojowki’ spectacular,
though I’m not aware he ever conducted Stojowski’s music.
The central panel is a Polonaise cast in a Mazurka tempo
and it’s full of lissom charm and dextrous pointing. The
finale is another Polish dance, this time a Cracovienne,
and it slowly gathers in vitality and drama to finish things
was written in 1895 and it’s a compact cantata, mellifluous and full
of the kind of charm that Delibes dispensed so effortlessly – not
surprisingly it was actually dedicated to the French
composer. Short though it is it evinces once again a
splendid matrix of qualities – not the least of which
is its sheer generosity of lyric ideas.
was written considerably later, in a darker
time, 1915. Its romantic parameters are ideally set,
its sweep owing something to Rachmaninoff and to Elgar.
The writing for strings, and for the organ, is expert
and appropriate. Stojowski’s expansive, telling and ringingly
vibrant writing for the percussion is another vital facet
of his orchestrational palette. Strongly chromatic with
the occasional impressionistic hue in places, it makes
real demands on the solo singers and both acquit themselves
well. If you have a taste for the vital energy that this
work evinces you can rest assured that the forces here
do the work more than valiant justice.
fact they do so throughout directed by the assured Marcin
Nalecz-Niesiolowski. This is a real find and the exploratory
ear will find much to excite and stimulate.
see also review by Rob Barnett