Ignacy Feliks DOBRZYNSKI
String Quintet No.1 in F major Op.20 (post 1835) [33:37]
String Quintet in A minor Op.40 [35:52]
Kwartet Wilanów; Tomasz Strahl (second cello)
rec. January-March 2000, Polish Radio Studio S2, Warsaw
ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0048 [69:19]
Once again Acte Préalable mines the rich seam of the Polish
repertoire and returns to the surface with cachet. Dobrzynski’s
name will be unfamiliar to all but specialists – it was completely
unknown to me – but he was clearly one of the body of composers
active in the mid-nineteenth century whose works have appeal
His father was an eminent musician, educated in Vienna, and
he gave Ignacy his first lessons. A pianist and putative virtuoso
– performing Dusík concertos at nine – his father ensured that
he avoided such pitfalls and gave him a secure grounding. He
studied in Warsaw between 1826 and 1831, his first compositions
emerging in 1824. He was a student of Józef Elsner, whom Chopin
is known to have admired. After graduating he composed, conducted
and taught, pursuing an all-round musical life, though in later
years he devoted himself solely to composition.
The fruits of his creative life can be felt in these two quintets.
He wrote trios, quartets and sextets as well – the E flat minor
Sextet has indeed been recorded by this company and can be found
The two Quintets are written in the standard four movements.
The F major was written some time after 1835. The ethos is somewhere
between Arriaga, Mendelssohn and Schubert. There’s freshness
and lyricism but also formal control, with melodic lines nicely
and adeptly distributed. The Minuet is particularly genial,
and its slow, cogitating B section attests to the composer’s
sure awareness of contrastive material. This is followed by
a slow movement, pertinently and correctly described as doloroso.
It opens with pizzicati but gathers itself in sonorous weight.
It retains a sense of proportion though; no gestures are outsize
or outré. The finale is airy, the dance gestures sprucely determined.
The companion quintet was presumably written not too long after
the F major. Once again elegant dance themes are a recurring
feature, and there are some lightly burnished rococo flourishes
as well. The Kwartet Wilanów and Tomasz Strahl play this with
real ardour, and one feels them responding to this work with
especial intimacy. One senses in fact that they see it as the
more commanding of the two quintets. Its scherzo mixes the earnest
and the lyric. The scherzo is engaging, and the finale confident
– indeed bordering on the ebullient.
Once more fine performances, committed ones, are complemented
by good recorded sound. There isn’t much about the works in
the notes and certain aspects of Dobrzynski’s life seem to have
been obscure, but the end result is highly satisfying. If one
thinks of his near contemporaries – Glinka, Berlioz, Adam, Bellini,
Chopin, and Mendelssohn among them (let’s not even cite Kalliwoda,
Lortzing, Saint-Lubin, Benedict and Arriaga) – it’s not surprising
that he has been effaced. But these performances do him proud.
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