Antoni SZALOWSKI (1907-1973)
Sonatine for oboe and piano (1946) [5:45]
Grazyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969)
Sonata for oboe and piano (1937) [12:13]
Sonatina for oboe and piano (1955) [10:33]
Sonata da camera, for violin and piano (1945) [11:54]
Jerzy BAUER (b.1936)
Dualistyl, for oboe and piano (2004) [5:52]
Mieczyslaw Pawlak (oboe)
Barbara Trojanowska (violin)
Elzbieta Tyszecka (piano)
rec. January 2004 (Sonata da camera), Radio Lódz, April-June 2007, Filharmonia Lódz, Sala Kameralna im. Henryka Czyza
The thread that unites the three Polish composers is their teacher, Nadia Boulanger. She taught successive generations of Polish composers, as she did composers from around the world, and this disc wears its subtitle, ‘In the Circle of Nadia Boulanger’ with a purpose. But for Bacewicz’s Sonata da camera, all the works are for oboe and piano.
Antoni Szalowski is represented by his 1946 Sonatine, written in a modified neo-classical style in which lyricism predominates over any kind of heavy-handed neo-baroque procedure. The result is a fluid and fluent work with an especially graceful, rather Eclogue-like slow movement, and a loquacious, joyous finale. It’s a most delightful work, and persuasively played here.
Bacewicz’s music has never been ignored, but it’s never been as widely available as now. I rather wish her own violin recordings - she was a student of Carl Flesch - not least of her own music, could be rescued from the vaults. Her Oboe Sonata (1937) is also classical in outline and nicely characterised. It too has plenty of lyrical moments though it’s a touch more acerbic than Szalowski’s piece, sporting as it does a slightly laconic waltz and an explicitly virtuosic finale. The Oboe Sonatina followed in 1955. This feels rather a dutiful sort of effort. It’s best in the drifting Canon of the slow movement and in the contrasts of the finale, but it doesn’t really show her at anything like her best. Back in 1945 she wrote a Sonata da camera for violin and piano. It’s in five movements, all with ‘baroque’ sounding titles. It’s a light-hearted suite, in effect, with a quite romantic opening Largo and an almost-anguished Andante sostenuto, dispelled by the closing Gigue. It’s adequately played by Barbara Trojanowska but she’s not on nearly as good form as she was when recording Weinberg sonatas for this label.
Finally, there’s a delightful surprise in the shape of Jerzy Bauer’s brief but deliciously captivating Dualistyl, for oboe and piano, composed in 2004. It calls for feats of co-ordination, birdsong evocation, and near-cakewalk vivacity. It gets them, in excellent performances from Mieczyslaw Pawlak and Elzbieta Tyszecka.
The disc offers rather short timing but all the performances are, it would seem, first ever recordings.
Jonathan Woolf
Rather short timing but all the performances are first ever recordings.