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Paul KLETZKI (1900-1973)
Music Unlost - Piano Chamber Music
Sonata in D major for Piano and Violin Op. 12 (1924) [28:44]
Trio in D major for Piano, Violin and Cello Op. 16 (1926) [29:30]
Magdalena Kling-Fender (violin); Łukasz Błaszczyk (violin); Robert Fender (cello); Adam Manijak (piano)
rec. Academy of Music, Lodz, Poland, 29 Nov 2012, 10-11 Dec 2012
DUX 0974 [58:14]

To many music-lovers of a certain age Paul Kletzki will be known as a conductor. He even had a volume in EMI/IMP’s late lamented Great Conductors of the Twentieth Century series (review review). His Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Sibelius live on under various labels including Testament and Australian Eloquence.
 
That he wrote music was underscored by the Naxos CD of the Piano Concerto (review ~ review). This reminded everyone that here was a composer primarily known as a conductor. He joins a category that also includes Bruno Walter (do not miss his First Symphony from CPO), Furtwängler (Teldec, Timpani and Marco Polo), Klemperer (CPO), Eugene Goossens (extensively recorded by Chandos and ABC) and Issay Dobowen (Simax). Kletzki wrote extensively. There are three symphonies (1927, 1928 and 1939), a Violin Concerto (1928), and three string quartets (1923, 1925, 1931) among much else. These days it seems probable that someone will record these. On the strength of the two works on this CD, I hope so. Both works are products of a young man in his confident twenties. Each is in four movements and plays for just under half an hour.
 
The Violin Sonata’s outer movements are plungingly passionate, echoing with ideas and episodes that will have you thinking at different times of Delius, Zemlinsky, Szymanowski and Elgar at his most intense. He does perhaps go a little over the top in the finale with its strenuously hammered-out heroism but the first movement strikes me as wholly successful with its memorable closing pages radiating a sense of victory seized by main force. All this heat is off-set by an Andante Lugubre (II) which had me thinking of the rather tense and coiled writing of Bernard Van Dieren and of Bax in his Second String Quartet and by a micro-Intermezzo which sports an Art Nouveau profusion of ideas.
 
Two years later came the Piano Trio. The initial Allegro moderato is wreathed in a romantic gloom entwined with tendrils of hope. The sense of hope triumphant at its close recalls that of the Delius Cello Sonata. Then follows a luxuriously fantastic grotesque dance (Allegro scherzoso) and a third movement that flaunts an impressive and lavishly triumphant sun-soaked melody rising from oily waves of sound. The rushing and desperate finale has a military air - almost Shostakovich. It’s a case of chin-jutting determination yet finally the music melts into an expressionistic Delian sunset.
 
The performances are very committed although the Sonata would have benefited from a more voluptuous approach rather than the slender, searching and probing violin tone adopted here by Lukasz Blaszczyk. Perhaps he is already looking over the score of the Violin Concerto. It’s likely to be promising.
 
The note by Adam Manijak is excellent on both musical and biographical fronts. It reads well in English.
 
You will enjoy this music if the likes of Zemlinsky, Schreker, Martucci, Ghedini and Foulds appeal to you.
 
Rob Barnett 


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