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Ignacy KRZYŻANOWSKI (1826-1905)
Piano Works - Volume 1
Lamy Laurent (piano)
No recording details provided.

Pianist and repertoire explorer Laurent Lamy curates this the eighth volume in Acte Préalable's 'Chopin's Disciples' series.

Lamy's amiable, disarming and helpfully opinionated introduction rings true with what we hear. He assures us that this is the first of several volumes for this composer and that it has been compiled from works from the composer's last creative period. This pianist gives every sign of having lavished reflection and care in selection and sequence - he says that he intended this disc to work as a recital programme with progressions, contrasts and changes of tone.

The music bears titles familiar from the Chopin canon: Impromptu, Mazurka, Nocturne, Valse and Polonaise. The two opening Mazurkas are gentle presences and sound as if the composer had heard some Grieg as well as having absorbed the work of Chopin, a composer with whom he studied in 1844-48. There's a similar fragrance in the Mazurka in G major. Krzyzanowski was well thought of and his merits ensured he was also well connected including studies in Paris.

The Impromptu in A major is a good-hearted instinctive piece. The bowing and curtseying progress of the Cracovienne op. 31 no. 2 starts placidly but develops a chimingly noble streak. The op. 47 Cracovienne is a shade more ordinary. The Romance in A flat major paces out a heart-warming tread with subtly 'tickling' shades built into the chords. Its companion, the Impromptu in B flat minor, makes free with dramatic storm-clouds and a smiling melody. It's another star in this anthology although Lamy does not call attention to it in what amounts to his foreword to this disc.

The Nocturnes op. 55 nos. 1 and 2 are musingly slow and the first of them presents with a classical style. The two Valses op. 49 are pleasant and skilled genre pieces but with more of the salon about them. The final track is the Polonaise in A flat major op. 10 written in memory of the composer Karol Kurpinski (1785-1857). The note writer considers this to be among the most noble among this composer's works. Certainly it works just as well as the Nocturne op. 25 in this company. Not everything comes across equally impressively. The Serenade op. 51, the Dumka op. 53 and the one in C minor are rather too self-effacing or low key for their own good.

Lamy recommends the Nocturne in C major op. 25 and it is indeed a work of considerable beauty with a spell to hold - indeed to grip. Its slowly unfolding melancholy makes a perfect marriage with beauty. Do make it your business to hear this. Less interesting is the Gavotte op. 56 although it too has its moonlit glowing moments. The two Op. 50 Nocturnes have moments of storminess absent from the op. 25 work and do not have quite the same fine effect.

The liner-note on the label's classic high-gloss paper is by Karol Rzepecki and is in Polish, English and French. Rzepecki shares what little there is to report of Krzyzanowski's life and music. It's a pity that dates of these works are not given or are simply not to be identified. Perhaps we should focus on the music. This disc, running to 80:27, is something of a wonder and includes pleasures and treasures for the jaded ear.

Rob Barnett

Mazurka op. 54 no. 1 in C major [2:35]
Mazurka op. 54 no. 2 in A major [2:37]
Impromptu in A major op. 52 [5:15]
Cracovienne in F sharp major op. 31 no. 2 [3:47]
Sérénade in G major op. 51 [4:41]
Menuet in G major op. 48 [3:35]
Dumka in G minor op. 53 [3:14]
Mazurka in G major [2:32]
Dumka in C minor [2:37]
Nocturne in C major op. 25 [7:17]
Gavotte in C major op. 56 [3:09]
Nocturne op. 50 no. 1 in G minor [3:05]
Nocturne op. 50 no. 2 in F major [3:21]
Cracovienne in F sharp major op. 47 [3:44]
Romance in A flat major (à Monsieur Aleksander Michałowski) [3:51]
Impromptu in B flat minor (à Monsieur Aleksander Michałowski) [3:40]
Nocturne in E flat major op. 55 no. 1 [4:34]
Valse op. 49 no. 1 in A flat major [2:19]
Valse op. 49 no. 2 in D flat major [3:28]
Nocturne in F major op. 55 no. 2 [4:04]
Polonaise in A flat major op. 20 [6:52]



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