birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
Voice by György Kurtág
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Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Barcarolle in F sharp, Op. 60 (1845/46) [8:53]
Nocturne in C sharp minor, Op. 27/1 (1833-36) [6:01]
Thee Mazurkas, Op. 59 (1845) [10:03]
Etudes, Op. 25 (1837): No. 11 in A minor [3:50]; No. 10 in B minor [4:43]
Polonaise in F sharp minor, Op. 44 (1841/41) [10:56]
Waltz in A flat, Op. 42 (1840) [4:13] Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941)
Nocturne in B flat, Op. 16/4 (1890/92) [3:44]
Polonaise in B, Op. 9/6 (1884) [4:43] Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937)
Two Mazurkas, Op. 62 (1933/34) [6:06] Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Valse de Concert in D flat, Op. 3 (1854) [5:58]
Michał Szymanowski (piano)
rec. March 2015, Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall CD ACCORD ACD219-2 [70:14]
This is such a beautifully programmed disc, phenomenally
recorded and showcasing a major pianistic talent. The piano sound comes
across as magnificently burnished.
Michal Karol Szymanowski, born 1988 in Bydgoszcz, holds an innate musicality
that stands him in good stead. Not for him velocity for velocity’s
sake; this is heartfelt music-making of the type one associates with
such luminaries as Uchida, Schiff and Brendel.
The Chopin Barcarolle exemplifies this perfectly. Recorded
in beautiful sound that allows each and every nuance of tone gradation
to shine through, and performed with a sure rhythmic sense that conveys
the fluid nature of the score to perfection, Szymanowski allows the
Barcarolle to build naturally. The Nocturne that follows is the perfect
bedfellow. Shorn of its more famous D flat major companion, the C sharp
minor Nocturne Op. 27/1 is here allowed to soar alone, a lament that
carries, in this performance, an undertone of hope. Again, as is the
case with the Barcarolle, the Nocturne moves naturally to its
climax; note, also, how well and intelligently Szymanowski balances
his chords in this piece.
The Paderewski Nocturne is an absolute joy to experience, perfectly
paced and exquisitely given with impeccably sweet cantabile line. Paderewski’s
own Victor recording (June 1, 1922: see APR7505) is significantly more
languorous, 4:47 against the present artist’s 3:44. The Chopin
Op. 59 Mazurkas seem the perfect prolongation of this, performed with
infinite tenderness by Szymanowski.
The two Mazurkas, Op. 59 by the composer Szymanowski have a Scriabinesque
hue, and Szymanowski (pianist) plays with a bejewelled touch. Yes, Hamelin
on Hyperion is formidable competition, but to experience him one has
to purchase the complete Scriabin Mazurkas, in fairness not too onerous
a task, but we need to hold in our minds that our pianist’s script
here is to place this composer in context. The chromatic inflections
of Szymanowski’s melodies are given with a superb sense of rightness.
Chopin’s Etude in A minor starts well but has the odd moment of
awkwardness. The technical perfection of Pollini is absent here, and
while Szymanowski tracks the music’s ebb and flow, he does so
to the detriment of the overall momentum. In the case of Op. 25/10,
Szymanowski finds appropriate lyricism in the central panel; perhaps
his F sharp minor Polonaise lacks the last degree of fire, but one has
to admire the textural clarity Szymanowski brings to the score, and
also the rhythmic firmness of the central section. He just misses the
mystery of the work’s later stages, however. The final Chopin
offering, placed a tad later in the recital, between the Paderewski
Polonaise and the Wieniawski, is the Op. 42 Waltz, alive and vital:
perhaps the Paderewski threw some glitter over it. It certainly sounds
Paderewski’s B-Major Polonaise Op. 9/6 is, as the booklet notes
to the present release claim, far closer to salon music than Chopin’s
heroic offerings in this form. Nevertheless, Paderewski’s Polonaise,
with its fanfare motifs and horn-like gestures in the left-hand has
a charm all of its own and it is clear Szymanowski enjoys himself. He
comes into competition with another pianist also on the CD Accord label,
Pawel Wakarecy who on his disc (ACD190) couples the piece with some
Chopin and, interestingly, a Grande Polonaise by Zarebski (an interesting
composer himself: try Zarebski’s G-Minor Piano Quintet, Op. 14,
perhaps in the excellent recording on Accord 178 by the Lasoń
Ensemble). Michał Szymanowski is more convincing an interpreter
than Wakarecy in the Paderewski Polonaise though; the latter rather
loses steam, and it is Szymanowski that captures the sparkly joy of
the work better.
Finally, a lovely piece by Józef Wieniawski only otherwise available
(to my knowledge) in a Welte-Mignon piano roll of Hedwig Kirsch on Tudor
Records, where it is identified as “Concert Waltz” (I mention
this for search engine purposes, not because I can’t tell that
“Valse de Concert” equals “Concert Waltz,” incidentally).
Szymanowski plays this pure salon music most affectionately.
All in all then, a delightful disc, really well programmed and well
performed by a talented, eminently musical pianist.
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