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Antoni KĄTSKI (1817-1899)
Piano Works - Volume 2
Polka nationale variée pour le piano op. 81 [7:15]
L'Isolement - méditation pour le piano op. 47 [6:53]
Toujours seul - méditation pour le piano no. 3 op. 57 [10:02]
Le Rouet - impromptu pour le piano op. 325 [2:24]
La Chasse op. 237 [3:31]
Variations brilliantes pour piano sur la Cracovienne op. 45 [10:43]
Les Violettes, quadrille brillant pour le piano à quatre mains op. 30 [3:40]
Le Reveil du lion! Caprice héroïque pour le piano à quatre mains op. 115 [13:53]
Dobrzański Sławomir (piano)
Muriago Agustin (piano)
rec 2017/18, Samorzadoe Centrum Kultury w Mielcu; All Faiths Chapel, Kansas State University, Manhattan, USA

The first volume of Acte Préalable's Antoni Kątski expedition appeared last year. Now comes Dobrzański Sławomir and Muriago Agustin to dispel the obscurity and ignorance around the music of the much-travelled Kątski. Their Acte Préalable helping of world premiere recordings here steps forward for seconds. Stepping forward is the order of the day but so is stepping out if we take his Polka nationale variée as a bellwether; ditto the Variations brilliantes la Cracovienne and Les Violettes, quadrille brillant pour quatre mains.

These early romantic nineteenth century treats take us inoffensively and indeed delightfully through worlds paralleling those of Field and Chopin. The L'Isolement and Toujours seul are placidly-centred sincere meditations. More salon-style brilliance comes in Le Rouet, La Chasse and Le Reveil du lion, the latter a Caprice héroïque indeed.

Although question marks hang over Kątski's originality these eight morsels treat the sympathetic listener tenderly. If you have a taste for the music of the two composers mentioned above then you will find much to gratify you in this volume and its predecessor. Just temper your expectations and you will be happy enough. Certainly, the playing and the two venues will give you no reason for dissatisfaction.

The booklet essay on all things Kątski is by Sławomir Dobrzański and is in Polish and English.

Accounts of the Kątski family (a very musical community, by the way) are, by the way, not abundant; at least not in English. It seems that the family name was also rendered as "de Kontski". That complication aside we should note that Antoni has siblings: Karol (1815–1867), Stanisław (1820-1892) and Apollinaire (1825–1879): Anton and Stanisław were pianists, while Karol and Apollinaire played the violin. There was also a sister Maria Eugenia. Grove reports that all began as child prodigies and that several of them gave a concert in public on 3 February 1822 in Kraków. They later studied and performed in Warsaw.

Rob Barnett 

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