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Acte Prealable Polish CDs

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Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846 – 1909)
Complete Songs 3
Bogumila Tarasiewicz (mezzo-soprano), Karol Schmidt (piano)
rec. 2015-18, Concert Hall of Międzynarodowe Centrum Muzyczne “Wschód-Zachód” in Zielona Góra, Poland
The Polish song texts enclosed but no translations

The third and concluding volume in Acte Préalable’s traversal of the complete songs of Zygmunt Noskowski is a kind of mopping up of odd songs never allotted opus numbers and never being published. Many of them exist only as manuscripts and quite a few have only recently been discovered through Bogumila Tarasiewicz’s research in various libraries. At least some of the finds were made so recently that they had to organise an extra recording session on 1 July 2018 (the rest of the songs were set down in December 2015 and May and December 2016). But their obscurity doesn’t in any way imply that they are second rate. They are decidedly valuable songs which now righteously are made available and further add to our knowledge of Noskowski as composer. If there are any differences it may be that some songs seem more inspired by folk music which, with one or two notable exceptions, was not the case with the songs with opus numbers. Nasi górale (Our highlanders) (tr. 13) probably refers to the southernmost part of Poland which is a mountainous region, including the Sudetes, the Kraków-Częstochowa Uplands, the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, and the Carpathian Mountains. The highest part of the Carpathians is the Tatra Mountains, along Poland's southern border, with 70 mountains over 2,000 metres in elevation, the highest point being Rysy, 2,499 metres. Also Dumka (tr. 14) is rooted in folk tradition. In volume 1 there is another.

Some of the songs here are Christmas songs (tr. 7 – 9), the first of which is in German. Stimme im Dunkeln (tr. 6) is also in German with words by Richard Dehmel. The author of the Christmas song is unknown. It is also worth noticing that Sen (tr. 5) is a translation of a poem by Heinrich Heine.

Several of the songs are lighter in tone and more “popular”, and I bet many readers with a sweet tooth will appreciate The lark sings, The kiss and The separation (tr. 18 – 20). I have already added them to my list of “classical pops” – because of their attractive melodies. And this brings me to the hang-up, which concerns all three discs: the lack of translations. All the sung texts are printed in the booklets, but they are all in Polish, a language which I have very limited knowledge of. So it was a relief when I reached tracks 6 and 7 with the Dehmel poem and the anonymous Christmas song. In spite of this want I won’t dissuade non-Polish speakers from trying one of the discs, since there is a lot of musical value in the songs. The quality of the singing is a bit variable, as I pointed out in the review of volume 1, but it has its merits as well.

Göran Forsling

1. Księżyc (The moon) [4:04]
2. Dwie gwiazdki (Two stars) [1:53]
3. Oto jestem! (Here I am!) [1:28]
4. Pożegnanie (Farewell) [2:21]
5. Sen (Dream) [2:14]
6. Stimme im Dunkeln (Voice in the dark) [2:15]
7. Christkindleins Wiegenlied (Baby Jesus lullaby) [4:07]
8. Urywek kolędowy (Vhristmas carol’s passage) [2:16]
9. Kolęda (Carol) [2:52]
10. Do Braci Slowian! (To Slav brothers!) [1:59]
11. Śpiew towarszyszów polskich (Polish companions song) [2:29]
12. Stach (Stach) [2:54]
13. Nasi górale (Our highlanders) [2:22]
14. Dumka (Dumka) [1:24]
15. Na wodzie (On the water) [1:20]
16. Nad kolyskąOver the cradle) [4:17]
17. Niewidome dziewczę(Blind damsel) [2:35]
18. Skowroneczek śpiewa (The lark sings) [1:46]
19. Pocalunek (The kiss) [3:05]
20. Rozląka (The separation) [4:14]
21. Ty się do mnie nie śmiej dziewczę (Damsel don’t you laugh) op. 64 no. 1 [1:43]
22. Mój zagon (My field) [1:45]

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