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A Century of Polish Piano Miniatures

BACEWICZ • H. & M. GÓRECKI • PADEREWSKI • SZYMANOWSKI


  • Anna Szałucka, piano

‘A Century of Polish Piano Miniatures’ takes us on a fascinating journey through a golden era in Polish music, from the great patriot Paderewski via Szymanowski, Bacewicz and Górecki, to present-day composers. This essential collection coincides with Poland’s centenary of independence in 2018 with each work representing significant moments in the country’s musical and political history. It pays tribute to the bravery of composers who stood up for freedom in art and culture during times of great political turmoil.

Tracklist

Paderewski, Ignacy Jan
 
Humoresques de concert, Op. 14 (1887) (00:05:00 )
1
No. 1. Menuet (00:04:12)
2
No. 2. Sarabande (00:03:43)
3
No. 3. Caprice (00:02:42)
Szymanowski, Karol
 
20 Mazurkas, Op. 50 (1926) (00:19:00 )
4
No. 1. Sostenuto. Molto rubato (00:02:28)
5
No. 2. Allegramente. Poco vivace (00:02:36)
6
No. 3. Moderato (00:02:52)
7
No. 4. Allegramente, risoluto (00:02:28)
Bacewicz, Grażyna
 
Piano Sonata No. 2 (1953) (00:17:44 )
8
I. Maestoso (00:06:13)
9
II. Largo (00:06:49)
10
III. Toccata (00:03:36)
Górecki, Henryk Mikołaj
11
Intermezzo (1990) (00:02:37)
Mykietyn, Paweł
 
4 Preludia (1992) (00:11:00 )
12
No. 1. quarter note = ca 80 (00:02:51)
13
No. 2. quarter note = ca 48 (00:01:43)
14
No. 3. quarter note = ca 114 (00:03:02)
15
No. 4. Prestissimo possibile, quarter note = ca 100 (00:03:37)
Górecki, Mikołaj
16
Piano Sonata (2010) * (00:07:12)
Panufnik, Andrzej
17
Modlitwa (Prayer) (arr. R. Panufnik for piano) (1990) (00:05:37)
World Première Recording
Total Time: 01:04:18

The Artist(s)

Anna Szałucka Anna Szalucka is an exciting multi-award-winning Polish pianist recognised for her exceptional musicality and intense virtuosity. She completed the bachelor’s degree at the Stanislaw Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdansk studying with Waldemar Wojtal. She then continued her studies at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Vienna in the piano class of Stefan Vladar and later on at the Royal Academy of Music in London under the supervision of Ian Fountain where she held the Hodgson Piano Fellowship in the years 2017–18.

The Composer(s)

Grażyna Bacewicz Grazyna Bacewicz played a leading role in bringing Polish music into the twentieth-century mainstream and onto the international concert stage, as both a composer and a concertizing violinist. Following in the footsteps of Szymanowski, Bacewicz and her peers kept their roots in native Polish folksong while exploring and welcoming the possibilities offered by the invigorating trends of modernism.
Henryk Mikolaj Górecki The Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Górecki was born on 6 December 1933 in Czernica, Silesia. He studied music at the high school of music in Katowice (now the Academy of Music). In 1960 he graduated with distinction from the class of the composer Boleslaw Szabelski (author of five symphonies), who had been taught by Karol Szymanowski. Górecki had his début concert as a composer in 1958 in Katowice, which led to performances of his works in the next editions of the “Warsaw Autumn” International Festival of Contemporary Music (including Symphony No 1 “1959” in 1959 and Scontri in 1960). Shortly afterwards he gained his first significant international success as a composer, winning first prize at the 1961 Biennial Festival of Youth in Paris with his Symphony No 1.
Paweł Mykietyn Pawel Mykietyn graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw in 1997, although his composition 3 for 13 had already been placed first at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris two years earlier. In 2011 Mykietyn was honoured with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for outstanding achievements in national culture and the international promotion of Polish art.
Ignacy Jan Paderewski Paderewski, trained in Warsaw, later became a pupil of Leschetizky in Vienna, embarking then on a distinguished international career as a virtuoso pianist. He abandoned his career as a musician for three years, from 1918 to 1921, when he held the positions of Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Poland, in continuation of his fight for Polish independence. This struggle he had resumed at the time of his death in 1940, during the course of a visit to the United States of America to arouse support for his cause. Paderewski wrote a number of attractive short pieces for piano in the early years of his career. These include the very well known Mélodie in G flat major, and the Menuet célèbre.
Andrzej Panufnik Born in Warsaw, Andrzej Panufnik started to compose aged nine. He graduated from the Warsaw Conservatoire with Distinctions in composition and conducting, increasing his classical repertoire as a favoured pupil of Felix Weingartner at the Vienna Academy, then studying impressionist composers with Philippe Gaubert in Paris, with further music explorations in London. At the outbreak of World War II he returned to Warsaw to look after his parents. In Nazi-occupied Poland, with public concerts banned, he played the piano in “artistic cafés”, collaborating with Witold Lutoslawski, and with his Jewish violinist friend Tadeusz Geisler until the Ghetto was enclosed. Despite the terror on the streets of Warsaw, he also conducted illegal and charity concerts, and composed resistance songs, including the famous Warszawskie Dzieci. During the War he lost most of his closest relatives, and all the compositions of his first 30 years were destroyed in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.
Karol Szymanowski The Polish composer Karol Szymanowski was born in the Ukraine, once part of the kingdom of Poland, but studied in Warsaw; he was much influenced by Chopin and then by Wagner, Richard Strauss, Brahms and Reger. From a well-to-do and cultured family, he read widely, particularly between 1914 and 1917 when he remained on the family estate in the Ukraine (a property then destroyed in the Civil War). The breadth of his cultural knowledge is reflected in his music and in particular in his settings of a variety of literary texts. Musically he is able at times to draw on specifically Polish material, and on his own perceptions of Arabic and Persian culture.

Reviews

“Impressive playing and an interesting album as well, nicely pitched between easy on the ear and difficult.” – Review Corner