• New CD Note (Różycki/Hyperion)
Friday, 29 January 2016 Leave a comment
In the last few of years of writing CD notes, I have unexpectedly been travelling back in time to Polish repertoire, little of which I knew. It began back in 1998, with a note on Paderewski’s Symphony ‘Polonia’, followed by a CD of his major piano works. But the trend has accelerated recently with notes on Zarębski (Piano Quintet – which I did know!), Żeleński (Piano Quartet, Piano Concerto), Zarzycki (Grande Polonaise, Piano Concerto), Dobrzyński (Overture to Monbar, Piano Concerto, Symphony no.2) and Scharwenka (Piano Concertos 1-4). The world of the curious listener is forever indebted to the two UK companies – Hyperion and Chandos – that have made this and other neglected repertoire available.
Now I can add another name to the roster: Ludomir Różycki (concertante works for piano and orchestra), and there’s another CD in the pipeline of piano quintets by Różycki and Ignacy Friedman. Różycki was part of the short-lived composer collective a few years into the 20th century – Młoda Polska w Muzyce (Young Poland in Music) – that also included Szymanowski. But Różycki’s music rarely penetrated outside Poland and even within Poland he is known primarily for one score, the ballet Pan Twardowski (Mr Twardowski). I saw this many moons ago, and it is a totally delightful and brilliantly characterised piece of Tchaikovskian whimsy, with the necessary dark undertow. This new CD of Różycki’s music has many surprises as well as confirming him as a dyed-in-the-wool conservative with a clear lyrical gift. The Second Piano Concerto in particular raises as many questions as it answers, probably as a consequence of the time and place of its composition (1941, Warsaw).
Here’s the link to my booklet note for Hyperion’s The Romantic Piano Concerto 67: Różycki, or you can scroll the CD NOTES tab above.
• And here’s a little extra post – When was Różycki born? – that tries to shed some light on the mistaken belief (see major dictionaries) that Różycki was born in 1884, not 1883.