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Roman STATKOWSKI (1859-1925)
Piano Works – vol. 2
Two Idylls Op.18 [6:43]
Three Obereks Op.22 [7:00]
Three Mazureks Op.24 [10:32]
Three Piècettes polonaises Op.9 [8:27]
Three Krakowiaks Op.23 [8:08]
Six Pièces Op.16 [20:56]
Barbara Karaskiewicz (piano)
rec. December 2007, Polish Radio Studio S1

Experience Classicsonline

This is the second volume in a series devoted to Roman Statkowski’s piano music. As before, pianist Barbara Karaskiewicz is our guide. Statkowski was born in 1859, studied music at the Instytut Muzyczny in Warsaw (1872-78), and then in Moscow with Anton Rubinstein amongst others. From 1904 he lived in Warsaw, taught at his alma mater, in 1909 becoming a composition professor there. A dedicated teacher, his professorial activities curtailed his compositional ones and so very few works were written after 1906. Statkowski died in 1925. Szymanowski apparently had held him in high regard, though this would surely have been for his meticulous professionalism and not the compositions he wrote per se.
None of the works here is dated in the helpful notes. As he left the conservatory in St Petersburg in 1890 and effectively gave up writing music in 1906 maybe we can date them to the two decades between 1886 and 1906.
We have some delightful, mellifluous and ingenious music-making here; an hour’s worth of lyricism and charm. The sets are of dance music, conventional enough sounding pieces, strong on Krakowiaks and Obereks, but the results don’t pall. The First Idyll is cut from a slightly different cloth, being light-hearted with romantic hues and folkloric innocence. There are deliciously fast trills in the second, in A flat major. Karaskiewicz has a fine time in the C major Oberek, its stuttering rhythm bringing amusement and the A flat major full of energetic salon verve.
Chopin, perhaps inevitably, haunts the Op.24 set of Mazureks, though Statkowski piles on some strong chordal power in the G minor. The Three Piècettes polonaises Op.9 have good moments; touches of reverie swirl about the first, a Cracovienne, whilst the second – an Oberek – is positively galvanic. The final Dumka tries hard to rid itself of melancholia – but fails. The longest set is the Six Pièces Op.16. They include an extrovert Capriccio, an elegant Impromptu, a pulsing Waltz, a nostalgia laden All’antico (with a lovely music-box B section) and a characteristically busy Auprès de la fontaine.
Full marks to this enterprising label, and the dedicated and buoyant Barbara Karaskiewicz, for this delightful recital.
Jonathan Woolf
Full marks for this delightful recital. ... see Full Review

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