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Grzegorz FITELBERG (1879-1953)
Complete works for violin and piano

Violin Sonata No.1 in A minor Op.2 (1894) [19:50]
Violin Sonata No.2 in F major Op.12 (1901) [19:28]
Romances for violin and piano Op.11; No.1 in D major (1892) [3:29]: No.2 in A major (1900) [3:36]
Chanson triste for piano solo [3:48]
Recitative for clarinet and piano (1918) arr. for violin by Andrzej Gebski [4:09]
Berceuse for violin and piano [3:45]
Mazurka for violin and piano [4:19]
Andrzej Gebski (violin)
Soyeon Lim (piano)
rec. March and May 2010, Polish Radio Studio S2, Warsaw
ACTE PR…ALABLE AP0207 [62:28]

Experience Classicsonline

As long as you donít conflate Fitelberg with his famous championing of the slightly younger Szymanowski, you wonít be disappointed by this disc. If, however, you expect that, due to their friendship, some of the latterís compositional evocation might have infiltrated the formerís writing, you will be searching in vain. A look at the dates of composition will alert one to the reality, which is that Fitelberg, who was an adept violinist, but is now a forgotten composer, wrote these violin pieces well before such an influence could become apparent, if indeed it was ever likely to become so.

The two violin sonatas were written seven years apart. The First (1894) is unpublished and 54 bars of the exposition are missing in the score, and have been reconstructed by Romuald Twardowski. Given that Fitelberg was only fifteen when he wrote it, one shouldnít expect too much. Itís a well constructed work, adeptly written for his own instrument, and not neglectful of a strong piano writing Ė a feature that is to emerge more forcefully still in the later sonata. The ethos is vaguely Wieniawski-Sarasate, but far less virtuosic than either, and more amiable. There are hints too of Franck in the central movement, which has an ardent expressive quality. The finale is vital and replete with a fair amount of panache, though the B section rather stops things in their tracks for a while.

The Second Sonata followed in 1901. Again itís in three movements, and was dedicated to Natalia Neuhaus, with whom Fitelberg had a child. She was the sister of Henryk Neuhaus, and cousin of Szymanowski, which is how Fitelberg came to meet the composer whose music he was so splendidly to promote. This is an obviously more mature work, though once again it owes something to Franck, not least in the tempestuous and difficult writing for the piano, very well surmounted here by Soyeon Lim. Its late-Romantic ethos is pervasive, both in turbulence and lyricism.

The other works are a mixed bunch. The Berceuse is a Slavic lullaby whilst the Mazurka is an engagingly virile affair, though I can imagine its opening paragraphs being dispatched with rather greater panache than they are here. This is the extent of the authentic violin and piano works, so we also have the Chanson triste which is for piano solo and the Recitative, which has been arranged from its clarinet original to violin by the soloist here, Andrzej Gebski. It was written during the composerís seven year sojourn in Russia and is a bipartite, generously lyrical effusion.

Acte Prťalableís recordings are generally enjoyable, well recorded, excellently annotated, and frequently feature novelties from the Polish repertory, as here. Both Gebski and Lim play highly capably, and do much to bring this unpretentious, youthful music to life.

Jonathan Woolf
















































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