for £13.50 postage paid World-wide.
(b.1922) Trio for violin, cello and piano (1950)*
Tadeusz SZELOGOWSKI (1899-1963)
Trio for piano, violin and cello* [22:57]
Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914-1991)
Piano Trio [16:46]
Poznan Piano Trio (Laura Sobolewska (piano), Anna Ziólkowska (violin),
Dagny Czarnecka (cello))
rec. Studio S1 Polish Radio, Warsaw, Poland, 25-28 October 2009
*World Première recordings
ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0243 [68:35]
This disc is one of a clutch that I have had the good fortune
to review recently. They have come from the stable of Acte Préalable,
a Polish CD company that describes itself as the “Leading label
promoting Polish music and musicians”. If what I have seen so
far is anything to go by the claim is valid. As noted above
this disc includes two world première recordings which show
the label’s commitment to its aims. In fact it was the musicians
that found those two compositions and the label’s Artistic Director
and Producer Jan Jarnicki was only too pleased to record them.
Andrzej Koszewski is pictured in the booklet at the piano surrounded
by the three trio members so, since he wrote his trio in 1950,
he must be pleased to have it recorded at last. It’s surprising
that it hasn’t been recorded before because it is an excellent
work. The trio opens with a movement marked Adagietto. Allegro
patetico which is quite animated even agitated. The second,
Andantino con moto, is a rocking lullaby by comparison.
Its central motif is a memorable and beautiful little tune that
sits well between the two outer movements. The final Sostenuto.
Allegro giusto is a complete contrast which embodies elements
of each of the preceding two plus a passing reference to Chopin.
The booklet states that this trio is among “... the relatively
modest group of instrumental pieces that Koszewski wrote” since
he is known principally for his choral music and that it was
treated as “practice of the styles of the past eras”. When you
hear this you will I’m sure feel as sad as I did that he did
not write more.
Tadeusz Szeligowski was a lawyer who turned to music only in
his thirties and yet was proficient enough to also teach Koszewski
among others. Szeligowski was yet another pupil of Nadia Boulanger
during which time he took to heart the spirit of the French
tradition. This was the same tradition that had as its motto
that music should give pleasure to the composer for a job well
done and then to the listener who could admire the ability of
the composer and the performing musicians. Szeligowski’s piano
trio was written in 1955-56 towards the end of his life - later
then than his pupil Koszewski’s. It was an attempt to experiment
with twelve-tone technique but not in such a wholesale way that
the overall impression is not more neo-classical than anything
else. It does have a more “modern” sound than his pupil’s but
that’s as far as it goes. The work as a whole is generally one
full of lyricism and good tunes.
The final work on the disc is by one of Poland’s best known
and well respected composers, Andrzej Panufnik. Though born
in 1914 between the two other composers, he wrote his trio when
only 22 and fresh from the Conservatory. It was given its première
in 1936 with no less a person at the piano than Mieczyslaw Weinberg.
The booklet states that contemporary reviewers considered it
so romantic in feel that they associated it with Brahms and
it’s not hard to see why. I wonder what those same reviewers
had to say about Panufnik’s potential because this work promises
much for the young composer’s future, a promise thoroughly fulfilled
throughout his life. The trio is extremely beautiful and abounds
in brilliance. We are fortunate that despite being burnt along
with much else during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 he managed
to reconstruct it afterwards. It was not published until 1977.
The booklet poses an interesting couple of questions: if the
listener played the disc in the order the works were written
would they find the work written last more difficult to understand
than the earlier ones. Would the fact that two were written
by “students” and one by a teacher be obvious? Well my response
is no to both.
To me the disc is of three highly successful and enjoyable piano
trios that show that the great Polish musical tradition that
reached its zenith with Chopin was still alive and well in the
twentieth century as evidenced further by the likes of Lutoslawski,
Penderecki, Weinberg, Szymanowski, Tansman, Gorecki, Baird and
many more and that it continues today. These works have been
very well recorded and are beautifully played by this young
trio who have launched their recording career with this disc.
I wish them every success. I look forward to more discoveries
from Acte Préalable.