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Pianos and Pianists - Consultant Editor Ates Orga



Listens to Paderewski's Symphony


CD Spotlight




Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941), aside from his great reputation as a pianist from the earlier part of this century, is best known as the composer of the familiar Minuet in G, his at one time ubiquitous Op 14 No 1. Checking a little further, one comes up with his piano concerto, a small handful of other works, solo and concerted, and even an opera (the three-act lyric drama Manru - unrecorded*). But a symphony from a flamboyant piano virtuoso? This nearly 75-minute work, the pianist's last substantial composition, dates from 1903-09 and was premiered on February 12th 1909 by no less than the Boston Symphony under Max Fiedler. It is a surging, sprawling, dramatic post-romantic piece with moody but not derivative echoes of the harmonic and melodic language of Rachmaninov, Gliere, Sibelius, and even Wagner. I was particularly struck by the sweeping gloom of the second movement, which is flanked by two half-hour-long movements, the final one, based on the Polish national anthem, with its military fervour being the most obviously patriotic - though also perhaps the least attractive. This recording, to my knowledge the first complete one**, is impressively directed by the chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Jerzy Maksymiuk, an exhilarating personality (I recall performing with him with pleasure when he directed the Polish Chamber Orchestra on a US tour several years ago). The BBC Scottish is a fine ensemble, impressively reproduced here with excellent imaging, its wide range dynamics emerging clear as a bell from the softest passages to the most massive sonorities.

Copyright © Igor Kipnis, December 17th 1999




* though Manru's Act II aria, 'Jako gdy wsrod skwaru' ('As when in the heat of day'), has been recorded a number of times - the earliest around 1910 with the tenor Giuseppe Anselmi and an unidentified accompanist (Fonotipia 62289). AO

** Bohdan Wodiczko's 1974 premiere recording with the Orchestra of the Pomeranian Philharmonic of IJ Paderewski was cut (Muza SXL 0968). AO



Visit the Igor Kipnis web site for further biographical information and an
illustrated discography



Paderewski: Symphony in B Minor, Op 24 (Polonia)
30'8"/17'1"/27'4"- TT 74'21"

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Jerzy Maksymiuk
Fionnuala Hunt, leader


Recorded: January 22nd, 23rd 1998
Venue: Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh

Executive Producers: Edward & Simon Perry
Producer: Andrew Keener
Engineer: Philip Hobbs

CD liner notes: Adrian Thomas
French translation: Hyperion
German: translation: Abbe Steeb & Bernd Müller
Design: Terry Shannon


Hyperion CDA 670556 DDD stereo






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