DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Paderewski & Stojowski: Convincing Obscurities

By Norman Lebrecht on September 3, 2021

Lebrecht_Listens_-_Paderewski-Stojowskis

Paderewski, Stojowski: Violin Sonatas (CPO)

★★★★☆

We don’t hear much of Ignacy Jan Paderewski these days, let alone his friend Zygmunt Stojowski. The first prime minister of independent Poland has been overshadowed politically by the nation’s turbulence, and musically by Szymanowski. Famed in his day as a virtuoso pianist, Paderewski enjoyed considerable reputation before 1914 as a popular symphonist in sub-Rachmaninov mode. His lifelong pal Stojowski was equally successful on both fronts. I can’t remember seeing either of them on a concert program in recent years.

This pairing of violin-piano sonatas by the two Poles comes close, at times, to revelation. The Paderewski sonata dates from his first wife’s death after childbirth in 1881, amid the immediate pressures of caring for their severely handicapped son. The communication is urgent and the emotion intense, most of all in the opening movement, although there is no real slackening as the dark mood lightens. There are hints of Jewish melody, which is odd since the blue blood Paderewski had no sympathy for Poland’s largest minority, and was briefly co-publisher of an anti-Semitic newspaper. The general tone here is akin to the César Franck sonata, which is a very elevated level for a composer whose first instrument is piano. The Paderewski sonata demands to be heard. Paderewski died in US exile in 1941; his remains were transferred to Warsaw half a century later.

Stojowski was, on this evidence, an even better composer for the violin. Mentored in his teens by Paderewski, he migrated to New York in 1905 and was a pioneering figure in its musical life, founding the piano department of what would become the Juilliard School. At his death in 1946, The New York Times reminded readers that he was among “the most authoritative exponents of Paderewski’s methods and musical ideals”. On the evidence of these two sonatas, he added a Kreisler-like wit to late-romantic adumbrations. The violinist Piotr Plawner and pianist Piotr Salajczyk give captivating and altogether convincing performances of these obscurities. I would happily subscribe to an emergent series of forgotten Polish treasures if the quality remained this high.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, subscribe to Slippedisc.com.

#LUDWIGVAN

Get the daily arts news straight to your inbox.

Sign up for the Ludwig van Daily — classical music and opera in five minutes or less HERE.

Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

THE SCOOP | Opera Atelier Doubles Down On Youth Education

By Michael Vincent on August 18, 2021

Toronto’s Opera Atelier have expanded their Making of an Opera (MOAO) education program thanks to an award of $83,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Resilient Communities Fund in 2020.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

SCRUTINY | Shaw Festival’s ‘The Devil’s Disciple’ Is A Whole New Ballgame

By Paula Citron on August 28, 2021

There are actually two plays going on in the Shaw Festival’s production of The Devil’s Disciple by the titular playwright — an unbearably slow first act, and a lively second one.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

SCRUTINY | Shaw Festival’s ‘Flush’ A Brilliant Character Study

By Paula Citron on September 4, 2021

Flush will become almost a human person before the end of the play, and you will accept his adventures as absolute reality.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.