Magazine article Gramophone

Plowright Goes Polish for 59th in the Rom-Con Piano Series

Magazine article Gramophone

Plowright Goes Polish for 59th in the Rom-Con Piano Series

Article excerpt

Zarzycki * Zelenski

'The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol 59'

Zarzycki Piano Concerto, Op 17. Grande Polonaise, Op 7 Zelenski Piano Concerto, Op 60

Jonathan Plowright pf

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / tukasz Borowicz

Hyperion (F) CDA67958 (61' * DDD)

Wladyslaw Zelenski's overture In the Tatras (1870) is still a popular concert item in Poland and Aleksander Zarzycki's Mazurka in G can be heard on a delightful 1940 recording by the violinist Ossy Renardi. For those who, like me, know nothing else of these Polish composers, Adrian Thomas's informative booklet tells us that both men were significant figures in the development of musical education in Warsaw. Zarzycki (1834-95) was the first director of the Warsaw Music Society and then of the city's Music Institute. Zelenski (1837-1921) succeeded him before moving to Krakow in a similar post.

Zarzycki's Grande Polonaise is a jolly Weber-cum-Chopin crowd pleaser. His later two-movement concerto, dedicated to Nikolai Rubinstein, dates from 1860. No first movement would seem to exist, though it feels as though there should be one, and the work begins 'as if in mid-sentence' (Thomas) with an Andante -a rather undistinguished one at that before the krakowiak-like second movement. The unpromising opening material gives way to a heart-easing secondary subject.

Zelenski's E flat major Concerto (1903) is the more interesting work. The first and last movements are based on sprightly dance forms, the second is a theme and variations, while all three show the composer's predilection for thematic counterpoint. …

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