Notes & Reviews:
Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI occupies a special place in the Polish musical tradition. Paradoxically enough, for many decades he was appreciated more abroad than in his homeland. This is a direct outcome of the biography of this extraordinary composer, pianist and politician, who spent many years of his artistic and diplomatic activity in the West and made a name there as a phenomenal pianist and an ardent promoter of the Polish cause. The fact that his pianistic successes in Poland were far less spectacular was most probably a consequence of the general situation on the country’s musical scene. One of its features was the lack of genuine concert halls that could rival in prestige the world’s most prestigious venues. Regarding Paderewski’s own compositions, they were by far too balanced to compete with the great tradition of Chopin or Moniuszko, and at the same time fairly conservative when compared with works by Karlowicz or Szymanowski. This is perhaps why Paderewski is valued in Poland primarily as a skilful politician who successfully fought for the independence of his homeland.
Ignacy Jan Paderewski was particularly fond of using poems by the classics of Polish Romanticism, notably Adam Asnyk, Adam Mickiewicz and Wladyslaw Syrokomla. His first song cycle was a setting of five poems by Asnyk. Several of the compositions on this release come from those poems Paderewski was so fond of. Anna Radziejewska, Karol Kozlowski and Agnieszka Hoszowska-Jablonska bring Panderewski's works to life with the stylistic voices and talent.