PMC Gifts: February 2022

Musical Messages

Praised for their recordings of string quartets by Szymon Laks, Stanisław Moniuszko, Andrzej Panufnik and Krzysztof Penderecki, the Messages String Quartet has yet another exciting release to their credit. Joined by pianist Julia Kociuban, the Messages’ latest album (DUX 1792) features two Piano Quintets by Grażyna Bacewicz and Aleksander Tansman’s Musica a cinque for piano quintet, and is now a part of the PMC’s sound recording holdings.

Just like in their previous albums, the Messages here imbue Bacewicz’s works with much insight and authority, giving new dimensions to her two diametrically different piano quintets—the first dating from 1952 and the second from 1965, barely four years before Bacewicz’s untimely death. Although these fine, mid-century neoclassical works have over the years found many sympathetic interpreters, with its impeccable musicianship and deeply committed approach to music this recording of Bacewicz’s Piano Quintets is certainly among the very best. 

The real prize on this CD, however, is the inclusion of Tansman’s fascinating, five-movement Musica a cinque—a little-known work written in Italy in the mid-1950s but not published until 1994, eight years after Tansman’s death. Concise and carefully constructed, it is a truly sparkling work that certainly deserves to be heard more often on concert stages everywhere. As it is, with Julia Kociuban’s polished contributions at the keyboard and Messages’ deeply dedicated approach, Bacewicz and Tansman receive their well-deserved dues from these five young and talented Polish musicians.

Donations to the Library

Professor Sławomir Dobrzański, pianist, author of Maria Szymanowska’s biography (PMHS Vol. 9) and a longtime friend of the PMC recently donated a few interesting items to our library. The first is a book by Anna Parkita, entitled Antoni Kątski—Lew estrady XIX wieku [Antoni Kątski—the 19th century concert stage lion]. Besides providing much-needed biographical information on this important performer and prolific composer, Anna Parkita also analyzes Kątski’s major piano works and places them in the context of 19th century piano music and performance practice.

Anna Parkita is also an accomplished pianist and, together with cellist Przemysław Wierzba, performs on the Viae ad fontes—Drogi do źródeł [In search of a source] Opus Series 72/2022 CD, spotlighting several works by Andrzej Cwojdziński. This CD was donated by Prof. Dobrzański alongside with three other discs. The first is Franciszek Lessel’s Piano Concertos Op. 2 and Op. 14 and Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński’s Monbar Ouverture (NIFCCD 103). The performers on this release include pianist Howard Shelley (heard on an 1849 Erard grand) and the period ensemble, Concerto Köln, under the baton of Michael Güttler. 

Another disc donated by Prof. Dobrzański is a recital by pianist Maciej Grzybowski. His brilliant and unconventional approach in presenting music is to juxtapose the old with the new in many insightful and inventive ways. He does so in live appearances and on recordings, with this Universal Polska 476 155 7 release being no exception. Here we find Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata, Op. 1, Paweł Mykietyn’s Four Preludes for Piano, J.S. Bach’s Partita No. 1 and the Italian Concerto, as well as Paweł Szymański’s Two Etudes and Arnold Schoenberg’s Sechs kleine Klavierstücke.

The last donated disc features music by Paweł Łukaszewski, including his Eight Songs for Children as well as the Piano Quintet and Concertino for Piano and Brass. This DUX 1296 release also includes a world premiere recording of Łukaszewski’s 2016 Nocturne and features several young and enthusiastic performers, including Anna Mikołajczyk-Niewiedział, Robert Gierlach, Joanna Citkowicz, the Nostadema Quartet, and the Trombastic Brass Sextet, all gathered under the auspices of a young virtuoso pianist, Wojciech Świętoński.

Thank you! Dziękujemy!