‘Roman Maciejewski: Transcriptions for Two Pianos’ CD

A volume of works by Roman Maciejewski is the third CD in a series dedicated to a type of repertoire that is rare in contemporary music; namely, transcriptions for two pianos. Performers set out to discover, first and foremost, the extraordinary space of Maciejewski’s imagination and musical fascinations. This latest volume (CD Accord) was recorded by pianists Katarzyna Rajs and Piotr Kępiński.

The composer’s colorful life story has already become the subject of two films (the biographical Outsider by Stefan Szlachtycz in 1993, and the 1995 TV production I Am Not a Child of My Time scripted by Anna Biedak and Wojciech Maciejewski). In his lifetime, he was praised for his fresh and daring approach to new Polish music, but his monumental Requiem met with an extremely varied reception. 

Today his music seems to have won its proper place among the works of 20th-century Polish composers. Proof of this can be found in concert repertoire, which now includes such pieces as his mazurkas and Piano duo concertante, as well as in attempts to reconstruct his ballet music, in the considerable success of his Kurpie Songs, and the numerous performances and recordings of his opus vitae, the already mentioned Requiem.

Maciejewski’s music for two pianos, substantial both in terms of its size and artistic quality, now gets its chance for recognition and revival. Notably, this group includes numerous transcriptions and paraphrases, which Maciejewski created in different periods of his life, not only for his own current concert needs, as a unique piano repertoire, but also owing to his predilection for such ways of presenting music. The composer practiced the art of arrangement, paraphrase, and improvisation from his earliest years. As a young man he improvised on the piano and organ to earn a living in the hard interwar period. He performed as a pianist both in Poland and after his emigration to the US. He soon gained fame playing both his own pieces and paraphrases of works by other composers. From his early youth he liked to play and write for two pianos, or for piano four hands. He gave concerts with Kazimierz Kranc (in Paris and the US), Martin Penny, Sixten Eckerberg, and Alex Portnoff (in Sweden) as well as Jerzy Lefeld (in Warsaw).

 [Source: CD Accord]