Stojowski: Piano Concertos / Wilczek, Szlezer, Wroniszewski, Guz, Sinfonia Iuventus

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A MusicWeb International Recording of the Month for July 2022!

From Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra: “We are pleased to announce the release of another album, which we had the opportunity to co-create. This long awaited album was released by DUX and features two piano concertos by the outstanding Polish post-Romantic Zygmunt Stojowski, a student and friend of Ignacy Jan Paderewski. It is our great pleasure to be able to remind listeners once again of such a valuable repertoire. We are certain that this new album will bring them much joy and satisfaction! However, this is not the first encounter with Stojowki’s music for the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra. In 2017, alongside pianist Jonathan Plowright and under the direction of Łukasz Borowicz, it recorded the impressive “Symphonic Rhapsody” for piano and orchestra (Warner Classics). The piano concertos included on the album were composed over a fairly long time interval (1891 and 1913). These compositions cleverly demonstrate the evolution of the composer’s style, as well as his loyalty to the late-Romantic idiom.”


Zygmunt Stojowski was an out and out romanticist in a world that began to shy away from that style in the mid twentieth century...later in life he was to be the first Polish composer to have an entire concert devoted to his music by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Cast in three movements the Concerto [for Piano no. 1] is a wonderfully constructed work, bristling with difficulties but with some beautiful melodies and moments of high drama. The opening is enigmatic, just a low unharmonised melody in the cellos and double basses before the orchestra gradually joins in, first a horn then the oboe while tension mounts; the drama and pace is driven by an insistent timpani motif that repeats as the tempo increases. The soloist's entry is as dramatic as one could wish with two keyboard-spanning arpeggios before things relax down for the opening theme played by the soloist.

A review in the Musical Times in 1893 remarked that except in the hands of a great pianist it would stand but a poor chance. Thankfully the pianist in this performance, Marek Szlezer, is more than up to the challenge of the entire concerto[.]

The second Concerto, subtitled Prologue, scherzo and variations is just as is Witold Wilczek who is the admirable soloist for the second Concerto. The orchestral contributions are as strong and the Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra respond with enthusiasm and verve under the skilful baton of Marek Wroniszewski. [The] Romance of the first piano concerto is conducted by Zofia Guz[,] the orchestra's assistant conductor...she acquits herself well[.]

These two concertos are supreme examples of romantic pianism at its best and with such a wonderful fusion of high quality writing for both orchestra and soloist, great melodic invention and thrilling virtuosity they deserve to be much better known. A great disc.

--MusicWeb International (Rob Challinor)

Product Description:

  • Release Date: April 15, 2022

  • Catalog Number: DUX1773

  • UPC: 5902547017730

  • Label: DUX

  • Period: 20th Century

  • Conductor: Marek Wroniszewski

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra

  • Performer: Marek Szlezer