English Section

Polish pianist gets rave reviews for new CD

03.10.2022 23:00
A new CD from Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman has received highly favourable reviews from critics after it was launched by Deutsche Grammophon on Friday.
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabaypixabay.com

The CD features a selection of piano works by Polish composer Karol Szymanowski, including his Masques Op. 34, four of his 20 Mazurkas Op. 50, four of his nine Preludes Op. 1, and Variations on a Polish Folk Theme Op. 10.

The prestomusic.com website praises Zimerman’s pianistic skills, saying: “There are moments in Masques of quite terrifying ferocity, yet within the densest passages Zimerman maintains absolute clarity of each individual line, even when he is having to perform three staves' worth of music simultaneously!

"Similarly, in places such as the second variation from the Variations on a Polish Folk Theme, Op. 10, the thundering left-hand octaves never obscure the texture or the right-hand harmonies, whilst the sheer aural onslaught that is the funeral march of the eighth variation is mightily impressive, full of great weight and profundity without becoming turgid.”

The Presto Music critic says that in every bar of "this fine recording," Zimerman "demonstrates the keen intelligence, ever-thoughtful interpretative decisions, and staggering technical mastery.”

Krystian Zimerman, Łódź 2009 r. Krystian Zimerman. Photo: PAP/Grzegorz Michałowski

In its review of Zimerman’s CD, The Financial Times wrote: “The music has been chosen to show Szymanowski’s development through his life and the wide range of his piano pieces. It starts right at the beginning with four of the Préludes, Op 1, dreamily played, as if the pianist is improvising in the style of Szymanowski’s great Polish predecessor Chopin.

"From there it is a big leap to the Masques, Op 34, where Szymanowski’s fascination with the east evokes a wholly new atmosphere. Exotically sensual music shimmers up and down the keyboard, interrupted by momentary outbursts of violence.

"The mazurkas that follow are not like Chopin’s mazurkas at all, as one might have expected; Debussy is the closest match in this scintillating music’s impressionist sheen.

"Finally, Zimerman plays the better-known Variations on a Polish Folk Theme, Op 10. This is a tremendous showpiece, and played as such, Zimerman revelling in the multifarious challenges, leading to a barnstormer of a fugal finale. The whole disc is a delight and a discovery.”

The CD, entitled Szymanowski: Piano Works, was released several days before the 140th anniversary of the composer's birth on October 3.