Marek: Suite de quatre morceaux; Violin Sonata; Berceuse; Sérénade italienne; Annemarie

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COMPOSERS: Marek
LABELS: Koch Schwann
WORKS: Suite de quatre morceaux; Violin Sonata; Berceuse; Sérénade italienne; Annemarie
PERFORMER: Ingolf Turban (violin), Jitka Cechova, Marie-Catherine Girod, Ludmila Janowska (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 3-6576-2
Czeslaw Marek was already well travelled by the time he settled in Switzerland in 1915. Piano and composition studies in Lvov, Vienna and Strasbourg, along with work in Prague, meant that he was among the more cosmopolitan Polish composers of the 20th century. Not surprisingly, his musical style rests on a correspondingly broad range of influence. In the Violin Sonata, completed in Prague in 1914, the affinities are with the German late-Romanticism of his Strasbourg teacher Pfitzner. The more richly textured, four-movement Suite, composed in the years between 1916 and 1918, show a marked relaxation of style with Debussy a clear presence alongside and occasional backward glances to Franck and Brahms. The charming Berceuse of 1926 and the first of the piano duets from the Thirties show a wholly beneficial reinforcement of Debussy’s influence. The final number is a jazz parody reminiscent of Martinu. If this all sounds a little too eclectic, worry not: Marek’s work is not only superbly crafted, it is always diverting. The players settle to the humorous and expressive sides of his idiom well, though occasionally the violin’s top range sounds a little stressed and the piano in the duets rather harsh. Jan Smaczny

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