COMPOSERS: Ludomir Różycki
ALBUM TITLE: Rózycki: Piano Concertos
WORKS: Ballade in G, Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2
PERFORMER: Jonathan Plowright (piano)/BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Lukasz Borowicz
CATALOGUE NO: Hyperion CDA 68066
As contemporaries in turn-of-the century Warsaw, Ludomir Różycki and Karol Szymanowski shared a composition teacher and became fellow founders of the Young Poland in Music movement. But their careers diverged, and though Różycki (younger by a year, born in 1883) wrote prolifically and successfully in many genres, his star waned. Szymanowski died before the war, but Różycki lived until 1953, by which time Poland and Polish music had radically changed. This welcome disc of his piano and orchestra works traces a gradual stylistic evolution.
The Ballade in G dates from 1904, even before Różycki went to Berlin for studies with Humperdinck, and is an attractive piece full of broad melodies. Completed in 1918, the year of Poland’s independence, the Concerto No. 1 opens introspectively yet pianistic virtuosity soon wins out, not least in the tarantella-like finale. More compact, the two-movement Piano Concerto No. 2 has some brittleness reflecting the time of composition (1941-2), but heady ideas emerge in (following time-honoured Polish concerto tradition) the krakowiak finale. Both the pianist Jonathan Plowright and conductor Lukasz Borowicz are champions of neglected Polish music, and this disc’s place in Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Concerto series makes it self-recommending.