Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 3; Piano Concerto No. 2; Waltzes; Mazurkas

COMPOSERS: Chopin
LABELS: EMI
ALBUM TITLE: Witold Malcuzynski
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 3; Piano Concerto No. 2; Waltzes; Mazurkas
PERFORMER: Witold Malcuzynski (piano)LSO/Walter Susskind
CATALOGUE NO: CZS 5 68226 2 ADD (1960/63)
EMl’s generously filled Artist Profile series selects material from the first decade or so of stereo. The collection returns to the catalogue some celebrated performances of the past – the London ones all recorded in the inviting acoustic of the old Kingsway Hall.

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Historically between Toscanini and Giulini, the Italian Guido Cantelli was killed in an air crash in 1956, aged 36. His 1955 Philharmonia Schubert Unfinished, steering a course between Classical strength and Romantic flowering, is glorious. And his handling of Beethoven Seven is as powerfully cogent as his Franck Symphony is persuasive.

The Franco-Belgian Andre1 Cluytens (1905-67) had a flexible understanding of Berlioz, Debussy and Roussel that was charismatic. So too was his approach to Beethoven: you won’t find a more beautifully paced Pastoral than his outstanding 1960 account with the Berlin PO, a classic of the gramophone.

Rafael Kubelik’s RPO/Vienna Philharmonic recordings, elegant and refined, are happiest when he’s conjuring a rustic folk scene — Borodin’s B minor Symphony, Tchaikovsky Four. And his insight into Martinu, Janacek and Bart6k is provocative not so much for its drive as its soft-centred, folksy indulgence, redolent of Brahms and Mahler.

Constantin Silvestri (1913-69) was Romanian-born and British naturalised. Sensitive and poised, and about as un-Russian in temperament as Kubelik, a 1959 Philharmonia Tchaikovsky Five has its moments. A splendid Dvorak Eighth (LPO) and an idiomatic, suavely handled Elgar In the South (BSO) impress more, however.

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In the postwar period, the Pole Witold Malcuzynski (1914-77) was responsible for introducing many people, myself included, to Chopin. An impeccable, impassioned Romantic pianist who studied with Paderewski, his Chopin (nostalgic, free, exquisitely chiselled) was in a class of its own – as the notes say: ‘a true union of aristocratic Polish creator and recreator’. Ates Orga