Zelénszki • Zarebski

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COMPOSERS: Zelénszki; Zarebski
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Zelénszki • Zarebski
WORKS: Zelénszki: Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 61; Zarebski: Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 34
PERFORMER: Jonathan Plowright (piano); Szymanowski Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: CDA67905

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Regarded by those who know it as the towering work of 19th-century Polish chamber music, Juliusz Zare˛bski’s Piano Quintet in G minor has suffered undeserved neglect outside Poland for far too long. That may be about to change, thanks not least to Martha Argerich’s recent championing of the piece, as witnessed by her recordings on CD (from Lugano) and DVD (Warsaw). Now Jonathan Plowright has teamed up with the Szymanowski Quartet to give us another outstanding account, capturing the score’s emotional intensity. Zare˛bski (1854-85) wrote it in the year of his premature death, dedicating it to his teacher Liszt, and the virtuosity that implies is caught here in a performance of passionate warmth. The Scherzo, which opens with galloping rhythms, is the most distinctively Polish of the movements.

Making this recording doubly valuable is the even rarer Piano Quartet in C minor by Wadysaw Zele´nski (1837-1921), a more reserved, conservatory-based composer. Gentler and yearningly introspective, it is nevertheless full of soaring melodies, and folk-inflected scales and rhythms reinforce a certain Slavic tone. Again, the performance is impeccable. With the inclusion of Adrian Thomas’s expert sleeve notes, this represents another invaluable Hyperion release. 

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John Alison