Slippedisc comfort zone returns (1): Marching out the trolls

Slippedisc comfort zone returns (1): Marching out the trolls


norman lebrecht

April 14, 2021

We suspended the feautre, thinking the worst of Covid was over and people were getting out more. Apparently not, so we’ll keep going.

The Polish pianist Edwin Kowalik (1928-1997) was blind from age 7.

He won an honorary diploma at the 1955 Chopin competition in Warsaw and went on to make a modest international career, playing Chopin from a Braille score.

He’s a phenomenal artist.



  • E says:

    It is wonderful to see this feature back again, and it truly is a comfort, and an inspiration. Thank you!

  • Maria says:

    Exactly, Covid has far from gone.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Many thanks, Norman, for restoring and continuing this outstanding series.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Is marching out the trolls like bringing in the sheaves?

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Mr Lebrecht, covid or no covid, please keep the series, even if you have to rename it.

    The daily comfort zone has brought to my attention many wonderful recordings. I can only be thankful for that. And I am sure I am not alone.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    These are very nice performances, a bit rhythmically stiff but beautiful in the lyric sections. It would be interesting to know when these were recorded.
    Kowalik has a big entry (4 full pages with some photos) in the encyclopedic book on Polish pianists by Stanislaw Dybowski, “SLOWNIK – Pianistow Polskich”, issued in 2003 by Selene Records.
    Unfortunately for me, the book is in Polish, but from what I gather, Kowalik was also a composer and whose pianistic line goes from Busoni through Jozef Turczynski through Maria Wilkomirska (the violinist Wanda’s sister).

  • David K. Nelson says:

    Nice playing
    One can only admire the talent, musicianship and determination to carry on

    To change the subject only slightly, think of the skills of Alec Templeton, another blind pianist whose name you hardly hear any more. Here he improvises on random notes suggested by an audience, and the results go from Scriabin to Jerome Kern.

    Dave Nelson

    • Edgar Self says:

      Good memory, Daave Nelson. I remember Alec Templeton and his clever improvisations and classical pastiches but didn’t know he was Welsh. I had a 10-inch black-label 78 of his and somehow asociate him with Percy Grainger’s “Handel in the Strand”.