An unaccountable loss of Polish memory

An unaccountable loss of Polish memory

Album Of The Week

norman lebrecht

September 03, 2021

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

We don’t hear much of Ignacy Jan Paderewski these days, let alone his friend Zygmunt Stojowski. The first prime minister of independent Poland has been overshadowed politically by the nation’s turbulence, and musically by Szymanowski. Famed in his day as a virtuoso pianist, Paderewski enjoyed considerable reputation before 1914 as a popular symphonist in sub-Rachmaninov mode. His lifelong pal Stojowski was equally successful on both fronts. I can’t remember seeing either of them on a concert program in recent years…

Read on here.

And here.

En francais ici.

In The Critic.

In Czech here.


  • Von Carry-on says:

    Popular symphonist? Paderewski wrote only one Symphony – and it’s as bad as it is long. However, his opera Manru was popular at one time, produced by major opera houses all over the world. Today, his excellent Piano Concerto is occasionally performed, notably by Janina Fialkowska.

  • 88 says:

    I have always thought his piano concerto was beautiful. I was once waiting for a Shura Cherkassky recital to begin, and two elderly gentlemen in front of me were having a friendly argument about who they had enjoyed seeing/hearing more in live performance – Rachmaninoff or Padarewski. I was beyond jealous.

  • Nicholas says:

    The music of Paderewski, Stojowski, Moszkowski, and Scharwenka all deserve to be performed on stage.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    To describe someone’s music as enjoying “a considerable reputation … in sub-Rachmaninov mode” perhaps answers the question. How necessary is it to have many sub-Rachmaninov works in the repertoire when we have enough of the genuine article?

  • David K. Nelson says:

    My impression is that the Poles are well aware of Paderewski and his legacy and give it due honor. Perhaps the favorable things Paderewski had to say about Mussolini even as WWII was brewing has muted that legacy somewhat.

    Stojowski had nowhere near as successful a career as Paderewski, either as composer (Paderewski having that one lasting “hit” the Minuet) or as a pianist, renowned and respected as he was in his time. It takes a lot for a performer’s legacy to last and last beyond their life, particularly if they did not make all that many recordings, or if the recordings are not electrical.

    Ironically Stojowski’s name lives on in concert and recording program notes and record reviews, thanks to his student Oscar Levant, who recollected Stojowski’s bon mot that the Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2 “begins with Bach and ends with Offenbach.” That’s too good a line not to use if you write about the music.

  • esfir ross says:

    There 2 Paderewski festivals in USA where his music played. Today in Warsaw at piano amateur competition Paderewski piano piece required to play in first round. You can hear his music played by 30+ pianists.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Stephen Hough played Paderewski’s beautiful Nocturne in B-flat as his sole encore after a recital here of Chopin’s complete scherzos and ballades. He recorded it in his first Piano Album. Paderewski also recorded it.

    A case can be made for Moszkowski’s Concerto in E as the best four-movement piano concerto since the Brahms second, there b eing so few. It’s hugely enjoyable and little known, although Lawrence Rapchak has programed it with the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra in Choicago’s suburbs.