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Dryly recorded and sounding harsh in the fortissimos, this release gets off to a dispiriting start with the Canon in C, mostly anonymous save for an outburst that suggests Liszt. Then the Mantra doodles its way along to little purpose. The first movement of the ‘August’ Sonata is volatile (reflecting the month of struggles in 1981 at the Gdansk shipyards), but the material is undistinguished and what follows is mundane and empty. The Paganini Variations – yes, on that tune! – are more inventive, for at least Bielicki has a good theme as his basis. Here, he demonstrates also that he is a virtuoso pianist; he plays a Bösendorfer Phoenix Imperial 290. With Sonata No 3, a paucity of personality is again evident; but the Jazz Preludes are enjoyably skittish and warmly laid back.

COLIN ANDERSON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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