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Wladyslaw Żeleński (1837-1921) composed his Piano Concerto in 1903. It is arrestingly heroic, lushly poetic and very likeable; Chopin meets Rachmaninov. It requires the pianist to do technical cartwheels, which Jonathan Plowright achieves admirably, romancing as required. It’s a dashing and expressive work, with an ingenious set of variations as the second movement and a foot-tapping finale. The much shorter (17 minutes) concerto by Aleksander Zarzycki (1834-1895) is from 1860. The first movement is lyrically suggestive; the second robustly dramatic. Neither work is a masterpiece but both are well worth getting to know. Zarzycki’s Grande Polonaise is exactly as you would expect, a swinging and proud creation contrasted with gentler intimacies. The performances, recording and presentation are all superb. If you have a musical sweet tooth, then do not hesitate to acquire.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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