Over many decades the enduring impression internationally was that between Fryderyk Chopin and Karol Szymanowski there had been no significant composers in Poland. However, when this country was not a state, it brought forth other highly talented musicians who stood the test of European comparison with flying colors. Two of them were closely acquainted personally through a teacher-pupil relationship and warm ties of friendship: Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Zygmunt Stojowski, and for some years now the compositions of the two have enjoyed new esteem.
Paderewski’s Sonata op. 13 may rightly claim a place side by side with famous works by Edvard Grieg, Johannes Brahms, and César Franck. Paderewski immediately demonstrates his command of the latest developments in the European art of music. The beginning of the first movement combines a piano accompaniment of stormy animation with a violin theme of sweeping breadth that on the one hand could have been taken from a symphony by Bruckner and on the other hand could represent a minor variant of the concluding apotheosis in Grieg’s Piano Concerto. The violinist Władysław Górski offered Stojowski insights into his instrument’s capabilities when the composer was a young man, and Stojowski’s first violin sonata, a most highly effectively composed work, documents this expert tutelage.
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