Author Topic: Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941)  (Read 3209 times)

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Offline Maciek

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Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941)
« on: June 21, 2007, 02:51:22 PM »
It may seem at first glance that Paderewski was first and foremost a pianist and politician but I believe his output as a composer, albeit small, deserves wider recognition. His Piano Concerto and Polish Fantasy are both excellent. He wrote a very good Piano Sonata and Violin Sonata. I've yet to hear his opera in its entirety but the excerpts I have heard were entertaining and interesting enough. Some of his solo piano works I find a bit unimaginative but many of them are beautiful enough to redeem those few. His Symphony is admittedly far too long but it does have its moments. I know only a small selection of his songs but here again I am easily won over by the charm of those few I know. So there - all in all I find this composer very worthwhile. Definitely recommended to anyone who likes late romantics but sometimes wouldn't mind a break from those over-dense textures...

Anyone with me?

Maciek

lukeottevanger

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Re: Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941)
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2007, 04:13:17 AM »
It may seem at first glance that Paderewski was first and foremost a pianist and politician but I believe his output as a composer, albeit small, deserves wider recognition. His Piano Concerto and Polish Fantasy are both excellent. He wrote a very good Piano Sonata and Violin Sonata. I've yet to hear his opera in its entirety but the excerpts I have heard were entertaining and interesting enough. Some of his solo piano works I find a bit unimaginative but many of them are beautiful enough to redeem those few. His Symphony is admittedly far too long but it does have its moments. I know only a small selection of his songs but here again I am easily won over by the charm of those few I know. So there - all in all I find this composer very worthwhile. Definitely recommended to anyone who likes late romantics but sometimes wouldn't mind a break from those over-dense textures...

Anyone with me?

Maciek

Me

Permit one who knows only a few pieces to comment - the PC is a very fine work in its own way, with all aspects - style, difficulty, 'ambition' etc. held in a carefully judged balance. Otherwise I only know piano pieces. IMSLP has quite a selection of them which I've downloaded in the last few months, but for me nothing will ever approach the Chants du Voyageur (op 3 IIRC - edit: op 8, actually) which I discovered in a tatty old copy when I was about 10, and played obsessively for a while. It's hard for me to separate their true qualities from those which they gained by association - like the first four bars of Beethoven op 2/3, a piece I also played over-much at that age, they have taken on a disproportionate significance in my mind, and however hard I try I find it impossible to put words the Pavlovian effect they have on me! They conjure up place and time, but also give an indescribable warmth. Ah well....

Trying to be objective, I realise these pieces sometimes have the same flaws that one finds in the comparable miniatures of someone like Edward MacDowell - a tendency, for instance, to disproportionate use of extremes of range and dynamics (that, noticeably, one doesn't find in the PC, as I said before). This is never an issue in Grieg, who whether unconsciously or not is I think the inevitable role model for composers working in this genre, but who is less prone to the uncontrolled or self-indulgent romantic gesture.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2007, 04:32:30 AM by lukeottevanger »

Offline Maciek

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Re: Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941)
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2007, 03:25:50 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts, Luke. A pleasure to read, as always. 8)

And thanks for mentioning the music on IMSLP - I hadn't thought of searching there and now I finally can get some of the pieces I didn't have! :D

I must admit I'm a bit of a freak as far as his PC is concerned - I think I have at least 5 recordings (well, that's how many come to my mind right off) which I'd say is quite a lot for a relatively obscure piece... I find there's something very alluring in the simplicity (shall I call it "modesty"?) of the piece. It is in no way the sort of concerto you'd expect from a virtuso pianist. A lot of excitement but definitely no inane empty fireworks.

The Polish Fantasy is a bit more of a show-off piece but still far from the likes of the stuff written by many other virtuoso pianists. And I love the piece dearly for the wonderful extatic climax it reaches in section F (now that I have the score... ;D it's a bit late for that now but I'm definitely going to listen along with it tomorrow and maybe play through a few of the places I especially like...)!

As for the solo piano pieces, the ones I sincerely dislike are all of his Krakowiaks (Cracoviennes??) - at least the ones I have the sheet music of (or have heard). I just don't find anything at all in them. They're completely devoid of melody and the rhythm is mechanical and sounds very "fake". I have a similar problem with the Tatra Album (well, compare that to Szymanowski!), though I do like some places in it (the slower parts are beautiful and dreamy and surprisingly modern for such an old fashioned composer!).

His Mazurkas (again: the ones I know) OTOH I find quite excellent (of course, this isn't Chopin's league ;D).

Of the other pieces, I love the Melodie (no. 3) from Chants du voyageur (the only piece from that tome that I know), the Chant d'amour (no. 2) from Album de Mai (ditto) and the entire set of Miscellanea (op. 16). Well, maybe excepting the Variations (no. 3) which I can't really judge as they are too difficult for me to play (and I have no recording).

His Piano Sonata is in many respects original and I've heard it highly praised but somehow I find it uninspired. The Fugue from op. 23 is quite splendid though (but some of the variations are sort of... "automatic" :()!

The Six Mickiewicz Songs op. 18 are particularly close to my heart because we sang some of them in our school choir... ;D I find Piosnka dudarza especially beautiful, though obviously Moja pieszczotka is of special interest because Chopin had written a song to the same text. Also, one has to appreciate the fact tha Paderewski set to music some of Mickiewicz's late, most "avantgarde" verse (Polały się łzy..., Nad wodą wielką i czystą...).

Oh, and if someone missed it - I'd like to point you to the Violin Sonata download!

Sorry if this post came out a bit chaotic... :-\

Maciek

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941)
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2012, 05:36:37 AM »
So lazy! Why didn't he write more music for his instrument? :( I'm listening properly to the piano works for the first time and they are very inventive, the virtuoso element is always subservient to the musical and lyrical qualities. My favourite so far is the Tatra Album - I love the way that in mazurka (or is it polonaise - I forget) style, the first movement has many repetitions of the theme, but each time shaded differently.
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SymphonicAddict

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Re: Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941)
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2019, 12:33:29 PM »


I'm revisiting to this mammoth of a symphony, an extravaganza would say some. The work includes three sarrusophones, a tambour de Basque, a thunder sheet and an organ (taken from Wikipedia). It may not be a piece for the taste of everyone, but it has several imposive and eloquent moments in its 74 minutes of duration, although it meanders a bit too.