Ignace Jan Paderewski

Ignace Jan Paderewski: The 1911 / 1930 Original 78s

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If you don't already have these recordings of the great Polish pianist and statesman Ignace Jan Paderewski, by all means get them on this Urania set. Programmed in approximately reverse chronological order from the harrowing days of December 1930 back to the halcyon days of July 1911, these recordings trace Paderewski's long-term engagement with Schumann, Schubert, Liszt, Debussy, and above all Chopin, plus his short-term flirtations with Couperin, Brahms, Schelling, and Stojowski, along with a couple of salon pieces he composed himself. Of course, if you don't already know any of Paderewski's recordings, you might at first be taken aback by his reckless virtuosity, uninhibited expressivity, mercurial intensity, and free and easy way with tempos. But so overwhelmingly convincing is Paderewski's conviction that it's impossible to remain unaffected by his performances. Detailed examination of all 59 performances is beyond the scope of this review, so listen just to Paderewski's October 1930 recording of Schelling's transcription of Wagner's Prelude to Tristan und Isolde and if its lyrical phrasing, sweeping tempos, and unbridled passion don't work for you, perhaps you ought to pass. But if it does, by all means, take the plunge. Urania's masterings are gray and grainy at best and nearly unlistenable at worst, but don't let that stop you.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Préludes (12) for piano, Book I, L. 117
1
2:37
2
3:22
3
2:24
4
2:38
5
7:27
6
3:28
7
2:02
Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), opera, WWV 63
8
6:00
9
2:26
10
2:39
11
2:10
12
3:50
13
7:07
14
6:53
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor ("Moonlight"), Op. 27/2
15
4:55
16
4:55
17
4:08
18
4:00
19
4:23

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:04
2
2:36
3
4:58
Images (3), for piano, Set I, L. 110
4
4:17
5
4:06
6
2:28
7
3:40
8
5:39
9
3:46
10
3:53
11
2:35
12
3:29
13
4:29
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35, CT. 202
14
4:30
15
8:17
16
1:15
17
2:08
18
3:31
19
3:58
20
1:53
21
2:44

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:58
2
3:52
3
4:52
4
3:24
5
4:20
6
4:57
Work(s)
7
3:01
8
5:07
9
1:34
10
3:41
11
3:13
12
2:54
13
4:38
14
3:52
15
3:39
16
3:40
17
4:42
18
8:45
19
3:38
blue highlight denotes track pick