Karol Szreter

Piano Masters: Karol Szreter

(CD - Pearl #0146)

Review by

Pearl has undertaken in its "Piano Masters" series to expose the music of some lesser-known artists deserving of better attention. Karol Szreter is a name barely known even to hardcore pianophiles despite his considerable body of recorded work. Most of this was in the pop vernacular, though none of that is found here. Producer Roger Beardsley has chosen to primarily focus on recordings of serious classical works that Szreter made in his brief but productive career. The depth of the repertoire Szreter undertook in the encore-centered industry of the 1920s is in itself impressive. Here we find no less than three Beethoven sonatas; a complete Schumann Carnaval, Op. 9; and the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4. While Szreter proves himself more than capable in the concerto, his perfomances is brought down to earth by the constricted recording and ragtag ensemble. Szreter, for all his ambitiousness in recording long works, is really heard to his best advantage in the shorter pieces on the second disc of this set. The Boîte à musique of Emil von Sauer is a real delight, as are Szreter's own transcriptions of three Strauss waltzes. Though note writer Jonathan Dobson condemns Szreter's discs of pop music as "a disservice to his memory" and "crass and tasteless," the success of the shorter works here cannot help but whet one's appetite for this pianist in lighter fare. No example brings this out better than the concluding work on the second disc, Liszt's "Tarantelle" from the second Années, played in a setting for piano and orchestra that is obviously an arrangement crafted to suit popular tastes. It is crisp, it is lightweight, and it fairly leaps out of the speakers, leaving little doubt as to why Szreter's discs of pop piano music found an enthusiastic reception in that long-ago era.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
Carnaval for piano, Op. 9
1
01:52
2
00:48
3
00:33
4
00:49
5
01:35
6
00:50
7
00:51
8
9
00:34
10
00:43
11
00:56
12
01:14
13
14
01:17
15
00:48
16
17
01:05
18
01:18
19
02:15
20
21
03:19
22
08:28
23
03:59
24
05:44
25
07:17
26
03:37
27
03:31
28
02:18
29
02:43
Peer Gynt, incidental music, Op. 23
30
03:03
31
02:47
32
02:45
33
05:22
blue highlight denotes track pick