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Paderewski: Symphony In B Minor (Polonia) [CD]

Jerzy Maksymiuk Audio CD

Price: £6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Paderewski: Symphony In B Minor (Polonia) + Paderewski: Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 17; Polish Fantasia on original themes Op. 19
Price For Both: £14.79

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Review

Utterly original and well worth investigation (The Sunday Times) The work can be confidently recommended to all those who are drawn to the more extravagant byways of the late-Romantic orchestral repertoire --Classic CD

A performance of eloquence and dashing commitment. The recording is resplendent --Gramophone

A stupendous undertaking by all concerned, a committed and fervent account with truly prodigious playing by the Scots and sound that simply beggars description --American Record Guide

Product Description

BBC Scottish Chamber Orchestra - Jerzy Maksymiuk, direction

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compendium of early 20th century music 29 May 2001
By Evan Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Here's a disc that will delight you if you're a musical detective. Paderewski's only symphony is a compendium of early 20th century romantic styles as well as a harbinger of several later composers including Shostakovich. The Amazon reviewer is right that you'll hear echoes of Sibelius, Elgar, Rimsky Korsakoff and a number of other composers in this gargantuan symphony which never offends the ear with excessive dissonance.
Where I think he goes off base is comparing it to Bruckner in construction. Bruckner built cathedrals of sound that rose to higher and higher spiritual levels. Paderewski seems more interested in mood painting. There are many lovely episodes amid the 74+ minutes of this piece. However, it does wander around a bit...and in fact, it takes a while to actually get going. A more accurate comparison for this piece might be Gliere's "Ilya Murometz" symphony, although this has a lot more musical content than that glossy showpiece.
Regardless, it's an entertaining and fascinating symphony to listen to and would serve as a pleasant break from the deluge of Mahler that plagues our concert halls. Paderewski isn't into the hair pulling of Mahler. Instead, he seems to want to give us a glorious travel log of Poland.
This performance is the first complete recording of the score that hasn't come from a Polish source. It is colorfully played and spaciously recorded, although I sense a bit of distance from the orchestra. Perhaps it could use a little more Slavic passion. Still, it's hard not to wallow in the glorious sounds one hears and perk up with delight as the ear hears yet another echo of a 20th century master. It's certainly an enjoyable way to spend an evening.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More of a vast tone poem than symphony 22 Dec 2004
By Alan Beggerow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is a somewhat sprawling work that to my ears is more of a symphonic poem than a symphony in the traditional sense. It is a contrast in styles, and as the previous reviewer noted does contain elements of many different composer's styles.

Paderewski knew the orchestra very well. While the thematic material used is not particulary melodic, the composer handles the orchestration and development of these themes adequately.

This is not a heaven storming symphony as Mahler, or one that has a great sense of musical architecture as Beethoven. But taken within the confines of its own tonal and loosely formed whole, it is a very enjoyable work. It definitely has some grand moments. Not a work that I will listen to very often, but a very good piece for an occasional hearing. It is tone painting, pure and simple. And quite interesting tone painting it is.

Recommended as a diversion from more 'mainstream' classical music. These kinds of works should have a solid place in a serious music lover's collection. They can be enjoyed on their own merit, and they help our ears to 'stretch' a bit.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paderewski's Ardent Plea for Polish Independence, Now a Valuable Re-release at Mid-Price 23 Jan 2010
By Dace Gisclard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Although HYPERION released this recording in 1998, I passed it by, because I had a perfectly lovely performance on LP, with the Pomeranian Philharmonic of Bydgoszcz conducted by Bohdan Wodiczko (MUZA SXL 0968). However, this re-release on the mid-priced HELIOS series induced me to purchase, and I'm VERY glad I did. For starters, I discovered that the LP had extensive cuts, omitting over 20 MINUTES. HYPERION/HELIOS presents the work absolutely complete--over 74 minutes!

So much for dry statistics--what about the music and the performance? Paderewski, the impassioned Polish patriot, composed the symphony in direct response to the 40th anniversary of the 1863-64 uprising. Most of it is not overtly programmatic, but the finale is a struggle between disguised references to the Polish national anthem and "the forces of evil." The symphony became sort of a musical incendiary bomb, of great significance and encouragement to Polish listeners when Poland was partitioned between Austria, Prussia and Russia, and Polish culture was brutally suppressed. At the time, every performance of the "Polonia" Symphony turned into a more or less camouflaged patriotic manifestation.

With the Symphony, Paderewski demonstrates that when he wanted to, he could write music of vastly greater emotional depth and range than his 'Menuet in G' or the lovely if rather facile Piano Concerto. (Similar in this regard are the 'Sonata' and 'Variations and Fugue' for piano--also warmly recommended to seekers of neglected but worthy works. Paderewski: Piano Sonata Op. 21; Variations & Fugues Opp. 11 & 13) True, the Symphony comes off sounding more like a collection of three huge and episodic symphonic poems, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Paderewski's voice is not totally original, but he absorbs and personalizes many of the late romantic stylistic tendencies of his era. Perhaps the musical chain of events is not absolutely riveting at every moment, but lovers of Glazunov, Gliere, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Liszt and (even early Sibelius!) will discover much here that is to their taste.

The extravagant scoring of the symphony matches the sprawl of its time-scale. Organ is included, as well as such rare instruments as three sarusaphones, and Paderewski's own newly-invented percussion instrument, the "tonitruone"--a suspended piece of tin which produces sinister and mysterious sounds. Hyperion's sound is rich yet transparent, doing full justice to the sumptuous orchestration.

So intense is the present performance, one might think the orchestra, not just the conductor, was Polish! I can't imagine we shall get a better one any time soon. The triumphant ending carries absolute conviction. If one is a lover of epic late romantic symphonies that alternate romantic brooding with swaggering heroics, HELIOS' reduced price ought to entice one to give this unfamiliar work a try.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Slavic Treasure 28 Sep 2012
By AndrewCF - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
It bothers me that an intelligent reviewer, Colin Clark (Musicweb International), perceives an influence of R. Strauss and perhaps Elgar in Paderewski's Symphony. Really? There isn't a note similar to Strauss in this work, not a trace of Germanic influence. This work is as purely Slavic as one might expect from a Polish composer; the notes by Adrian Thomas correctly identify the influence as Tchaikovskian (via Liszt), and mention Sibelius, but as we all know, Sibelius was himself not immune to Tchaikovsky in his early symphonies. All the signatures of Tchaikovsky (especially from the Manfred Symphony) can be discerned: the raspy basses and bassoons, the crash of the cymbals over frenetic strings. Some might feel the similarities border on plagiarism, but Paderewski was as deeply affected by the Russian master as his countryman Karlowicz, and this work reflects that love.

Indeed, if you have no tolerance for the multiple climaxes of Tchaikovsky, the heart-on-sleeve emotionality, the frosty-followed-by-fiery episodes, then this work is not for you. By 1903, when this symphony was started, the musical world had already begun to change by composers such as Reger, Richard Strauss, and Debussy. It would not be inappropriate to call this symphony anachronistic.

What is surprising is the rich orchestration by one of the legendary piano masters, a man who rose to become the first Prime Minister of the new Poland. While this work does not tell a story, one might infer that the symphony voices Poland's previous wars and conflicts. The Andante is especially poignant.

Jerzy Maksymiuk does a fine job shaping the orchestral mass; unfortunately, his labors are caught by the mike in intrusive grunts, but this is not a serious problem. The orchestra and recording are quite impressive
4.0 out of 5 stars Lumbering Giant 30 Dec 2011
By K. M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The composer was one of the greatest virtuosi of the past century and wrote some wonderful music for the piano. Parts of this this symphony are quite wonderful, but one feels the symphony could have benefitted from a little, or a lot, of editing. In addition to the many inspiring moments there are a good many "just competant" moments that could have been left out. That said, is it worth the curiosity value? A resounding yes!
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