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Juliusz Zarebski – Piano Works (2006)

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Juliusz Zarębski – Piano Works (2006)

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Juliusz Zarebski: Grande Polonaise in F sharp major, Op. 6
1. Grande Polonaise in F sharp major, Op. 6

Juliusz Zarebski: Les roses et les epines, Op. 13
2. I. Andante con moto
3. II. Presto con fuoco
4. III. Andante con moto
5. IV. Allegro molto (quasi Presto)
6. V. Allegro moderato

Juliusz Zarebski: Berceuse, Op. 22
7. Berceuse, Op. 22

Juliusz Zarebski: Tarantelle, Op. 25
8. Tarantelle, Op. 25

Juliusz Zarebski: Etrennes, Op. 27 (excerpts)
9. No. 2. Valse
10. No. 5. Melodia
11. No. 6. Valse in A major

Juliusz Zarebski: Mazurka
12. Mazurka

Marian Mika - Piano

 

The CPO label continues its campaign to resurrect forgotten music of the nineteenth century with this disc, and it's come up with at least one winner. Juliusz Zarebski (1854-1885) was a student of Liszt and the recipient of uncharacteristically generous praise from the rather self-centered master. This seems odd at first, for Zarebski's music, though it contains its share of technical difficulties, sounds very little like Liszt, or like Chopin, or the music of other Eastern European virtuosi. The centerpiece here is the five-movement Les roses et les épines (The Roses and the Thorns), and the Liszt connection comes clear when you think about the chronology: Zarebski was working with the aging Liszt, the Liszt who experimented in the fringe areas of tonality and affected (or, who knows, maybe even accepted) a monastic lifestyle. The five movements of Les roses et les épines have free forms and a tendency toward wandering melodies that thicken at times into a quite unexpected exultation. They are quite unusual, and the booklet's claim that they anticipated the coming of Impressionism can't be discounted. (It would be interesting to know how widely diffused Zarebski's music was; he moved on to Belgium from Paris before his untimely death from tuberculosis.) The rest of the music isn't quite so successful; the early Grand Polonaise in F sharp major, Op. 6, suffers from comparison with Chopin's polonaises, and the short pieces of Op. 27, written for student pianists, seem odd choices for a disc intended to introduce a forgotten composer to the world. The booklet is sparse, not giving dates for any works, and not mentioning the mazurka that concludes the disc at all. It might have been nice to know the significance of the title of Les roses et les épines, whose individual movement titles consist simply of Italian tempo indications. Still, Zarebski would seem to be a composer worth getting to know, and Polish pianist Marian Mika's laid-back, dreamy performances are perfectly in tune with the music. ---James Manheim, Rovi

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