Movement 1: Andante
Movement 2: Allegro non troppo
By opening with what would usually be a central slow movement, the concerto begins, as if in mid-sentence, with Zarzycki in lyrical mode. This is a more intense lyricism than found in the Grande Polonaise, with rhetorical elements in which the soloist and orchestra are equal partners. The second movement, in sonata-form, could hardly present a greater contrast. Its jaunty nature is partly down to its roots in the krakowiak, the dance form originating from around the city of Kraków that syncopates the first beat of its 2/4 metre. After the finale’s opening flourishes, its first theme (presented twice by the piano and a third time, extended, by the orchestra) is elusive, at least on the surface. Its stop-start character—emphasizing tonic and dominant chords—seems unlikely material. It immediately develops in the brillant manner familiar from Chopin, Hummel and Mendelssohn. This mood continues as the key switches to D major and the soloist explores a new vein of keyboard virtuosity. The second main subject, disarming in its directness, is introduced by the piano. The music soon reverts to the earlier jauntiness, developing into a galop as Zarzycki plays with both themes prior to the full recapitulation and a headlong coda.
from notes by Adrian Thomas © 2013