Hyperion Records

Deux Orientales, Op 10

'Stojowski: Piano Music' (CDA67437)
Stojowski: Piano Music
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67437 
No 1: Romance: Sostenuto e con molto espressione
No 2: Caprice: Allegro assai

Deux Orientales, Op 10
The Deux Orientales, Op 10 – two musical impressions of the Orient by a twenty-four-year-old Polish composer living in Paris in the late nineteenth century – totally differ from each other in mood and character. The cantabile style and colouristic effects of Oriental-sounding scales make the Romance (Sostenuto e con molto espressione) quite striking. Ending the cadenza of the first section, Stojowski creates an interesting colouristic effect with the ascending Oriental-sounding passage held by the sostenuto pedal. Without re-striking the strings, the performer is instructed to hold down seven keys forming a G minor chord, quickly clear the pedal and then release the keys one at a time. A brief contrasting, impassioned middle section is followed by a closing passage similar in style to the opening. The composer makes use of mixed metres, alternating between duple and triple time in the key of F major.

If the first Orientale creates an impression of being somewhere in the Middle East, the second work, Caprice oriental (Allegro assai), brings the listener much closer to Constantinople. Stojowski’s ‘Turkish’ opus is a wild and exciting bacchanal, full of power and virtuosic bravura. A rhythmic ostinato leads the piece to its frenzied climax and dominates it from beginning to end.

Rafael Kammerer wrote that the work ‘… is quite remarkable and wonderfully idiomatic. It is a worthy substitute for, and welcome relief from, Balakirev’s Islamey’. This original and breathless pianistic tour de force was written for the composer’s compatriot and life-long friend, the pianist Josef Hofmann, who kept the work in his repertoire for over forty years, and added two arpeggiated A minor chords as an introduction when he performed it. (The score for this version of Caprice oriental, prepared by Fredric Dannen, is available from the University of Southern California Polish Music Center’s Website. This is the first of several planned editions of Stojowski’s music to be made available online.)

The Deux Orientales were published in 1894 by E Hatzfeld in Leipzig and London. The first is dedicated to Paul Bergon and the second to Josef Hofmann.

from notes by Joseph A Herter © 2004

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