Hyperion Records

Quatre Morceaux pour piano, Op 26
composer

Recordings
'Paderewski – His earliest recordings' (APR6006)
Paderewski – His earliest recordings
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99 APR6006  for the price of 1 — Download only  
'Stojowski: Piano Music' (CDA67437)
Stojowski: Piano Music
Details
No 3: Chant d'amour
Track 5 on CDA67437 [4'15]
Track 4 on APR6006 CD1 [3'57] for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 16 on APR6006 CD2 [4'08] for the price of 1 — Download only
No 4: Thème cracovien varié

Quatre Morceaux pour piano, Op 26
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Stojowski’s Chant d’amour, the third miniature from the Quatre Morceaux pour piano, Op 26, was the composer’s claim to fame during his lifetime. He had been in America for less than two years when his teacher and mentor Ignacy Paderewski included Chant d’amour on his 1907–8 concert tour of the United States. Thanks to Paderewski, who performed it more than fifty times across the country, Stojowski became well known throughout American musical circles. Prior to a recording of the piece which Paderewski made in 1926 for Victor Records there had been several piano-roll recordings, including ones by Rudolph Ganz, Carl Friedberg, and the composer himself on Ampico. The work’s popularity continued into the 1950s when the flamboyant pianist and entertainer Liberace recorded a souped-up version with the George Liberace Orchestra on the Columbia LP ‘Moonlight Sonata’. This, until now, was the work’s last commercial release.

In a July 1928 article in The Musical Mirror, the British composer Alec Rowley described Chant d’amour as ‘… a gem of the first water. A ravishing melody, with harmonies that thrill …’. The 1907–8 Paderewski concert tour programme contained the following analytical notes by H E Krehbiel:

The piece is in the key of G flat, and is marked by a formal feature of an original nature. The principal melody dies away in a cadenza in D flat which leads to a middle part of a duet-like character, which, after working itself up to an impassioned climax, gives way to a return of the first theme by means of the same cadenza, this time in G flat. (Paderewski Archives 258, Archiwum Akt Nowych, Warsaw)

Chant d’amour was first published in 1903 by C F Peters, Leipzig, and dedicated to Julia Appleton Fuller. Because of mistakes in several editions, the G Schirmer edition of 1908, with the composer’s own fingering, is the most reliable.

The Thème cracovien varié is based on the delightful melody of the Polish folksong Bartoszu, Bartoszu, written in a Polish krakowiak dance form.

The text of this song is both patriotic and religious in nature. The title is the Polish vocative case of the surname ‘Bartos’, referring to Wojciech Bartos, a hero of the Battle of Raclawice. This victory for the Poles, led by Tadeusz Kosciuszko, was fought against their Russian oppressors in April 1794. Thus, the folksong is sometimes referred to as the Kosciuszko Krakowiak. The words can be translated to mean:

Bartos, Bartos, do not give up hope.
God will bless us and save the Fatherland.
There, on the hill, look to God.
His love is greater than the power of the enemy.

The piece, which begins and ends in the key of G major, is a set of nine variations on this theme. There is a gradual increase of tempo in the first five variations: Allegretto moderato; Con grazia, un pochettino più animato; Più mosso; Leggiero e veloce; and Molto vivace. The fifth variation is also marked by a change to compound duple metre and staccato articulation. A sudden change of tempo, metre, key and mood takes place in the sixth variation as the composer modulates to the key of G minor, switches to compound triple metre, gives the tempo marking as Andante con moto and replaces the staccato articulation with the markings sempre legato and ben cantato. Another sudden change of tempo takes place in variation 7 (Con moto). Here the composer returns to duple metre and uses the opening figure of the theme in canonic imitation, briefly modulating to B minor before ending in G minor. In variation 8 (Allegretto capriccioso, ma non vivace), Stojowski returns to the original key of G major, changes to triple metre and switches the dance form to a mazurka. Variation 9 (Allegro vivo) is the longest and most developed of the set and forms an effective coda for the work. The opening motif is masterfully braided into a semiquaver configuration heard throughout. Here the harmonies are more complex than those used in previous variations, and the melodic progression is strongly chromatic.

A radio recording of the composer performing this work, dated 15 October 1944, can be found on the LP Desmar 115 released by International Piano Archives in 1976. Thème cracovien varié was first published in 1903 by C F Peters, Leipzig, and is dedicated to Marie Panthès-Kutner.

from notes by Joseph A Herter © 2004

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