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Deux Polonaises, S223


The two Polonaises recall Chopin, but only for the titles; the epic spread of the first one, in particular, has no equivalent in the Polish composer’s canon, and there is a ceremonial feeling to the second which brings other non-Polish Polonaises to mind, such as those of Beethoven, Schubert or Tchaikovsky. The C minor piece, entitled ‘mélancolique’ by Liszt, though most editions omit to mention it, has remained rather sadly neglected, but it is an excellent work of its kind, seeming to bear the woes of the whole world on its shoulders. Even the contrasting major-key tune fails to alleviate the gloom, which is confirmed by a very strange meditative cadenza in which the pulse changes to 4/4 and the dance-style of the Polonaise becomes a distant memory. The Second Polonaise used to be something of a warhorse: Busoni played it (and saddled it with much too long a cadenza, however interesting!), and Rachmaninov and Grainger both recorded it. A little less hackneyed nowadays, it remains a good foil for its companion, and its ingredients of two splendid themes and some really musical pyrotechnical variations make it a compelling concert-piece.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1988


Liszt: Sonata, Ballades & Polonaises
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 2 – Ballades, Legends & Polonaises
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
CDS44501/9899CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Arthur de Greef – Solo and concerto recordings
APR7401Download only
Moura Lympany – The HMV Recordings, 1947-1952
APR6011for the price of 1 — Download only
Percy Grainger – The complete 78-rpm solo recordings
APR7501Download only
The Stephen Hough Piano Collection
This album is not yet available for downloadHOUGH1Super-budget price sampler


No 1: Polonaise mélancolique in C minor
Track 1 on CDA67085 [12'11]
Track 8 on CDA66301 [11'11]
Track 8 on CDS44501/98 CD12 [11'11] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 2: Polonaise in E major
Track 2 on CDA67085 [8'55]
Track 11 on HOUGH1 [8'55] Super-budget price sampler
Track 9 on CDA66301 [8'23]
Track 9 on CDS44501/98 CD12 [8'23] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Track 18 on APR7501 CD1 [8'40] Download only
Track 20 on APR6011 CD1 [8'16] for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 10 on APR7401 CD2 [8'51] Download only

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