The Polish composer Roman Statkowski (1859-1925) studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Anton Rubinstein and Nicolay Rimsky-Korsakov, and in 1890 he began his teaching career in Kiev. He then spent about a decade managing various piano stores, and spent the rest of his career teaching composition at the Warsaw Conservatory.
Statkowski wrote two operas, six string quartets, music for violin and piano, some songs, and a great many short pieces for piano, but his name and much of his music remained virtually unknown for the better part of a century.
The music on this CD would be right at home in the metropolitan European salons of the second half of the 19th century. It is music of extreme sensitivity that is written beautifully for the piano. The Preludes and Mazurkas are direct descendants of the works of Chopin, though they often go to harmonic places that sound more like Rachmaninoff, and the salon pieces are whimsical, light, and evocative.
Statkowski is by no means an innovator, but he does have a unique and personal voice as a composer. I am very happy that the Polish Pianist Barbara Karaskiewicz, who plays this music exquisitely, has recorded his excellent piano music. I look forward to hearing more music by this nearly-forgotten composer.
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