In the beginning of her career Ruth Slenczynska has been promoted as first child prodigy since times of Mozart. Her father Joseph Slenczynski who was virtuoso violinist gave her only recipe of the success he knew and „imposed a rigorous and disciplinary practice routine on her beginning at age three”. Forced to learn and practicing from being a child she made rapid progress. When she was four, she begun to study in Europe, taking lessons with Artur Schnabel, Egon Petri, Alfred Cortot, Joseph Hofmann, playing also for Serge Rachmaninoff, who’s music she recorded in sixties – first large project was 1963 CBS television recording of Rachmaninoff’s Preludes but she often played smaller compositions of last Russian romantic as encores and virtuoso pieces.
She debuted with solo performance in Berlin in the age of six and with full orchestra in Paris when she was only eleven. She instantly made great resonance in European musical world. Series of public performances and discipline practicing was too much stressing for young artist so in the age of fifteen she suspended her public concerts and withdraw from virtuoso career. In 1945 and 1952 she recorded for 78 r.p.m. discs and for radio archives. She resumed her career as performing pianist in 1954 and has been recognized as pianist of perfect technique and clear vision of musical beauty. Her work was associated with University of California and since 1964 with Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville where she was Artist-in-Residence. She published two books Forbidden Childhood (1957) and Music at Your Fingertips: Aspects of Pianoforte Technique (1961). The sample of her artistry are the records.
|Ruth Slenczynska – Chopin – Four Ballades (1960)|
In late fifties and early sixties she recorded primarily Frederic Chopin’s music. It was natural consequence of her studies. She was in orbit of Chopin’s music since very beginning of her musical career. One of her masters was Alfred Cortot who’s teacher was Emile Decombes, Chopin’s pupil. This gave almost natural transmission of musical ideas. And it is quite reasonable. In mid fifties she recorded for Decca-Belgium Chopin’s 4 Ballades. Then in 1957 Decca published two opuses of Chopin’s Etudes and four Impromptus – in January 12 Etudes op. 10 and first two Impromptus in October 12 Etudes op. 10 plus 3. and 4. Impromptus. Then in February 1958 Deutsche Grammophon released 4 Scherzos. In autumn 1958 Decca published two records showing pianist’s versatility – Encore! and A 25th Anniversary Program. Next year the same label published record with Chopin’s Waltzes.
Next Chopin’s album by Slenczynska was complete of Four Ballades released in October 1960. It was second recording of 4 Ballades by Chopin. Published in Gold Label Series with Ferenc Liszt’s Six Chants Polonais after songs by Chopin, this album didn’t ends the list of Slenczynska’s Chopin recordings. One year later Decca released 24 Preludes op. 28 and Polonaise A-flat Major op. 53. In forthcoming years artist recorded many new renditions of these works and gave series of lectures focused on Chopin’s music and teachings piano virtuoso.