Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Adam Harasiewicz plays Fryderyk Chopin


   Monitoring musical activity in first postwar decades one can get the impression it has more spirit than before or in later decades. There were many new ideas and interesting personalities. Almost every kind of musical activity had its findings. One of revelations in European piano music was Adam Harasiewicz. He started learn piano relatively late, as 10 years old. When he was 15 he won Young Talent Contest in Rzeszów, one year later he took part in qualifications to International Chopin Competition and 2 years later he started to study in Zbigniew Drzewiecki class. In 1955, still as a student of Cracow Music Academy, Adam Harasiewicz won 1st prize in 5th International Fryderyk Chopin Competition. He was 23 and great solo career was already opened.
   Chopin Competition, extremely challenging for young artists, this time was probably most difficult monographic contest in the world. From the other hand, it was festive event covered with live radio transmissions, press and public attention as rare phonographic editions. Wining this festival was tantamount to start great international career. As triumphant of in 1955, Adam Harasiewicz had opened almost all possibilities in musical world. Two years later he was awarded for his artistic achievements with Harriet Cohen Foundation Medal. In 1960 he played two Chopin’s concertos with Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra under Stanisław Skrowaczewski as inauguration of 150 anniversary of composer’s birth in United Nations Organization in New York. The same year he received gold medal of Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s Foundation in New York.

Adam Harasiewicz — Fryderyk Chopin's Piano Conerto No. 1 (1958) 

   Developing his international virtuoso career Adam Harasiewicz specialized in Chopin’s music. He was extensively touring with concertos and recitals. As Chopin’s Competition winner he wrote recording contract with Philips and in late fifties he started to record consecutive albums with Chopin’s compositions. Whole collection was completed in early seventies and published as 14 LP cassette with complete set of Chopin’s works. Earlier material was published as various recitals under Philips and Fontana labels, like Grosser Chopin Abend mit Adam Harasiewicz. He recorded in October 1958 in Vienna both Chopin’s concertos with accompaniment of Wiener Symphoniker conducted by Heinrich Hollreiser. From this recordings Philips released album Galaconcert with Piano Concerto No. 1 E Minor Op. 11 and solo works: Polonaise A-flat Major Op. 53, Valse E-flat Major Op. 18 “Grande valse brillante” and Ballade F Major Op. 38. This is the more interesting, it is one of his early recordings.
   The album is perfectly done as a program, as a recording and as an edition. After over a half of the century we can easily trace pianist’s interpretative ideas. Adam Harasiewicz is great partner to the orchestra when he shows his ability to differentiate phrases by color of the sound in whole Concerto. His interpretation of Allegro maestoso is powerful of decided sound and color capacity. In Larghetto he is aerial and singing, and orchestra is following him with stylish receptivity. Last movement is triumph of piano active narration, sparkling with nuances and brilliant ideas. This Rondo is great even if orchestra in few moments sounds too much undecided and weak. Adding mini solo recital producer was trying to create a kind of addendum. Although no supplement to Chopin’s Concerto E Minor is needed, these three pieces were carefully chosen to show Adam Harasiewicz’s art in various contexts. Solemn and brightly clear Polonaise A-flat Major, perfectly articulated and clear of exaltation, consequent like an etude Grande valse brillante, poetic and dramatic Ballade F Major — all Harasiewicz’s glances have the power to surprise and to show Chopin as composer exceeding the boundaries of early romantic style. Five stars as always when perfect music meets perfect performance.

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