Felicja Blumental - album review
Polish Fantasy (Brana Records)
If your idea of a Polish fantasy stretches as far as smoked sausage washed down by a glass of vodka, then it’s time to listen to Brana Records’ latest release. Despite the recent influx of Poles to these parts, the classical music of their homeland hasn’t had anything like the enhanced profile it deserves. With three works featuring pianist Felicja Blumental, two for piano and orchestra by Paderewski and the middle one the Partita for Harpsichord by Penderecki, this is a CD where late 19th century lyricism and stirring folk melodies frame the more frenzied and unusual 1970s scoring of Poland’s greatest living composer. Blumental’s playing is notable for its flowing clarity while remaining authoritative. Born in Warsaw in 1908, she was a regular performer throughout North and South America, as well as Europe, and this reissue of these 1960s/70s recordings is a timely reminder of her remarkable ability as a pianist.