Piano Quintet in c minor, Op.35
Ludomir Różycki (1883-1953) was born in Warsaw. His father was a professor at the conservatory there and Ludomir received a thorough musical education there studying composition with the important late 19th century Polish composer, Zygmunt Noskowski. After graduating, he moved to Berlin where he continued his studies with Engelbert Humperdinck. He then pursued a career as both a conductor and teacher holding posts in Lvov and Warsaw. Along with Karol Szymanowski and Grzegorz Fitelberg, he was a founder of Young Poland, a group of composers whose goal was to move Polish music into the modern era. Although he was primarily known for his operas, he did not ignore chamber music, most of which was written during his so-called first period wherein his music remained traditionally tonal.
The Piano Quintet in c minor dates from 1913. At its premiere it was highly praised by the famous critics Wilhelm Altmann and Hugo Leichtentritt, the former who commented that it was written by “an early 20th century Beethoven.” It is in what might be termed the neo-romantic style, offering a lush and sumptuous tonal palette and a vast array of expressive devices, full of emotion and colorful tonal effects. The first movement, Allegro moderato, begins with a recitative in the piano. The mood is hesitant until the strings join in. The rest of the movement is alternates between dramatically powerful and lyrical episodes. The middle movement, a funereal Andante, is in the character of an elegy. It is languorous and filled with resignation and sadness. The finale, a bright Allegro, burst forth with genial energy which leads in turn to several impassioned interludes.
This is a superb neo-romantic work which undoubtedly belongs in the repertoire. Lost in the shuffle, as so many works published just before the First World War were, we are hopeful that it will make its way onto the concert stage and warmly recommend it.