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Review Corner, March 2019

This is a pianists’ piano album, as Szalucka is an exceptional pianist and can play both softly and very intensely; a couple of moments on this CD are incredibly fast.

This CD goes on a journey through what the PR notes call “a golden era in Polish music”, from Paderewski via Szymanowski, Bacewicz and Gorecki, to present day composers.

Impressive playing and an interesting album as well, nicely pitched between easy on the ear and difficult. © 2019 Review Corner Read complete review

Sang Woo Kang
American Record Guide, March 2019

This recording in Grand Piano’s “century of piano miniatures” series takes us from 1887 to 2010. Many of these composers are familiar—Paderewski, Szymanowski. Szalucka selects post-Chopin works to illustrate what she calls the renaissance of Polish music in the 20th Century. … Henryk Gorecki’s ‘Intermezzo’, following Bacewicz’s weighty sonata, is more minimalist and spectral. I especially like Roxanna Panufnik’s ‘Prayer”. She responds to her father Andrzej Panufnik’s ‘Prayer to the Virgin Mary of Skempe’ for solo voice or choir and organ with a transformation for solo piano. This quieter work concludes the program on a meditative note. © 2019 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Records International, December 2018

Mykietyn’s Preludes are satisfyingly pianistic, with a clear tonal basis and insistent repetition suggesting an offshoot of minimalism, Mikołaj’s little seven-minute sonata follows in his father’s footsteps. The largest-scale piece, Bacewicz’ 1953 sonata, suggests Prokofiev’s “War Sonatas” in its first movement which is fllowed by a quiet chorale-like slow movement and a spiky finale based on an Oberek-style folk dance. © 2018 Records International

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2018

Gathered together under the title of ‘A Century of Polish Piano Miniatures’ the young Polish-born pianist, Anna Szalucka, takes us on a pleasing visit to her native music. It opens with Paderewski’s Menuet, one of those pieces that used to regularly turn up in books of piano music sold in my yesteryears. It’s a lovely melody composed in 1887, its gentle nature continuing into the first of four Mazurkas by Szymanowski composed thirty-six years later. Then came a ‘culture shock’ that had taken place in Polish music with a major turn that was taking it towards the atonality we hear in Grazyna Bacewicz’s three-movement Second Piano Sonata, a curiously conceived score from 1953. The famous Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki is given space for just one very short and slow Intermezzo, but his son, Mikolaj Gorecki—a student of his father—appears with a linked three-movement Piano Sonata completed in 2010, and much influenced by his father’s slow moving music. Between the two we have the tonally aggressive opening to the 4 Preludia from Pawel Mykietyn that were completed in 1992. We then go back again in time to the gentle Modlitwa from Roxanna Panufnik written in conjunction with her father, Andrzej Panufnik. Now living in London, this is Szalucka’s debut disc, and from every point of view she is obviously a very gifted pianist, technically outstanding in the hair-raisingly fast Toccata that ends Bacewicz’s Sonata, and equally unhurried in the mercurial finale to Mykietyn’s Preludia. She fortunately has a stunning recording made in London’s Royal Academy of Music where she has been a student © 2018 David’s Review Corner

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