BBC Music Magazine Chamber Choice
Two important chamber works from 19th-century Poland, in quality equivalent perhaps to Dvorák and Brahms, but completely unknown outside their native country.
Zarebski was a virtuoso pianist, more feted during much of his short life as a performer than a composer. However his Piano Quintet is truly a masterpiece, demonstrating an originality and stature that match and even surpass better-known piano quintets by better-known composers. It shows a remarkably fresh ear for symphonic thinking, motivic development and sheer melodic invention. Zelenski was a teacher rather than a performer, ending his distinguished academic career as Director of the Conservatory in his home town of Krakow. His Piano Quartet is a passionate, lyrical work, combining the Romanticism of Mendelssohn and Schumann with a piquant Slavic element.
The Szymanowski Quartet—half Polish, half Ukrainian—and honorary Pole Jonathan Plowright are the ideal performers of this music.
[Zarebski] wrote [his Piano Quintet] in the year of his premature death, dedicating it to his teacher Liszt, and the virtuosity that implies is caught here in a performance of passionate warmth...Again, the performance [of the Zelenski] is impeccable...another invaluable Hyperion release. BBC *****
Jonathan Plowright and the Szymanowski Quartet tackle the scores from the thoroughly justified stance that the music is as far removed from Chopin's milieu as could be imagined...Hyperion's useful coupling of the Zarebski with Żeleński's quartet makes the disc specially welcome and the playing is first-rate. Gramophone