On Saturday, Oct. 28, the Santa Barbara Music Club will present two specialists in passionate precision, pianists Mariusz Adamczak and Pascal Salomon in a self-curated program they call Piano Across Poland, France and America.
The free concert begins at 3 p.m. in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 4575 Auhay Drive, Santa Barbara.
There will be only one piano on the platform, and only two hands on the keyboard for all but the last piece on the program.
Adamczak will play Chopin’s “Ballade No. 1 in g-minor, Opus 23” (1836), and the Mazurkas “No. 1 in g-minor, and No.2 in C-Major, Opus 24” (1835); Ignaz Paderewski’s famous “Minuet in G-Major, Opus 14, No. 1″ (1887); and Karol Szymanowski’s “Prelude in b-minor, Opus 1, No. 1” (1899).
In conclusion, Maestro Adamczak will join Maestro Solomon on the bench and at the keyboard to perform Claude Debussy’s “Petite Suite for Piano Four Hands” (1889).
My mother had a recording of Vladimir Horowitz playing this Chopin “Ballade” on two 78 r.p.m. disks (sequential, with Liszt‘s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6” on the flip sides, so they could be stacked on a record-changer).
I still have the set. I played it more or less constantly, so by the time I was able to buy my own records, I was saturated with this majestic work, and still consider it the best thing Chopin wrote.
The Gershwin “Preludes” make an appropriate follow-up to the Poulenc, though they were composed before the French works. They are, to my taste, Gershwin’s most nearly perfect works, brilliant miniatures, exquisite and jazzy at the same time, expressing the fruitful cross-pollination of French classical music and American popular jazz in the 1920s.
For information on this or other Santa Barbara Music Club programs and performing artists, visit www.SBMusicClub.org.