Barbara Karaśkiewicz and Michał Rot play sublimely in Suite No. 1 for two pianos and the Suite No. 2 for two pianos, Op. 17 with a command of the grand Romantic style seldom heard these days of soulless playing of some of today’s superstar pianists. In the same manner, the superbly accomplished members of the Huberman Piano Trio bring to life the Trio Elegiac No. 1 in G minor, and both the Elegy from the 1882 Five Fantasy Pieces, Op. 3, and the familiar 1915 Vocalise. The two miniatures are separated by 33 years, yet imprinted by the composer’s gift for memorable melody, which in the enormously gifted hands of pianist Barbara Karaśkiewicz, violinist Dagmara Swystun, and cellist Sergei Rysanov are heard again in impeccably delivered readings.
This album is a tribute to Bronisław Huberman – a great violinist, humanist, politician, philanthropist, eulogist of peace and European unity, and the founder of The Palestine Orchestra, meritorious for many persecuted Jewish musicians. It was recorded in September 2019 as an artistic work constituting a whole with a doctoral thesis entitled Bronisław Huberman – analysis of the aesthetics of the great violin virtuoso’s playing based on recordings, studies and transcriptions by Magdalena Ziarkowska-Kołacka. The strongest motivation for its creation was the need to save from oblivion this brilliant violinist, who is still not talked about enough in Poland, and whose musical and social activity is an example worth following.
Other fine recitals from Peter Anderszewski and Marc-Andre Hamelin stand high among the recommendations for this music, while Martin Roscoe gives us superlative performances of all of the keyboard music. Here is yet another great recital, a superb sampling. The plush fullness of the sound is an added attraction.
Alan Becker (American Record Guide)
Polish-born pianist Barbara Karaśkiewicz plays these four works with great understanding, technical aplomb and interpretive skill. It makes a splendid introduction to the piano music of Karol Szymanowski.
John France (Musicweb International)
I have to say immediately that Barbara Karaskiewicz seems to have known Szymanowski and his language for a number of years and reading her biography it is clear that she started to play his music when she was just fifteen. You are in safe hands with this CD. But that’s not to say that others have not achieved great things with this music.
Gary Higginson (Musicweb International)
In my opinion, Barbara Karaśkiewicz is an exceptional interpreter of Karol Szymanowski’s works. With impeccable technique, beautiful sound, playing with great vigor and liberty, realizing his own artistic visions, she tries to focus on the possibly faithful reflection of the composer’s intentions. I am under pleasant impression of Mrs. Karaśkiewicz’s performance of Masks op. 34 by Szymanowski. The absolute control of plans in such a complex musical matter testifies to a thorough knowledge, combined with talent and reliability, free from showing off her technical ease.
Professor Bogumił Nowicki 15/06/2018
… is a pianist possessing a very good technique, which allows her to achieve her interpretive goals with freedom. She is convincing in expression, playing with a deep understanding of the changing stylistics of the presented works, from strictly romantic in Preludes to almost modernist in Mazurkas. Her play is on the one hand full of passion and worship, on the other hand conscious and full of control. This translates into a diverse and clear sound of the instrument, which does not hide any secrets from her. The choice of tempos is very individual, which undoubtedly influences the very personal tone of the statement. The keep knowledge that the pianist has, working for 25 years on Szymanowski’s music, means that we have no doubts about the high quality of the presented work.
Professor Bogdan Kułakowski 18/06/2018
John France MusicWeb International
An entertaining and lively collection of piano music. It’s got a real sense of energy about it; there’s nothing serious about this and no dark tones. We were a little surprised, listening to it more intently, at how complex the playing is. . The virtuoso Polish pianist Barbara Karaskiewicz has championed her countryman’s music, and she’s a formidable player. This collection will be enjoyed by proficient pianists, who can appreciate the complexity of the playing, and people who just like piano music.
Jeremy Condliffe The Chronicle
One of the most brilliant successors to the Romantic genres popularised by Chopin. Hardly known outside Poland, Roman Statkowski’s music is full of sparkling energy, rhythmic vitality and a mass of wonderful melodies. The virtuoso Polish pianist Barbara Karaskiewicz brings a formidable technique to the glittering fast passages and is the ideal interpreter.
John Pitt New Classics
Melody is always to the fore and while there is lyricism there are moments of exciting dash … there is no padding and time wasting. The variety in the music holds the attention; there is always something new happening. The Toccata Op 33 is very impressive and calls for a pianist with a cool head and tough fingers; it is simply splendid. The Six Preludes Op 37 are a delight. They require real skill from the performer, who is excellent. This CD is a joy and we should hear some of this music in recitals.
David C F Wright Wrightmusic
Statkowski is a very imaginative composer who borrowed much of the passion of Russian music. [The performer’s] interpretation is fluid and subtle and reflects the diversity and moods excellently.
Remy Franck Pizzicato Luxembourg
This is a valuable new release of music that deserves to be heard. Many of these pieces would sit well in any recital. The recording is close and detailed with a fine piano tone. The booklet is well up to Divine Art’s usual high standards with excellent booklet notes from Barbara Karaśkiewicz.
Bruce Reader The Classical Reviewer
It is music of extreme sensitivity that is written beautifully for the piano. I am very happy that the Polish Pianist Barbara Karaskiewicz, who plays this music exquisitely, has recorded his excellent piano music.
Elaine Fine Expedition Audio
The intrepid Barbara Karaskiewicz plays these works with technical assurance, rhythmic vivacity and command. She differentiates and characterises finely. She’s even added ornaments – with the composer’s agreement, doubtless – in some of the Circe movements.
Jonathan Woolf MusicWeb International
The second album with the works of Roman Statkowski in the recording of Barbara Karaśkiewicz raises – like the first one – the highest praise. And maybe Statkowski has surpassed Paderewski? Listening to the three Oberkas in the performance of Barbara Karaśkiewicz, it is impossible to get rid of such thoughts. The pianist has mastered the art of precise, round and expressively articulated sounds, rarely found in Poland. If we add that instrumental proficiency fully authorizes her to perform compositions written by virtuosos, and by the natural musicality, flowing from the vocal-like phrasing and from agogical freedom, she can breathe the spirit into every note, it turns out that here we have a record with forgotten Polish music, which is undoubtedly worth remembering. Secondly, it provides many emotions, even if for today’s ear it becomes over-zealous or too insistently follows the footsteps of Chopin. Karaśkiewicz interprets her excellently.
Kacper Miklaszewski Ruch Muzyczny
This label specializes on unique Polish piano music as performed by several excellent Polish pianists and Barbara Karaskiewicz is such an artist. The performances are sensitive, lush, and with total understanding for the musical phrase.
Dennis E. Ferrara
The pieces recorded on the album are true pearls, the masterpieces “par excellence.” The artist exposes these values by taking care of narration and coherent form. The works give a possibility to demonstrate the virtuosity which Barbara Karaśkiewicz widely exposes by showing the impeccable craftsmanship and musicality. She plays all miniatures gracefully, elegantly, deftly and with flying inspiration. The album deserves the highest praise.
Marcin T. Łukaszewski Muzyka21