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Halina Czerny-Stefańska plays Chopin
1 CD | 79min | Nr. SWR19077CD
CD 1: » Frédéric Chopin: Polonaise A major op. 40 No. 1
» Frédéric Chopin: Polonaise c sharp minor op. 26 No. 1
» Frédéric Chopin: Polonaise e flat minor op. 26 No. 2
» Frédéric Chopin: Polonaise c minor op. 40 No. 2
» Frédéric Chopin: Polonaise d minor op. 71 No. 1
» Frédéric Chopin: Polonaise B flat major op. 71 No. 2
» Frédéric Chopin: Polonaise f sharp minor op. 44
» Frédéric Chopin: Grande Polonaise brillante précédée d'un Andante spianato brillante E flat major op. 22
» Karol Szymanowski: Etüde b flat minor op. 4 – Andante
» Juliusz Zarębski: Grande Polonaise major op. 6

This is a 1960 studio recording of pianist Halina Czerny-Stefańska performing her core repertoire. Highly sensitive Chopin interpretations with a clear Polish empathy. An audio legacy of great beauty. The bonus tracks featuring works by Szymanowski and Zarębski are live recordings from 1966.

Halina Czerny-Stefańska was connected to the old Polish aristocratic family Schwarzenberg-Czerny. She was born in Kraków on 30 December 1922 into a family of musicians. Her mother was a pianist and her father, Stanislaw Schwarzenberg-Czerny, a pianist and piano teacher, who gave his daughter her first lessons. In 1934 she won the Alfred Cortot prize which enabled her to study with Cortot in Paris. In 1949, she was awarded the first prize at the international Chopin competition in Warsaw together with Bella Davidovich. Even though this award promoted the start of her artistic career, it did not guarantee international success. Halina Czerny-Stefańska owed her international recognition to her talent and to the fact that she was a hard worker. She performed in public until the end of her life,all the while maintaining her great form.

Elegance and esprit combine in her playing – a joyous mix of chivalrousness and national pride. The range of tone she produces on the piano displays a flexibility that is never metallic or heavy; her even legato passages always float; and her left hand is extraordinarily effective. Halina Czerny-Stefańska’s performances are characterised by just the right mix of external brilliance and melodic contemplation, of extroverted and exciting bravura and great emotional depth. She offers aesthetic taste instead of vehemence, a sense of form instead of puffed-up eccentricity, and a feel for nuance instead of brute impetuosity.