The Polish-born piano virtuoso Ignacy Friedman (1882-1948), who lived in Sydney in the last years of his life after leaving Europe following the outbreak of World War II, was renowned in his day as an interpreter of the music of Chopin in particular. Fortunately, he left numerous recordings as proof of his artistry.
But like many of the finest piano virtuosos, including today’s, Friedman was also a composer. His compositions number around 100, and among them are some fine pieces for solo piano. My favourites include the Viennese Dances on Motifs by Eduard Gärtner and the gorgeous Preludes Op. 61. There are also chamber works. And these 37 beautiful songs, which here receive their first recordings.
Indeed, this was clearly a labour of love for the Polish performers soprano Şen Acar, bass-baritone Szymon Chojnacki and pianist Jakub Tchorzewski, who not only sought out the scores for all of Friedman’s extant songs but who have taken so many pains to bring them so gloriously and compellingly to life.