Elsner, Krogulski, Dobrzynski: Founders of Polish Classical Music

This release features the music of Józef Elsner and two of his students (but not his most famous one, Chopin). Elsner was a Polish composer and teacher. During his lifetime he produced a great deal of music. Works that greatly influenced the course of Polish classical music.

Józef Władysław Krogulski showed great promise while studying with Elsner. His early death at age 28 prevented that promise from being fully realized.

Ignacy Feliks Dobrzynski did live long enough to fulfill his. But circumstances thwarted his success. The unstable political situation of 1800s Poland made it difficult to mount performances.

These three provide the foundation Polish composers built upon later in the century. And their music is enlightening.

Elsner’s Septet in D major was composed in 1838. Elsner had spent time in Vienna. This work seems to have much in common with Mendelssohn’s music. It’s well-constructed with a transparent texture. Melodies are well-defined and the work flows effortlessly from start to finish.

The Octet in D minor, Op. 6 of Krogulski is a very different work. His harmonic language is much more advanced. At times it seems to anticipate Wagner’s.

Krogulski’s String Sextet in E-flat major, Op. 39 was composed in 1834. It’s a charming work. His model seems to have been Haydn. The construction is meticulous, with creative melodies woven throughout.

The artists performing here do this music a great service. These are live recordings. I think the music benefits from the energy of playing together for an audience. The heritage of Polish classical music has yet to be completely explored. This release only hints at the treasures that await.

Józef Elsner: Septet in D Major for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, double bass, and piano
Józef Władysław Krogulski: Octet in D Minor, Op. 6 for flute, clarinet, two violins, viola, cello, double bass, and piano
Ignacy Feliks Dobrzynski: String Sextet in E-flat Major, Op. 39 for two violins, viola, two cellos, and double bass

Zofia Neugebaurer, flute; Andrian Janda, clarinet; Maria Machowska, Mamil Staniczek, violins; Magdalena Bojanowicz, Agata Dobrzanka, cellos; Tomasz Januchta, contrabass
DUX 1822

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