Stefan Poradowski Concertos show range of talent

Stefan Poradowski was a man of many talents — including a talent for survival. This Polish composer was deported by the Nazis in 1939,. He lived through the war and returned to become Vice-Rector of the Polish State Music Academy.

Poradowski was also a renowned violinist and organist. And he was a respected artist and art photographer.

These days, he’s best known outside of Poland for his compositions. His Double Bass Concerto, Op. 26 is often performed at double bass competitions.

That work is included in this recording, as well as his Violin Concerto, Op. 70 and his symph9ony No. 3, Op. 29.

In the immediate postwar period, Poradowski worked closely with the Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra. So it’s fitting that “his” orchestra record these works. The ensemble, directed by Lukasz Borowicz, has a nice, tight sound. The various soloists perform a high degree of musicality.

Poradowski wrote in a mainly tonal style. To my ears, it sounds a little more conservative than, say, Prokofiev. His themes are well-defined. And the structure of his music makes it easy for the listener to follow.

Piotr Czerwinski is an exceptional bassist. At times, Czerwinski’s instrument sounded more like a cello than a double bass. Czerwinski maintains a well-rounded singing tone in the upper register. That’s not easy to do consistently. This is why this concerto makes a good competition piece.

Violinist Marcin Suszycki also gives a good performance. His playing is sometimes aggressive, and his sound often has an edge to it. His performance is what put me in mind to Prokofiev.

The Third Symphony, written in 1930, is the most tonal and conservative of the three works. Poradowski was a skillful orchestrator. And this symphony has some thrilling moments. Poradowski wrote eight symphonies in all. Based on the strength of this one, I would love to hear the other seven.

Stefan Bolesław Poradowski Violin Concerto; Double Bass Concerto; Symphony No. 3
Marcin Suszycki, violin; Piotr Czerwinski, double bass
Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra; Lukasz Borowicz, conductor

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