Piano Sonata No 3, Métopes, Masques
Piano Sonata No 3, Métopes, Masques
Masques, Op 34:
I Shéhérazade
II Tantris le bouffon
III Sérénade de Don Juan

Piano Sonata No 3, Op 36:
I Presto (leggiero e delicamente)
II Adagio. Mesto
III Assai vivace. Scherzando
IV Fuga. Allegro moderato. Scherzando e buffo

Métopes, Op 29:
I L'île des sirènes
II Calypso
III Nausicaa

Libération (June 2005)
Combining rigour with imagination and relentless virtuosity with an exuberant sensibility, Piotr Anderszewski is, at 35, a major pianist. His exacting discography traces a real progression: the polyphonic clarity of Bach, the austerity of Webern, the flowing lyricism of Beethoven, the singing quality of Mozart - everything is transformed by him into a master class. Having celebrated the poetry of Chopin's Mazurkas, he now turns logically to Szymanowski. The Masques and Métopes mark Szymanowski's newly-acquired passion for Stravinsky and Debussy, and above all his return from travels in North Africa. Anderszewski reveals a powerful sense of rhythm and a genius for sonority and colour... In the Sonata No 3 an analytical quality and commitment combine to realise a more formal and condensed style of writing, but with much panache and insight. Will Anderszewski follow these masterly performances with his interpretation of Debussy?
BBC Music Magazine (July 2005)
Piotr Anderszewski enthrals the listener by the sheer beauty of the sounds that he conjures from the piano. Although each phrase seems to be carefully nuanced, Anderszewski captures to perfection the music's almost schizophrenic changes of mood, from the dreamy and hypnotic to the ironic and capricious. The Third Sonata is no less impressive, particularly the dynamic ecstatic account of the fugal finale. Although alternative versions of these works... have many undeniable virtues, Anderszewski outclasses his rivals in the extra degree of imagination he brings to the music.

(Five stars)
Daily Telegraph (June 2005)
Anderszewski's playing reveals the glories of Szymanowski's piano music like no other. He has never been one to rush into things, and these interpretations speak of lengthy deliberation about the composer's musical language and the ways of assimilating and conveying it.

Pianistic colour is paramount in these pieces, but, as Anderszewski so dynamically shows, atmosphere goes hand in hand with animated texture and a volatility of temperament that give the music a flavour - sometimes pungent, sometimes delicate and elusive - that is all its own.

Geoffrey Norris
Diapason (June 2005)
If there is a recording on which Piotr Anderszewski has long reflected, it is this programme of Szymanowski. The result is a measure of the time the pianist has taken to bring his project to fruition. A great achievement, the disc also responds to a real need in the catalogue - these three major piano works are hard to find and, until now, no recording has brought them together...

The poetic demands, characterisation and sense of structure are perfectly realised in this performer's hands, right from Schéhérazade (the first of the Masques and the first track on the disc). Anderszewski understands that the Masques and Métopes draw upon a Latin sensibility - so significant in the composer's personal evolution - but also that it is through his discovery of Stravinsky that Szymanowski arrived at the stylistic period the two triptychs represent...

It is to be hoped that this passionate recording will contribute to a re-evaluation of Szymanowski by music lovers.

(recipient of a Diapson d'or in the June issue of the magazine)
Gramophone (Sep. 2005)
Such music calls for a pianist of unlimited, superfine virtuosity and a complete temperamental affinity... and in Anderszewski it has surely found its ideal champion... Anderszewski's razor-sharp clarity and stylistic assurance make you hang on every one of the composer's teeming notes... Every aspect of the music's refined and energetic life is held in a blazing light from which it is impossible to escape...

All these performances have been superbly recorded.
Le Figaro (May 2005)
Here [Piotr Anderszewski] finds a marvellous vehicle to express his musical intelligence and sense of colour. In Métopes and Masques, composed during the First World War, the piano is by turns impressionistic and dramatic, full of suggestion, whilst the Sonata No 3 displays a more formal structure. A composer to explore, both on this disc and through the concerts which Anderszewski is devoting to Szymanowski's music on 5 and 6 June at the Bouffes du Nord.
Le Monde (June 2005)
A major recording... that of a pianist who has negotiated a difficult course to master an extraordinary oeuvre, which he then fights for with complete conviction. The astonishing stylistic sharpness and imagination of his reading of the Sonata No 3 are awesome... In the Masques, for each of the mythical figures - Schéhérazade, Tantris le bouffon, Don Juan's Serenade - Anderszewski conjures up the full brilliance of a music which never gives way to the merely descriptive or referential, even though Tantris is of course an allusion to Wagner's Tristan (albeit a Tristan fused with the clown of Ernst Hardt's drama).

As for the three Métopes, inspired by the Odyssey..., Anderszewski's playing serves this music - by turn light and dark, percussive and ethereal - with an exemplary skill, and an unerring sensibility.
Le Temps (July 2005)
Le raffinement infini des compositions pour piano surgit avec force dans l'enregistrement que Piotr Anderszewski lui dédie. L'interprète plonge avec délicatesse dans les quatre parties qui composent Masques op. 34 et d'entrée, il transmet avec précision les multiples facettes de cette oeuvre tantôt suspendue dans l'éther, tantôt secouée par des passages très expressifs. Le piano d'Anderszewski a une allure de sonde munie de torche, qui éclaire et explore les recoins les plus éloignés de l'esprit artistique torturé de Szymanowski. Cela opère particulièrement dans le labyrinthe complexe des quatre mouvements de la Sonata pour piano N° 3, que le pianiste réussit à unifier en lui donnant une grande transparence.
New York Times (Oct. 2005)
The most influential champion of the underappreciated Polish composer Karol Szymanowski was his devoted friend and countryman Arthur Rubinstein. For decades after Szymanowski's death in 1937 at 54, Rubinstein kept his idiosyncratic piano works before the public. Now Szymanowski has a new champion in the young Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski, whose riveting Virgin Classics recording of three major piano pieces should help the cause...

Mr Anderszewski plays these works with breathtaking pianistic command, keen intensity and utter involvement. It's hard to imagine that any doubts about Szymanowski's piano music will withstand the sheer impact of the performances captured here.
Rondo Magazin (Oct. 2005)
Fom the very first bars of the first piece on the CD, ('Schéhérazade' from the Masques Op 34), Anderszewski presents an exquisite mixture of expressionism and introversion, by means of his tonal palette and self-effacing playing (...) The communication of structure amidst the sensuality of the sound is a triumph.
The Guardian (July 2005)
New discs from Piotr Anderszewski are precious commodities... This collection of Karol Szymanowski's most substantial works for solo piano is only the Polish-born Anderszewski's sixth solo-piano disc, but like several of its predecessors... it is a revelation, clearly the work of a master pianist who has emerged as one of the greatest of the present day, and one with the rare ability to transform whatever he plays, making it seem as if it is being heard for the first time... Great performers really can turn the everyday into something very special indeed.

(Five stars)
The Observer (Aug. 2005)
Composed in 1917, Szymanowski's third piano sonata immediately post-dates his two impressionistic tone poems for piano, Masques and Métopes, respectively exploring folk tales from Scheherazade and Don Juan to Homer's Odyssey. Heavily influenced by Ravel and Debussy, but breaking out into the world of the then-unfashionable Stravinsky, they make perfect and eloquent sense in the expert hands of the composer's Polish compatriot Piotr Anderszewski, one of the most painstaking pianists at work today. Strung together as one, the four movements of the sonata are especially persuasive, its vivid experimentation showing this underrated composer at last finding his own distinctive voice.
The Times (July 2005)
The set of character pieces entitled Métopes is riveting, especially the piece called Calypso, in which Anderszewski exactly captures the contrast between Calypso's threateningly erotic music and Ulysses's dreamily nostalgic melody. The most impressive thing about Anderszewski's playing is the way he gives a sense of shape and purpose to Szymanowski's often wayward and over-rich textures. He has a wonderful way of making the climaxes seem massively impressive and yet evanescent. And how well he controls those dying-away endings, with their endless trills fading to stillness, like ripples stretching out across the surface of a pond.

(Five stars)