P1348. WITOLD MALCUZYNSKI: Chopin & Szymanowski Recital. [Among the most highly valued issues from Yves St Laurent!] (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-863, Live Performances, 17 Sept., 1960 & 20 Dec., 1956. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"Witold Malcuzynski’s main period of tuition was with Josef Turczynski, a pupil of Busoni, at the Warsaw Conservatory. After graduating from the Warsaw Conservatory, Malcuzynski took some lessons from Ignacy Paderewski at the home of the celebrated pianist at Morges in Switzerland. Paderewski had an enormous influence on the young Malcuzynski, as he later recalled: ‘After a few months with him, I was no longer the same person, and my conception of the piano as a means of expressing feelings had been completely transformed’.
After winning the third prize at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw (Yakov Zak took first place) Malcuzynski went to Paris to continue his studies with Marguerite Long and Isidor Philipp. After his Paris debut, made during World War II, he toured extensively in Portugal and South America giving more than seventy concerts. He then traveled to the United States, giving a very successful debut in Carnegie Hall; but rather than build on his American success by giving more concerts there, Malcuzynski returned to war-torn Europe, appearing frequently in England, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Scandinavia. It was the concerts to celebrate the centenary of the death of Chopin in 1949 that led to Malcuzynski being heard throughout the world in places such as Australia, India, New Zealand and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
In 1958 Malcuzynski returned to Poland after an absence of twenty years. In a two-week period in February he played nine concerts, four of them in Warsaw. He was warmly received wherever he played in Poland and most of the concerts were sold out. On one occasion he gave ten encores, and the newspapers reported that Malcuzynski was ‘…a pianist who is very much our own, one who upholds the great tradition of ‘Romantic’ pianism, of Paderewski and Slivinski. People have need of such playing: frank, generous, personal, human in the full musical sense of the word and altogether eloquent’.
Identified with the music of Chopin throughout his career, Malcuzynski is often compared to the pupils of Leschetizky, such as Benno Moiseiwitsch and Ignaz Friedman, for his concentration on quality of tone, but he did not continue some of the indulgent habits of the pianists of the generation before him. Indeed, in a review of a London recital of November 1946 a critic stated that Malcuzynski was ‘…one of those pianists in whom a natural physical endowment has combined with an acute musical sensibility to produce a virtuoso of the first rank….he is the most unsentimental and unaffected interpreter of Chopin we have heard for a long while’. Not only was Malcuzynski praised for his control and technique, but also for his sensitive emotion. It is in smaller-scale works such as Chopin’s mazurkas that his refinement of character, taste and style come to the fore, but he also played works of Liszt, and his interpretation of the Piano Sonata in b minor was highly regarded.
With his elegant good looks and bearing, charming stage manner, presence and style, Malcuzynski was a favourite pianist with the public during his lifetime. He toured often and collaborated with many of the greatest orchestras and conductors including Dimitri Mitropoulos, Otto Klemperer, Pierre Monteux and André Cluytens….”
- Jonathan Summers, Naxos' A–Z of Pianists