The mazurka is an old Polish folk dance made world-famous by Chopin, whose reinventions of the form are adored to this day.
The mazurka is an old Polish folk dance made world-famous by Chopin, whose reinventions of the form are adored to this day. A key 20th-century heir to the great Pole's mantle, Karol Szymanowski also explored this triple-time national dance, recasting the folk art with a modernist slant. Inevitably, Szymanowski's mazurkas have a harder edge than those of his Romantic forebear, although they boast passages of limpid beauty, too. Pianist Marc-André Hamelin has a more aptly incisive sound than, say, Martin Jones (who recorded all of Szymanowski's piano works for Nimbus in the late '90s); the Hyperion recording here also has a more appropriate clarity. For Hyperion, often in league with ace producer Andrew Keener, Hamelin has been quietly building one of the most vital piano discographies ever; this adds another jewel to his crown.—BB