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Szymanowski Childrens songs

Iwona Sobotka soprano with Reinild Mees, piano [vol. 4 of complete songs boxed] Channel Classics CCS 19398

Anna Mikolajczyk (soprano), Edward Wolanin, piano [plus Songs of a Fairytale Princess, Op. 31] Dux 054 - R

Simon Woolf [20th Century Children's songs]

To declare a special interest, I have been associated with Szymanowski Children's songs for many years, since deciding in the '60s to include them - in the original Polish - in the second CD I produced with my son, in great haste - urged to hurry before his voice broke, and give up approaching record companies meanwhile, by the Sunday Times critic Felix Aprahamian.

The two LPs whch emerged eventually were well received by the press, Polish musicians and academics, but soon deleted.

Of the three versions of the Childrens Songs, Mikolajczyk's is my preferred recording, and finally so of all three by a short margin. Her soprano is pure and she even pronounces the words intelligibly in the Fairy Tale Princess songs; rare for sopranos to manage in alt. And her accompanist is excellent, perectly balanced.

There is a page about Simon's concert,opera and recording career at http://www.musicalpointers/simon_lps, with a generous selection of tracks to hear on line and CD-R copies to purchase.

That recording is unique, being sung by a real child (not even a Polish-speaking one...). They were recorded for LP with a single microphone (the piano is sometimes a bit too loud...) to acclamation, indeed astonishment. But approaching record labels again for its possible re-release on CD met the sustained objection during the '80s that there was little or no interest in boys' voices...

Now, this month, there is Heldur Harry Põlda, a successful boy soprano from Tallinin making waves; we wish him and his recordings every success, but leave it to others to review them...

Peter Grahame Woolf

Also well worth hearing is a disc of Carols and Motets by Pawel Lukaszewski [Dux 0440, 50 mins] performed by the wonderful Polish Chamber Choir conducted by his namesake (relative ?) Jan Lukaszewski. Delightful voices and charming music.

But without texts/synopses in English and other European languages it could not be recommended except, maybe, in a publication for ex-patriates living here - of which there are many !

Perhaps Dux could remedy this on their website, as some labels do nowadays?