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Keep Talking To Me / Katarzyna Dondalska

Karlowicz / Chopin / Dondolska / Berndsen
Release Date: 03/30/2010 
Label:  Telos   Catalog #: 1009   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Stanislaw MoniuszkoFrédéric ChopinPauline Viardot-GarciaMieczyslaw Karlowicz
Performer:  Katarzyna DondalskaHolger Berndsen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



KATARZYNA DONDALSKA—POLISH SONGS Katarzyna Dondalska (sop); Holger Berndsen (pn) TELOS MUSIC TLS 1009 (79:56 & no transl)


Songs by KARL/OWICZ, MONIUSZKO, CHOPIN, CHOPIN/VIARDOT-GARCIA


The 36 songs on this disc explore new territory for most of us, not least because of their language. We have certainly heard of Chopin (but maybe not often of his songs) and we probably know the name of Read more Stanis?aw Moniuszko (1819–72), but, apart from specialists, we have probably not heard much of the music of Mieczys?aw Kar?owicz (1876–1909). And did you know that among the many compositions of the great mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot-Garcia (1821–1910) were mazurkas by Chopin to which she added words by Louis Pomey (1835–1901)? I didn’t, but it’s never too late, they assure me.


Katarzyna Dondalska is new to these pages. On this recording, she shows a tightly focused, occasionally metallic voice with an absolutely astonishing range, high and low. The Queen of the Night and Lucia fit easily into her middle upper register, a fact largely irrelevant here.


The recital gets more interesting as it moves along. The songs get longer and more happens in them with respect to their music. I have to note, however, that I know not a word of Polish and there are no translations, even of titles (except for Chopin’s). Apart from the French songs, I haven’t the slightest idea what Dondalska is singing about. The Polish sounds reasonably clear, but it tells me nothing. That leaves the music.


Kar?owicz’s songs have a slightly Tchaikovskian flavor to them, but they are short and take no musical risks. Things improve considerably when we come to Moniuszko, who clearly has his own voice. I especially liked Dumka . Chopin is another matter altogether. If one wants to sing Chopin, one has few songs to choose from. His op. 74, the only song collection, contains but 17 (though there are at least two more), of which Dondalska sings five. They sound clearly like, well, Chopin (with maybe an occasional nod to Schumann). Dondalska is clearly engaged in them, and I regret that I haven’t a clue as to what’s going on.


The most interesting songs on the disc, however, are those on Chopin’s mazurkas by Pauline Viardot-Garcia. Of the 12, Dondalska sings five, and the reticence she shows earlier in the recital is thrown to the winds here, as Viardot-Garcia herself probably did. Dondalska’s vast range is used to its full extent in these songs, opening the question of just what kind of voice Viardot-Garcia had: She is usually referred to as a mezzo-soprano, but even if these here are transposed upward, she must have had an enormous range, assuming Dondalska has not added the stratospheric fiorature much in evidence here. The notes say nary a word about these songs, or about Viardot-Garcia.


Many of these songs have been recorded before. Ewa Podles (Accord) sings a great number of them, Ewa Poblocka (Accord) has a whole disc of Kar?owicz songs, and Urszula Kryger (Helios) sings the entire Chopin op. 74 and five of Viardot-Garcia’s Chopin adaptations. As an introduction to this repertoire, however, Dondalska’s recital will do quite well.


FANFARE: Alan Swanson
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Works on This Recording

1.
Piesn wieczorna by Stanislaw Moniuszko
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Poland 
2.
Latem brzózka mala by Stanislaw Moniuszko
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Poland 
3.
Triolet by Stanislaw Moniuszko
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Poland 
4.
Zlota rybka by Stanislaw Moniuszko
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Poland 
5.
Polish Songs (17), Op. 74: no 1, The wish, B 33 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1847 
6.
Polish Songs (17), Op. 74: no 2, Spring, B 116 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1847 
7.
Polish Songs (17), Op. 74: no 8, Handsome lad, B 143 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1847 
8.
Polish Songs (17), Op. 74: no 12, My darling, B 112 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1847 
9.
Polish Songs (17), Op. 74: no 16, Lithuanian song, B 63 no 3 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1847 
10.
Aime-moi by Pauline Viardot-Garcia
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
11.
Seize ans after Chopin's Mazurka in Ab, Op 50 no 2 by Pauline Viardot-Garcia
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
12.
Plainte d'amour after Chopin's Mazurka in F sharp minor, op 6 no 1 by Pauline Viardot-Garcia
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1888; Paris, France 
13.
L'oiselet after Chopin's Mazurka in a, Op 68 no 2 by Pauline Viardot-Garcia
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
14.
Songs (10), Op. 3: no 1, Speak to me still by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Berlin, Germany 
15.
Songs (10), Op. 3: no 2, From erotica by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Berlin, Germany 
16.
Songs (10), Op. 3: no 4, On the calm, dark sea by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Berlin, Germany 
17.
Songs (6), Op. 1: no 2, Whence the first stars by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Berlin, Germany 
18.
Songs (10), Op. 3: no 6, Before the eternal night by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Berlin, Germany 
19.
Songs (10), Op. 3: no 5, Asleep in the splendours of the night by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Performer:  Katarzyna Dondalska (Soprano), Holger Berndsen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Berlin, Germany 

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