February 14, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST

Piano Concerto in A minor; Fantasie Polonaise

Current Status
In Season
Michael Bartos, Thomas Tirino
Newport Classic Premier
We gave it an A

You might think you’ve gone through the whole repertory of flashy, virtuosic, late-romantic piano concertos, but think again. Besides his meteoric career as super-pianist (interrupted for a few months in 1919 when he served as Prime Minister of his native Poland during its post-World War I reconstitution), Ignacy Jan Paderewski turned out a respectable small-scale , list of large-scale piano works of which this A minor concerto of 1889 is the best known. It has no surprises: thunderous, finger-busting clatter in the outer movements, an intervening serene, slow movement that could pass for the composer’s earlier compatriot, Frédéric Chopin. But the concerto, with its considerable beauty, is kid stuff compared with Paderewski’s Fantasie Polonaise of the same year, a wildly flamboyant display piece, based on Polish folk tunes, that recalls (to no discredit) the extravagances of Franz Liszt. The music holds no terrors for American pianist Thomas Tirino, and the Polish National Radio Symphony honors its countryman’s music in high style. A

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