This recording grew out of a project by the Opole Philharmonic Foundation. “Nowowiejski Decoded” involved editing, publishing — and then recording the orchestral music of this seminal Polish composer.

Feliks Nowowiejski was a major musical figure of early 20th Century Poland. Nowowiejski won many composition prizes and was frequently performed in Germany as well as Poland.

He studied with Max Bruch from 1900 to 1902. Three of the five works on this release were completed in 1903, and show Bruch’s influence.

After the First World War, Nowowiejski returned to Poland to become a docent at the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Music Academy. There he advocated Polish patriotism and cultural identity.

The opera overtures on this release come from that period. Both “The Legend of the Baltic Sea” and “The King of the Winds” are based on Polish folk legends.

The scores adopt some of the traits of Polish folk melodies, especially in their melodic and rhythmic construction. Bruch’s post-Romantic language has been stripped away. As a result, Nowowiejki’s overtures sound innovative and exciting — more so than the more conventional pre-war pieces.

The Opole Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra invested a lot in the project, and the results are spectacular. Nowowiejski’s music benefits from these readings by his fellow countrymen.

I had not heard of Feliks Nowowiejski before this release. Based on the strength of this music, I want to find more.

Feliks Nowowiejski: Symphonic Works
Overture to the oratorio The Return of the Prodigal Son, Op. 3; Symphonic poem, Op. 17 Nos. 1, Nina and Pergolesi;  Symphonic fantasy, Op. 17 No. 2; Overture to the opera The Legend of the Baltic Sea, Op. 28; Overture to the opera-ballet The King of the Winds, Op. 37 (1927)
Opole Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
Przemyslaw Neumann, conductor
DUX 2017