In this recital, the Pasichnyk sisters turn the spotlight on the rich Polish lieder repertoire, whose best-known representatives are Chopin and Szymanovski.
The nineteen songs written by Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849), together with his Cello Sonata, are the only exceptions in an oeuvre that was otherwise devoted entirely to the piano. The songs were conceived as records of fleeting pangs of love or sudden bouts of nostalgia. Seventeen songs were published posthumously as opus 74 by Chopin's friend Julian Fontana. There are no direct traces of authentic Polish folk music to be found in Chopin's songs. Like the piano works, they are Chopin's personal, stylised version of Polish music. His distant native county appears more directly in the lyrics, written by his fellow Polish exiles and close friends in Paris, the poets Adam Mickiewicz and Stefan Witwicki.
Karol Szymanovski (1882-1937) did undertake a thorough study of the folk music of different regions of his native country. The twelve 'Kurpische Lieder' (songs from the Kurpie region) that constitute his opus 58 are based on the folk songs collected by Father Skierkovski. In three acts, he presents a small psychological drama that opens with the pain of farewell and concludes with the joy of reunion. Szymanovski's compositions display a great colouristic sensibility. Using modal turns, typical rhythms, ostinatos and bourdon effects, he manages to preserve the artless charm of the folk songs.