The Polish Pioneer of Twelve-Tone Music
Elżbieta Sternlicht records the complete piano works of Józef Koffler

The booklet of the double CD to be reviewed here is published in Polish, English and French, but not in German. This is almost the only flaw in a project that must be considered a major feat in terms of Koffler appreciation. The Polish pianist Elżbieta Sternlicht, who teaches at Berlin University of the Arts, has recorded Koffler’s complete surviving piano works on two CDs, published under catalogue number APO 122/123 by a label with the original name »Acte Préalable«. (…)

In 1927, Koffler writes his next work, the Musique quasi una sonata op. 8, which he dedicates to Karol Szymanowski. (…) The majestic beginning is grandiose, genuinely sonata-like. (…) The »Allegretto á la polonaise« is followed by a »Ben mosso« and a »Sostenuto molto«, both somewhat melancholy movements that radiate the tonal warmth of Alban Berg’s adagios. And Elżbieta Sternlicht unfolds the values of the different registers enchantingly.

Koffler’s wife and child perished with him in the gas chamber. But the music is alive and needs to be brought back to life. Elżbieta Sternlicht has taken a big step in this direction. May she continue her progress along this path.

Gottfried Eberle
musica reanimata, January 2007