And the Tango! Excellent orchestral guidance and phenomenal, sparkling with joy solo performances and dialogues of instruments. We have fragments here that even encourage the performers to be even more creative. Piazzolla offers in this part, like in tango from the 40s, a great opportunity for improvisation, and that opportunity is eagerly used by both the pianist and the cellist. It is a new interpretation of Piazzolla's work, where the richness of traditional tango and innovative performance strengthen the power of the music, giving the audience and artists an extraordinary experience.
Dorota Pietrzyk, Presto, 22 April 2022
Rachmaninoff's masterpiece could be heard performed by the well-known by audience in Krakow - but not only - Cracow Duo, which consists of cellist Jan Kalinowski and pianist Marek Szlezer, also associated with the Krakow Academy of Music. Years of cooperation and the individual talent and skills of each of the musicians lead to such a sophisticated musical communication between them: from the lyrical and somewhat melancholic first movement, through the airy Allegro scherzando and emotional Andante, to the bravado and heroic finale. The rich expression was also accompanied by remarkable attention to the precision of execution, making the sonata a wonderful artistic experience.
Marek Romanowski, Kurier Muzyczny, 7 April 2021
Quite bolder in terms of programming, especially in the context of evening concerts with traditional repertoire (that formula should definitely be renewed) was the performance of the Polish ensemble Cracow Duo. Cellist Jan Kalinowski and pianist Marek Szlezer, in addition to dedicating the first part to Chopin, presented the works of Alexander Tansman, a Polish composer of the 20th century, who, under the influence of Stravinsky, keeps the listener between tradition and modernity. And as for the performers, excellent musicians, with great expression and technical proficiency. Each of them with their own characteristic element of the game: Kalinowski with velvety sound and Szlezer with sharp and impulsive fingers. And what a great balance and mutual commitment between them.
Claudia Ramírez, Culto, 8 February 2020
The album, composed of concerts by four contemporary Polish composers, was recorded by Sinfonietta Cracovia (full official name: Orchestra of the Royal Capital City of Krakow) under the direction of Jurek Dybal; Marek Szlezer played the solos on the piano and Jan Kalinowski on the cello. In their performance, which is inspired and deeply artistic, we get a beautiful and lasting image of the high-quality contemporary music culture of the Polish nation, which is especially sympathetic to us.
Komlós József JR, keol.hu, 6 October 2019
At noon in the Collegium Novum Hall at the Jagiellonian University Cracow Duo or cellist Jan Kalinowski and pianist Marek Szlezer presented a varied program from Chopin's Introduction and Polonaise in C major through the atmospheric Berceuse of Władysław Żeleński, romantic Prelude op. 1 No. 1 by Szymanowski in the study of Grażyna Bacewicz, the great Sonata in A major by Żeleński's student - Zygmunt Stojowski - who spent most of his life across the ocean, on exile, and his work only in recent years thanks to The Festival of Polish Music among others is restored to our culture, to Farawell by Marcel Chyrzyński, a beautiful piece written especially for Cracow Duo, with clear Far Eastern inspirations. The duo from Krakow performed this interesting program with great knowledge and virtuoso flair.
Anna Woźniakowska, Polska Muza, 9 July 2018
It was a very individual interpretation, of great strength.
Von Gisela Schwarz, Kölner Stadtanzeiger, 27 June 2017
The grand finale in Konserthusteatern became a dazzling display of musical virtuosity. [...] Polish pianist Marek Szlezer proved that he is a brilliant pianist. His performance of the Chopin Polonaise in A flat major was marked by both the strength and the ease. His style was full of passion, which appeared even more clearly when he and the cellist Jan Kalinowski performed Astor Piazzolla's Grand Tango. It was a dazzling display of musicality and technical skills of both soloists.
Jane Betts, Blakinge Lans Tidning, August 2016
[...] The two outstanding instrumentalists from Cracow performed in the Casa de Fernández Blanco under the patronage of the Polish Embassy in Buenos Aires. [...] It was an evening illuminated by these two artists. Endowed with impeccable technique, rhythmic compatibility and beautiful phrasing they let us experience the cleverly chosen repertoire, composed with lightness. Jan Kalinowski has a velvety and rich sound that constantly dialogue with the piano, and Marek Szlezer understands it perfectly.
Francisco Troccoli, www.criticosmusicales.com, 7 May 2016
The concert has enchanted the audience thanks to the perfect playing of Jan Kalinowski and Marek Szlezer. [...] The universe, in which the piano and cello spoke to each other in perfect harmony. In this consistent dialogue emerged filigree virtuosity of both performers. Two friends had attracted attention with their executive experience and sensitivity to the content of the works they performed. Their extremely thoughtful musicianship and brilliant cooperation, focusing on each of the presented works made single one of them a moment of pleasure. […] Under their fingers the age-old music has came back to life, dabbed touching personality of genius. Waving sounds transformed into time became witnesses of a journey through the ages, from one epoch to another following a scheduled program, on the border of the worlds, in clean notes, transforming all the splendour of music in its beauty, suffering, and boisterousness. These feelings were only possible thanks to the genius of both of these artists.
Raouf Medelgi, Le Temps, 16 October 2014
I have to admit, that I had never heard something like that before, astonished with a discovery of expressivness of Shostakovitsch’s music, admiring Marek Szlezer and Jan Kalinowski I entered with them in a complicated world of Dmitrij Schostakovitsch.
Walentyna Żdanowicz BELARUS N5, May 2013
Each following composition – by Zygmunt Stojowski, Władysław Zeleński, Henryk Pachulski, Dezyderiusz Danczowski, Maurycy Moszkowski, Ludomir Rogowski and arrangement of Prelude op.1 n.1 of Karol Szymanowski done by Grażyna Bacewicz – was coming closer to the goal. The program composed of emotional contrasts, alternation between lyrical and energetic vivacity, was stunning in two ways. Rarely we may hear the music of composers which were mentioned above. The Cracow Duo’s effort was not only scoped on perfect, spectacular and above-average emotional execution of these selected compositions but, first and foremost, it was an enterprise taken to interpret the pieces which have no registration which could serve as a pattern to follow. Cracow Duo has taken in its absolute possession the public’s attention, living it in lack and with wild need for at least one little while more to spend with the ghosts from Szymanowski’s era.
Maria Peryt, fineLIFE, April 2012
Marek Szlezer and Jan Kalinowski duo has presented itself formidably. Both gentelmen had caused listeners to enter in the preternatural state of mind, allowing them to forget about time and space, transfering them into the land of wonderful sounds, deep cello tone with fascinating light and pure sound, outstanding „pianos”, in other words into the world of Music written with really majuscular M. Jan Kalinowski had masterfully harmonized himself with his instrument, emitting from it the sound of outstanding beauty and touching bloom, and very melodious repertory had widely shown the artists’ capabilities. Marek Szlezer, the pianist, was not even a step behind a cellist – incredibly flexible, soft passages of the accompagnament were creating a unique, glamorous aura. Arietta by Ludomir Rogowski had particularly caught my attention with its lyricism and finesse, perfectly presented by that duo.
Marzena Pikulska, Polska Muza, March 2012
Artists play beautifully, I think they have in common understanding of the music and share a vision of their art. Moreover they are excellent virtuosos of their instruments, phenomenal mutual fitting of the musicians impressed me with precision.
Beata Górecka-Młyńczak, Hi Fi i Muzyka, August 2011
[…] But it is a Sonata for piano and cello that allows better to appreciate both performers. In this mature oeuvre, that exposures cello the most, the two musicians are giving their maestry not in a service of loud demonstration of virtuosity but contrary using it to leave space for each other. It is the principal valor of this duo, because it is much easier to shine then to let to forget. Or better, Szlezer and Kalinowski are having a subtle respect for each other. It is an art of discrecy that besides a fact that it renders justice to Chopin intentions brings us an intelligent and reflective reading of that Sonata.
Bertrand Saint-Etienne, ResMusica, March 2011
[…] Jan Kalinowski and Marek Szlezer, friends since childhood, have a wonderfully natural rapport and there is an arresting quality to their playing that gives life to the music, even when its content is less than inspiring.
Janet Banks, The Strad, January 2010
[…] The final act of the evening was Frederic Chopin’s Sonata in G minor. The remarkably beautiful and surprisingly mature performance was delivered by two young musicians from Cracow, performing under the name of Cracow Duo: cellist Jan Kalinowski and pianist Marek Szlezer.
The rendition of the Sonata was not only technically superb, as its exceptional musicality and depth have brought out romantic melancholy and “eternal longing”, which were especially prominent in the second movement.
Marek Brzeźniak, Silesia No 61, April 2009
[…] Interpretation of Partita for cello and piano (1955) had full rights to be named an artistic creation. Tansman’s music, dense and full of dramatic expression has found its ideal performers in Jan Kalinowski and Marek Szlezer.
Anna Woźniakowska, Ruch Muzyczny, January 2008
[…] Marek Szlezer is performing oftenly with cellist Jan Kalinowski. Both gentlemen has already managed to present together quite a lot of fine artistic creations. During this concert [...] they have very accurately and clearly showed to public the composers ideas, without omitting an individual touch in their interpretation [...]
Maciej Jabłoński, Dziennik Polski, 12 May 2008
Cracow Duo, that is Jan Kalinowski cellist and Marek Szlezer pianist, assistant professors in Cracow Academy of Music, have played Sonatas by Ludomir Różycki, Karol Szymanowski (transcription of Violin Sonata) and Zygmunt Stojowski. I have made it in time to listen the Sonata in A major by Stojowski, composer that has turned out to be completely forgotten in our country. Young musicians are one of the few to reach for the polish music of XIX/XX century with a success, showing to all of us that we have really nothing to be ashamed of. The Sonata by Stojowski, well composed, interesting in its melodical and harmonical aspects, is moving for a listener and very demanding for both performers. It deserves to stay in our all to day concert repertory.
Jan Kalinowski and Marek Szlezer are two, completely different musical personalities that are outstandingly complementary. Rarely one can hear and observe such good cooperation onstage, such mutual understanding of a music performed. As an encore young artists have added also unknown to us, brilliant Fantaisie of Alexandre Tansman, and finished this beautiful evening with a touching interpretation of Largo from Chopin’s Cello Sonata op.65.
Anna Woźniakowska, Dziennik Polski, March 2007
The big event of a festival was a final concert by Cracow Duo, Jan Kalinowski (cello) and Marek Szlezer (piano).
Daniel Cichy, Ruch Muzyczny, July 2006
The Ministry of Culture, Dar Al-Assad for Culture and Arts, in cooperation with The Polish Embassy in Damascus, invited music lovers to a concert given by the Cracow Duo: Mr. Jan Kalinowski, Cello, and Mr. Marek Szlezer, Piano.
[…] The young artists concluded their fine concert by playing A. Piazzolla’s Le Grand Tango. This is a grand concert piece of great vitality, bravura emotional ebullience and of virtuosity. It made a great climax. The audience gave a high ovation. Roses were presented to the artists. Thus ended one of the finest concerts in this season […]
dr Sadek Pharaon, Syria Times, 12 April 2006
Sonata in G minor, that held has filled up the first part of the evening was a true eruption of virtuosity of two young artists - Jan Kalinowski and Marek Szlezer.
Virtuosos had fully completed and understood each other – Kalinowski seen as a subtle melodic player and Szlezer, more fascinated by the harmonical complexity.
Particularly the finale with its broad-flowing theme and large number of secondary melodic ideas was full of an incredible energy. In Trio elegiaque, those two outstanding virtuoso were joined by an as well talented Anna Majcherczyk – and again musicians had show us a mature chamber playing, not lacking of its juvenile enthusiasm. A very good concert, the great instrumentalists and an unforgettable evening.
Adrianna Ginał, Gazeta Krakowska, 4 April 2003