KRZYSZTOF MEYER (b.1943): Concerto for Guitar, Timpani and Strings, Op. 115, MIKOLAJ GÓRECKI (b.1971): Arioso and Furioso for Guitar, String Orchestra and Percussion, KRZYSTOF PENDERECKI (b.1933): Viola Concerto (arr. guitar Piotr Przedbora).
Catalogue Number: 09V056
Description: Penderecki's Viola Concerto, incongruously commissioned by the Venezuelan government for the bicentenary of Simón Bolívar, originally bore the working title 'Elegy', and this is the predominant mood of the piece, in Penderecki's richly neo-Romantic style that he adopted in his post-1980 works, largely abandoning his avant-garde sonorist idiom. It works very well in the soloist’s expert, composer-approved transcription (Penderecki has previously sanctioned versions for clarinet and for cello), the guitar having an appropriately woody tone, and register. In passages where the soloist is in contrapuntal dialogue with the orchestral strings, the differentiation in attack is very effective. The single span work alternates slow and fast sections, the former brooding and dark, the latter monumental and combative, pitting the agile soloist against the weight of the orchestra. Meyer's five-movement concerto is tough and tautly argued, in the extended tonal idiom that he adopted after a middle period when he turned away from modernism in works that bore, for a time, a notable indebtedness to Shostakovich. The first movement is decisive, thrusting forward with muscular momentum; the second is a doleful lament; a brief, nervous scherzo follows. The timpani maintain a prominent supporting role until the 4th movement, in which they come into their own in a dual cadenza with thematic material shared between guitar and kettledrums, latterly accompanied by slow background chords from the orchestra. The finale begins with an air of determination, enthusiastically energetic; this gives way to a somber central section with pensive guitar solos, then after a couple of false starts the orchestra rekindles the movement’s initial energy just in time for a 'big finish'. Górecki flirts with popular ballad melody, though with an accompaniment of sadly chiming bells, in his Arioso; Furioso is a propulsive, scampering chase out of an imaginary film scene. Piotr Przedbora (guitar), Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra; Maciej Tworek, Krzysztof Penderecki, Dawid Runtz.