KRZYSZTOF MEYER (b.1943): Concerti da camera for Flute, Percussion and Strings, Op. 6 and for Oboe, Percussion and Strings, Op. 29, Trumpet Concerto, Op. 35 (Barbara Światek (flute), Diethelm Jonas (oboe), Stanisław Dziewior (trumpet), National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice; Antoni Wit (op. 6), Ruben Silva (op. 29), Michał Klauza (op. 35)), Fireballs, Op. 37 (Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra; Karol Stryja).
Catalogue Number: 12R046
Description: These are early works, having little in common with the older composer's much more tonal, Shostakovich-influenced style. But they are powerful and original - perhaps even more so than the later, more obviously accessible works. The flute concerto is an odd, but unexpectedly convincing amalgam of the prevailing Polish sonorism of the time in the orchestra (Meyer had just finished studying with Penderecki after all) and a more linear, melodic, traditionally played solo part. The introduction and final episode (the piece is in five distinct sections) are full of ominous sonoristic textures against which the flute spins an eloquent cantilena, but the centre of the work is largely given over to the soloist, with a spare percussion accompaniment of great clarity and, for a while at least distinctly rhythmic effect. The oboe concerto follows a similar scheme, with extended solo passages with economical accompaniment, but the instrumental timbres are more experimental, with greater use of extended techniques within the ensemble. There is less emphasis on the dense textures and cluster effects of sonorism (which is restricted to climaxes of limited duration rather than informing the overall idiom of the piece, and in general the strands of ensemble material are more open and there is some use of aleatoric flexibility of co-ordination between parts, suggesting an early point of contact with Lutosławski. The trumpet concerto offers an even more extreme contrast between relatively traditional solo writing and massed sonoristic sound effects than the flute concerto. It was written for Timofei Dokshitser, who didn't 'do' avant garde, so the solo part is an extravagantly virtuosic display of largely conventional techniques while the orchestration - much more full-textured here than in the previous concertante works - is full of dense sonorous textures. Even here, though, Meyer puts his personal stamp on the idiom; as the work progresses it becomes less atonal, with one odd polystylistic intrusion that sounds suspiciously like a slow jazz shuffle, another that seems to reference Shostakovich, and some unexpectedly lyrical moments in the final movement that contrast with the generally strident tone of the piece. Fireballs (1976) marks a shift away from Sonorism, with its scurrying string toccata and Panufnik-like fanfares. There are slowly evolving cluster chords in the slow sections but the exhilaratingly energetic outer episodes that seem to have more to do with the title are markedly less atonal and texture-based, though the final dissonant crescendo is exactly that, sounding like a defiant farewell to an idiom the composer was soon to abandon.