KRZYSZTOF MEYER (b.1943): Piano Quartet, Op. 112 (Oliver Triendl [piano]. Radosław Szulc [violin], Anna Kreeta Gribajcevic [viola], Jakob Spahn [cello]), String Quartet No. 14, Op. 122 (Wieniawski String Quartet), Quintet for 4 Saxophones and Piano, Op. 107 (notabu.ensemble neue musik).
Catalogue Number: 01T052
Description: These recent chamber works show the septuagenarian composer going from strength to strength in his fully developed mature style, a slightly astringent yet full-blooded extended tonality. Even those who have thrilled to his substantial opus of chamber works, centered on his previous thirteen string quartets (e.g. 01R061, 08R071, 10P069, 01O069, 01N066 et al) will find new things to surprise and delight here. The Piano Quartet is a robust, highly dramatic work in a single span, consisting of contrasting episodes with an arresting fanfare-like motif heard at the outset serving as a kind of punctuating refrain. By this stage in his output, Meyer no longer 'sounds like' Shostakovich, having fully established his own personal harmonic idiom, though the inheritance of dramatic dynamism and pungent emotional argument is still unmistakably present. The three-movement quartet from 2014 is a calmer, more cerebral work, the homogeneity of the ensemble exploited in densely woven, intricate counterpoint. The composer's flair for drama shows in the sudden intrusion of unison textures, generating the work's powerful climax in the third movement, following the withdrawn, intimate and atmospheric first and sombre, dirge-like second. The extraordinary Quintet treats the saxophone ensemble, as appropriate to the musical content, as a close-knit ensemble of solo voices, or an organ, or, of all things, a percussion group in the skittering scherzo-like second movement with its characteristically Meyerian marking 'inquieto'. The piano assumes a concertante rôle throughout the work, the saxophones providing a richly textured accompaniment, until the large, multifaceted finale, almost as long as the other three movements together, which gradually reveals the Bach chorale "Alle Menschen müssen sterben (All mankind must die)", the piano now providing an accomplishment of gently tolling bells.