MARK NOWAKOWSKI (b.1978): String Quartets No. 1 “Songs of Forgiveness” and No. 2 “Grandfather Songs”, Blood, Forgotten for Violin and Electronics, Lullaby: O Sleep for me, sleep for String Quartet.

Catalogue Number: 06S088

Label: Naxos

Reference: 8.559821

Format: CD

Price: $11.98

Description: These deeply felt and personal works are the composer's response to the centuries of tribulations experienced by the Polish people, and their resilience in the face of every kind of hardship. All the pieces are dark-hued, unrelentingly intense and the very opposite of 'easy listening' - not on account of an arcane and forbidding musical vocabulary; very much the reverse as the works are firmly grounded in tonality, and folksong frequently inflects the music, but on account of the composer's skill in communicating the most wrenching emotions. The 1st Quartet examines themes of anger, grief, death and forgiveness. Elegiac, with furious outbursts like the bitterest Shostakovich scherzi, the work also incorporates a ghostly Polish folksong. The 2nd is a somber reminiscence of time passed, with superimposed recordings of voices, which the quartet finally envelops in a chorale accompaniment in an unexpectedly moving coup de théâtre. The piece is also a memorial to Górecki, who died while it was being written. Blood Forgotten is an electroacoustic piece based on recordings of a violin that was recovered from the death camps, multi-tracked to produce a quasi-orchestral climax. O sleep for me is a beautiful lullaby, sung in the darkness but imbued with hope for the dawn. Voxare String Quartet.


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