DANIEL SCHNYDER (b.1961): Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, MIKOŁAJ GÓRECKI (b.1971): Clarinet Sonata, OLIVIER MESSIAEN (1908-1992): Le merle noir for Flute and Piano.
Catalogue Number: 06W058
Description: This is a most attractive recital of first-rate music, and the apparently odd choice of programme actually makes perfect sense. It seems to be a rather long time since we last had a Daniel Schnyder recording, but as with the previous offerings (10N089 etc.), his lively, intricate and technically exuberant, virtuosically challenging brand of jazz for the concert hall remains utterly captivating and hugely enjoyable. The saxophone sonata also exists as a flute sonata, and you can hear the composer play that version on YouTube, but quite frankly, the saxophone incarnation sounds more authentic and is the better piece. The New York based composer begins with a rollickingly jazzy celebration of the city that not only never sleeps but as depicted here apparently never calms down, to judge by the roulades of scintillating jazz virtuosity and infectious syncopated vitality in evidence. The trippy, mysterious slow movement, with the wonderful title "A travers les ondes élastiques de l’atmosphère" combines elements of world music and blues with a kind of somnambulant Impressionism, while the finale À brasiliera explores syncopated Latin rhythms in Schnyder's answer to Le Bœuf sur le toit. Górecki fils is represented by the first recording of his substantial Clarinet Sonata, in three movements - slow-fast-slow. The first movement hints at some influence of Messiaen in extended static meditations over tolling accompanying figures, but it is in the central energetic scherzo that Messiaen's harmonies are explicitly referenced. However, the movement is primarily influenced by jazz, suggesting an incongruous (but hilarious) jazz transcription of one of Messiaen's ecstatic dance movements (Regard de l'esprit de joie etc.). The final movement is profoundly still and contemplative, and the composer finally comes clean about his indebtedness to Messiaen, as the homage to "Regard du Père" is unmistakable. Łukasz Długosz (flute), Andrzej Wojciechowski (clarinet), Szymon Zawodny (sax), Izabela Paszkiewicz (piano).