PAWEŁ ŁUKOWIEC (b.1973): Anamorphosis 2 for Piano and String Orchestra (Camerata Scholarum; Wojciech Zdyb), Solo Piano: Soldiers’ March, Cat’s Sleep Behind a Stove, Dance of Marionettes, Impressions I-III,Passimofon, Mezzo-Soprano and Piano: Ave Maria, So Little Of You, Breviary IV, Pieta.

Catalogue Number: 06W065

Label: Dux

Reference: 1661

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: This rather curious "composer portrait" showcases a composer of some range, and ready accessibility across the spectrum. Rather much of the CD is given over to his piano works of didactic intent, for young pianists; these are skillfully and appropriately written for children, and there is certainly a good deal to be said for providing "real" music for relative beginners, but outside that context the pieces have little relevance. The Impressions are more musically sophisticated, and require greater musical understanding, and at a pinch could have a place in a concert recital, provided that something more substantial was also included. The second is a rather nice exercise in appreciating how to play Impressionist piano music, and all three are built on repeating rhythmic motifs. All the pieces are, of course, thoroughly tonal. The songs reveal a thoroughly neo-romantic composer in his element, and are vocally very beautiful, with lush, warmly expressive piano accompaniments. The Ave Maria bears a slightly disconcerting resemblance to another, very well-known setting, though Łukowiec's accompaniment is more florid. The other three songs are very fine, on religious subjects (no texts or translations for the first two, unfortunately; the third is a flowing, devotional vocalise. The solo piano Anamorphosis I could be by a different composer (arguably a more original one), and juxtaposes a series of modern idioms, requiring considerable stylistic alacrity and some virtuosity; mostly tonally based, it incorporates some clashing dissonance and sonoristic effects. An entire disc of pieces like the quarter-hour Anamorphosis II would be welcome, if this is at all typical of the majority of the composer's output. The outer sections with their sustained string chords and piano embellishments (with a few shatteringly violent interjections) have something in common with Baltic "spiritual minimalism" and "new simplicity", while a lively scherzo-like central episode is tonal and somewhat reminiscent of Prokofiev or Shostakovich. No texts. Marek Mizera (piano), Urszula Kryger (mezzo).


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