TADEUSZ DIXA (b.1983): Ouverture, ANDRZEJ DZIADEK (b.1957): …à la valse, PIOTR JĘDRZEJCZYK (b.1993): Music for Flute and String Orchestra, MAREK CZERNIEWICZ (b.1974): Moira for Brass Sextet and Orchestra, KAMIL CIEŚLIK (b.1991): Multimirrors for Piano and Orchestra, KRZYSZTOF OLCZAK (b.1956): Any Case…

Catalogue Number: 07Y055

Label: Dux

Reference: 1836

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: A considerable diversity of approachable, high-quality music seems to emanate from a substantial handful of composers currently working in Gdańsk, if this enjoyable series, now at vol.3 (the previous two are 05T074 and 09S071), is anything to judge by. As on the previous volumes, the pieces are all very tonal and avoid aggressively modern tendencies (with one partial exception on this latest disc). Dixa's Overture is typical of the energetic curtain raiser genre, energetic and enthusiastic, with syncopated rhythms, a sentimental central section and a hint of jazz. Dziadek's piece is an entertaining, somewhat tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Viennese waltz, sounding like an affectionate send-up of Ravel's La valse. Czerniewicz' Moira begins with a brief sonoristic thunderstorm by way of an introduction, but is soon revealed to be an impressive tone-poem based on a wonderfully expressive, sombre, lyrical Polish folksong, explored in the style of free variations. Dedicated to the memory of Czerniewicz' grandparents, the piece is clearly a depiction of the turbulent times through which they lived "a reflection on the past of [the composer’s] family and the historical conditions that influenced its fate". The theme raises its melancholy song above the chaos of the opening, first as a solo line, then joined in counterpoint and rich harmony, like a solemn ceremonial. An episode of troubled tranquility is abruptly dispelled by warlike fanfares, introducing a lively dance section which becomes driven and propulsive and is then swept aside by a titanic, rhythmically pounding climax. Out of the shattered calm that follows the folk theme rises defiantly, but becomes distorted and is subsumed into the returning distant thunder of the opening. Cieślik's Multimirrors is a large concertante work which explores unexpected harmonic combinations within a structure of thrillingly dynamic momentum. Built of repeated melodic gestures and sections presented forward and cancrizans, the piece is anchored throughout by a repetitive, obsessive, constant pulse maintained in various rhythmic subdivisions by the side drum. Unless you find Bolero, the first movement of Shostakovich 7 or the eyebrow- (and hair!) raising 4th symphony of Kalniņš last month intolerable, you should have no problem with this kind of ostinato-impulse driven propulsiveness. Sometimes, when the textures and piano-orchestra dynamic intersect with those of a "normal" 20th century piano concerto, Prokofiev is likely to come to mind, and fans of post-minimalism (to which this is only peripherally related) will likely find much to enjoy here. Olczak's Any Case sets the tormented poem by Wisława Szymborska, which characteristically explores traumatic experiences in conflict and war, in dramatic, fractured music to match the poem; sometimes tonal and propulsive or brokenly lyrical, at others in expressionistic violence, the voice stridently declaiming or whispering in shocked sprechstimme. The title of Jędrzejczyk's piece is intended as an ironic reference to the practice of mid-20th century composers of writing "music for …" (… an unspecified number of high-pitched instruments, etc.). The first part of the work borrows from the sonorism and fragmented atonality, extended techniques, aleatory and so on, of that time, with some highly active conventionally played sections emerging as the music progresses. This capricious and wayward cacophony climaxes, giving way to a hushed, ethereal concluding section in which the flute plays melodically against a backdrop of gently shifting planes of dissonant string texture. Symphony Orchestra of the Stanisław Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdansk; Sylwia Janiak-Kobylińska.


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