> Kilar, Maleci, Ingman Soundtracks [GH]: Classical CD Reviews- Aug 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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SOUNDTRACKS by Wojciech KILAR, Maclej MALECI and Nicholas INGMAN

Wojciech KILAR (b.1932)

Shadow Line
Shadow Song
Catamount Concerto
Dawn to Destiny
The Seed
Master Plan
Dawn over Manderley

Maclej MALECKI (b.1940)

Water Mountain
Warsaw Reverie

Nicholas INGMAN

Rosebud, An Elegy for Citizen Kane

Studio Orchestra/Jiri Hudec
Rec. Not stated
CAMPION RRCD 1303 [59.39]

This disc of unknown 20th century works has been available since 1988 but has yet to feature in the main record catalogue. It provides an interesting selection of easy listening pieces taken from soundtracks of Polish films that rarely reach an international audience. The majority of the Kilar pieces come direct from analogue film soundtracks while the Malecki and Ingman pieces are studio recorded digitally in this premiere recording.

Wojciech Kilar was born at Lwow, Poland in 1932 and completed his studies in composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. As a composer, Kilar is already known through five of his orchestral works and twenty-three film scores already available on CD (under the Milan (BMG) and Olympia (Priory) labels). This recording features different film themes from those recorded elsewhere. Kilar, incidentally, received awards from the Polish Ministry of Culture in 1967 and 1975 in recognition of his excellence in this field. This disc contains some of his most haunting and dramatic film themes, including Shadow Line and the Catamount Concerto, which he composed for the West German film, Catamount Killing.

A characteristic of Kilarís Shadow music is that he uses straight-forward themes played concerto style, first by solo piano and then echoed by light string accompaniment. Laraís theme from Doctor Zhivago comes to mind both in mood and timbre. Part 3 of the Catamount Concerto with its arresting percussion and prominent synthesiser is strikingly different, until it moves into a gentle theme that has a strong connection with Kilarís previous Shadow pieces. Orchestration is not complex as one might expect with film music. The strings often play in unison, and there is not a lot of woodwind/brass colour or decoration.

Maciej Malecki, born in Warsaw (1940), studied music at the Conservatoire of Warsaw and the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, U.S.A. He turned from writing popular song to incidental music and has scored musicals, operas, plays and TV films in addition to writing chamber music. Water Mountain (1976) was originally written for a Polish TV serial The Madness of Majk a Skowron, yet this film music stands as a complete composition in its own right and is now performed in orchestral concerts. The disc provides the first recording of this composer to appear in the catalogue.

One is immediately aware of Maleckiís fluency in composition. His scores are more complex than Kilarís and he has a good command of orchestration to produce impact with the elegant harmonies. A sort of Hollywood feel to the flowing themes is understandable when one considers his Rochester, USA period of study. Interesting woodwind filigree adds brightness to the Water Mountain piece and horns are used well to provide good texture as well as hold the main subject. When we get to Maleckiís Warsaw Reverie, parts one and three, I find the style is very much like that of Kilarís, with the focus again provided by the piano.

Nicholas Ingman, an English composer and musical director, composed Rosebud in homage to Orson Welles' classic masterpiece, Citizen Kane. The last word murmured by Kane as he died in the film amid immense wealth, splendour and loneliness was "Rosebud". The mystery surrounding its meaning is unravelled by the film. With this word uppermost in his mind as he died, it was not the name of some much loved person or priceless treasure, but that of a sledge, taken from him as a child. It is on this theme of secret frustration (about a man who had everything, and nothing) that Nicholas Ingman created this composition. His style, with piano firmly in focus, is on a similar wavelength to Kilar, but this time the strings provide a darker mood in minor key. The gentle rocking rhythm of Rosebud is quite like Satieís Gymnopédie No.1.

The studio recording of Maleckiís Water Mountain is impressive under Hudecís command and the Polish film soundtracks have transferred well. Jiri Hudec is known for his recording of Slovak orchestral works, also under the Campion label. This CD makes good use of index points in addition to track numbers to identify individual themes midway through a track. Since CDs were designed for this indexing option I often wonder why the feature is not more widely used when it offers additional cueing. The notes in English, French and German are brief, yet appropriate.

Raymond Walker


DI Music, 1st/2nd Floors, 7 High Street, Cheadle SK8 1AX
email: dimus@aol.com

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