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Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b. 1933) Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra (1967) [12:52]; De Natura Sonoris No. 2 (1971) [7:13];
Piano Concerto ďResurrectionĒ (2001/2002) [32:59]
(violin), Beata Bilinska (piano)
The National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice/Krzysztof
rec. December 2005 and September 2006, Grzegorz Fitelberg Concert
Hall, Katowice. DDD DUX 0582 [53:18]
music has always excited me, and this recording was no disappointment.
Starting with the Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra,
we are transported into a soundworld of drama, dissonance and
an excellent understanding of balance. Piekutowskaís violin
playing here is full of character, aggression, emotion and
beauty of expression as the music demands it, with an obvious
understanding of the style. As a violinist himself, the composer
is well aware of the capabilities of the instrument, and the
technical virtuosity so impressively displayed here cannot
go unmentioned. The orchestra supports with gusto and passion,
with the percussion and brass playing particularly notable
in its strength. The composer deploys orchestral colours to
full effect, making use of instrumental groups in isolation
and challenging our ideas of a traditional orchestral sound.
Always convincing, this is music that speaks its own language.
Natura Sonoris No 2 is
an astonishing piece. Full of ethereal sounds, this is reminiscent
of the sort of music one would expect to hear in a horror
movie. The way Penderecki creates the sounds of nature through
a standard symphony orchestra is highly atmospheric and convincing Ė and
completely captivating. Layer upon layer of rich trills build
up [3:17] to create a tapestry of insects, crawling over
their prey. Blasts from the brass section in Pendereckiís
distinct harmonic language take over, resembling the oncoming
of elephants, although the bell suggests the approach of
a train. A resounding thud, and then silence. A crash? The
sounds continue into the distance, passing by and restoring
the equilibrium. The liner notes suggest that this is a study
in movement in music, and this seven minute work is full
of direction. Each sound makes the listener experience something
new, constantly evolving and often surprising. Despite its
abstract meaning, one cannot help but impose a personal story-line
onto this short work. It fuels the imagination. Composed
for the Juilliard School in 1971, this is a real gem in the
its military style opening, the Piano Concerto could
initially be mistaken perhaps for something composed by one
of Pendereckiís Russian counterparts, maybe even Prokofiev
or Shostakovich. However, within just a few seconds, Pendereckiís
distinctive three note motif is ever-present - it also features
prominently in the flute concerto of 1992 - giving an obvious
sense of the composerís style. This work is in many ways different
from the other two in this disc. More melodic, with distinctive
rhythmic drive, the composerís late style is much developed
from the earlier works presented here. Although Penderecki
has taken steps towards a more tonally centred style, the writing
is mature and structurally clear. Within the context of September
11th (this work was composed in 2001-2), the title, Resurrection deals
with manís need to start afresh and to make new beginnings.
The slower sections have an emotional depth which gives the
impression of the composer wearing his heart on his sleeve,
maybe even traced with a sense of nostalgia. These fleeting
moments are replaced with the driving rhythmic energy of the
opening, the performers handling the swift changes of pace
and mood more than capably. There is a constant sense of unfolding
development and under the direction of the composer himself,
one would expect this to be fairly close to a definitive performance.
The piano playing is clear, controlled and technically impressive.
The part makes use mostly of the instrumentís percussive qualities,
although there are also moments of melodic beauty. Bilinska
plays with a kaleidoscope of colours and emotions. This is
an exciting performance, which is thoroughly gripping from
the very beginning to its exhilarating end.
is an excellent recording, which would serve as a good introduction
to Pendereckiís works.
playing is of a consistently high standard and the music contained
on the disc is thoroughly engaging.
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