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CD: Crotchet


Krzysztof MEYER (b.1943)
Cello Concerto No.2, op.85 (1994/1995) [27:54]
Violin Concerto No.2, op.87 (1996) [30:49]
Clarinet Concerto, op.96 (2001/2002) [20:57]
Boris Pergamenshikov (cello)
Magdalena Rezler (violin)
Eduard Brunner (clarinet)
National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice/Antoni Wit (op.85); Gabriel Chmura (opp.87, 96)
rec. 19 February 1998 (op.85), 15 May 2002 (op.87), 3 June 2003 (op.96), Polish Radio Studio in Katowice, Poland. DDD
DUX 0594 [79:42]
Experience Classicsonline

Here are three very fine contemporary concertos.
Krzysztof Meyer studied with Krzysztof Penderecki and Nadia Boulanger. In his early works, the first four string quartets and first three symphonies, he experimented with the sounds which we associate with the Polish avant-garde of the 1960s. Subsequent works have shown an interest in tradition. His output is large and varied – including the first book, in Polish, on Shostakovich. These three concertos are the merest tip of the compositional iceberg and make a good introduction to the composer.
The Cello Concerto No. 2, despite many moments of seriousness is quite a light-hearted work. In four movements, the first is little more than an introduction to the whole piece, with some colourful bells, and a long-breathed theme for the soloist. A furious allegro ensues, full of filigree work for the soloist accompanied by percussion, interspersed with outbursts for the orchestra, which grow increasingly more angular. The third movement is a lament, with a ghostly, faster, middle section. The finale is quick and spiky with a cadenza coming just before the very fast final bars. There are occasional flashes of the 1960s Polish avant-garde but they seem more long distance recollections rather than any kind of homage. Meyer exploits the full range of the instrument in both fast and slow music.
The Violin Concerto No. 2 begins slowly and there’s much atmosphere and a sense of foreboding. At the start the music is lyrical and dissonant, restrained, but it grows in intensity to a passionate climax, the whole falling away to the music of the opening. A violent scherzo follows without a break. It’s fast and furious and never gives up until its abrupt conclusion. The third, slow, movement is a dirge over a sustained bass, but it never becomes depressing. There’s always something going on which catches the attention and keeps the interest. The finale is fast and culminates in a cadenza and quick coda.
The Clarinet Concerto starts with a cadenza. The orchestra quietly slips in behind the soloist then the action starts, but it’s stopped quite quickly. The second movement is short and angular. Fast music leads into the slow third movement, brooding and dark, full of intensity, then the rhythmic finale. This music is more angular than the two string concertos, and it’s much shorter, but no less demanding.
All three works are brilliantly scored, full of tunes and are very satisfying to listen to. The tunes might not seem memorable at first but please do persevere with them, you’ll find, and enjoy, them.
I am sure that the performances are very committed – they certainly sound it – and most persuasive. It’s a fine disk by any standards. The sound is full and the balance between soloist and orchestra is very good, with a good perspective all round. The notes are good too.
This is well worth investigating.
Bob Briggs


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