Schubert sonatas

Newest Releases

Piano solo and duet
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Buy through MusicWeb for £13.50 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button


Romuald TWARDOWSKI (b. 1930)
Exegi monumentum
(2009) [25.49] (1)
Three Frescoes for Orchestra (1986) [14.40] (2)
Ioannes Rex (1983) [20.32] (3)
Anna Mikoljczyk-Niewiedzial (soprano) (1); Jarosslaw Brek (bass) (1); Andrzeu Hiolski (baritone) (3); International University Choir, International Symphony Orchestra/Marcin Nalecz-Niesiolowski (1); Festival Symphony Orchestra, Odessa/Boris Rosenfeld (2); Zielona Gora Philharmonic Orchestra/Szymon Kawalla
rec. Poznan, 20 June 2009 (1); Odessa, 18 May 2001 (2); Zielona Gora, 25-26 June 1982 (3)

Experience Classicsonline

I am rather puzzled about the lack of exposure that Romuald Twardowski’s music has in the UK. Twardowski trained in Vilnius and Warsaw before continuing studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He returned to Poland in the late 1960s and has been based there ever since. The Polish label Acte Préalable has a continuing series of CDs of Twardowski’s music and this one contains three substantial works. The most recent on the disc, Exegi monumentum, dates from 2009 and the other two are from the 1980s. The disc thus gives a good overview of Twardowski’s fairly recent orchestral/choral activity.
Exegi monumentum sets a Latin text by Quintus Horatius Flaccus. The text starts with ‘I have raised a monument, more durable than bronze’ and in it Flaccus rather praises himself for his poetry which will outlive him and provide everlasting fame. Twardowski sets the work for chorus and orchestra with roles for solo bass and solo soprano. The musical language has an austere grandeur whose neo-classicism reminds me a bit of Stravinsky. Other musical echoes include the Vaughan Williams of Dona Nobis Pacem. But Twardowski also introduces his own personal language including a shimmering aleatoric background to the fifth movement of Exegi monumentum, though it is actually based on a tonal ground. He also has a nice ear for orchestra and choral colour, and introduces unexpected elements such as the use of tom-toms.
The piece opens with in wonderfully massive, almost rugged style for chorus and orchestra. The choral writing is often homophonic which adds to the movement’s substantial feel. This is followed by a solo for the bass, Jaroslaw Brek. Brek’s voice is recorded rather closely, but he brings an austere beauty to the table. The following choral contribution is the one where I found echoes of RVW’s Dona Nobis Pacem, but with a language which is harder and tougher. The soprano’s lyrical solo follows, admirably sung by Anna Mikolajczyk-Niewiedzial. All the forces then come together for the radiant conclusion.
This is an impressive work. Not loveable perhaps, but one which captures the monumental grandeur of Flaccus’s verses. The recording was made live at the work’s premiere in Poznan in June 2009, so there are occasional slips in the orchestra and the sound is not ideal. But the performance was a wonderful immediacy and a vibrancy that comes from hearing the live premiere, admirably conducted by Marcin Nalecz-Niesiolowski.
Twardowski’s Three Frescoes for Orchestra date from 1986 and this recording was made live in Odessa in 2001. The work reflects Twardowski’s interest in the Eastern Orthodox Church; though a Roman Catholic he has written a substantial body of choral music for the Orthodox Church. Here, each movement reflects a fresco in an Orthodox Church. The first movement, Christos Pantokrator on Mount Athos, is hieratically written, reflecting the features of the Greek church, with different groups of instruments either further forward or in the background. The result celebrates stillness, but in a highly dramatic manner. In the second movement, Holy Trinity According to Rublov, bells dominate, along with separate choirs of wind and of strings. Finally The Prophet Elijah on the Chariot of Fire is full of the whirling of fire images and makes a suitably dramatic end. The Festival Symphony Orchestra in Odessa, under Boris Rosenfeld makes a good stab at the work. Like the Exegi monumentum the vibrancy of the live performance generally makes up for the slips. It would be nice to think that this disc would give someone the idea of doing a studio recording of this fascinating work.
The final work on the disc is another choral/orchestra setting of a Latin text, but this time the text was written in 1983. Rex Ioannes celebrates the victory of King John Sobieski and was written to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the victory. The text was written by Latin scholar Jan Wecowski. The result is a highly dramatic piece for choir, orchestra with baritone solo. Like Exegi monumentum the spirits of RVW and Stravinsky hover over the piece along with the Orff of his later, tougher pieces; in fact the sound-world and harmony of the work have a hard and robust quality which reflects the dramatic subject matter. The choir has its off moments, but again the piece was recorded live at the work’s premiere.
The CD booklet contains the texts, in Latin, English and Polish, along with information about Twardowski and the music. This is in rather unidiomatic English.
The disc presents a varied trio of Twardowski’s works and enables the interested listener to explore his sound-world. None of the three recordings are quite ideal, but the two choral works are presented in recordings of their premieres and this imparts a vibrancy and edge to the performances. Highly recommended for anyone interested in exploring dramatically interesting late 20th century tonal music.
Robert Hugill

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.