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Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
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MusicWeb Webmaster
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MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

CD: Crotchet

Mikolaj PALOSZ
Impro 1: intro drum (2007) [0:48]
Impro 2: Whistle chase (2007) [1:04]
Pawel SZYMANSKI (b.1954)
A Kaleidoscope for M.C.E. (1989) [8 :23]
Mikolaj PALOSZ
Impro 3: the A dance (2007) [1:36]
Elliott CARTER (b.1908)
Figment (1994) [5:42]
Mikolaj PALOSZ
Impro 4: pidzz (2007) [1:17]
Elliott CARTER
Figment II [3:29]
Mikolaj PALOSZ
Impro 5: shallow breath (2007) [1:57]
Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994)
Sacher Variation (1975) [3:27]
Henri DUTILLEUX (b.1916)
3 Strophes sur le nom de Sacher (1738) [3:06 + 2:23 + 2:49]
Mikolaj PALOSZ
Impro 6: moon umbrella (2007) [1:16]
James DILLON (b.1950)
Parjanya Vata (1981) [11:38]
Mikolaj PALOSZ
Impro 7: twister song (2007) [1:19]
Mikolaj PALOSZ
Impro 8: bounce phase (2007) [1:00]
Iannis XENAKIS (1922-2001)
Kottos (1977) [9:23]
Mikolaj PALOSZ

Impro 9: conclusion (2007) [0:04]
Mikolaj Palosz (cello)
rec. October-November 2007, Polish Radio S-1 Studio, Warsaw. DDD
DUX 0628 [60:40]

Experience Classicsonline

This disc of contemporary repertoire for cello intersperses composed works with short improvisations. Each of these focuses on a particular type of sound from the instrument. For example, the first features purely percussive sounds, using the instrument as a drum, while the second offers short glissandi. These improvisations provide an insight into different aspects of the contemporary cello, as well as giving us an idea of Palosz’s approach to his instrument.

Pawel Szymanski’s A Kaleidoscope for M.C.E. is a rhythmically driven work, with repeating fragments and some strong syncopation. The music is written in a modern language, but plays with Baroque forms and ideas, possessing a sense of underlying tradition. The music takes on its own momentum, building and developing gradually through its virtuoso lines. The M.C.E. of the title refers to Escher, and the music pays tribute to his optical illusions. This is an uncompromising and highly impressive work, played with the utmost conviction by Mikolaj Palosz.

Palosz’s tone quality comes to the fore in Carter’s Figment, built from an opening three note fragment and using three main motivic elements. Figment II, subtitled Rembemering Mr Ives is a homage to Charles Ives, quoting the Concorde Sonata and providing references to American folk-music and hymn tunes. Palosz plays expressively, communicating well and providing a sense of clarity to the music.

Both Lutosławski and Dutilleux wrote pieces in tribute to Paul Sacher, commissioned by Rostropovich, and they are heard consecutively here. Both pieces use the name to provide pitches - Eb (eS), A, C, B(H), E and D (Re). Lutosławski’s work makes widespread use of quarter tones, while the Dutilleux’s is a tripartite work with an improvisatory feel. The unity of the pitched material creates an interesting link between these two works, highlighting the differences in the composers’ styles.

James Dillon is known both for the complexity of his music and for its non-European influences. Parjanya Vata takes its title from Sankrit characterisations of wind and rain. There is much contained within this eleven and a half minute work. It is the kind of piece that probably requires multiple hearings to enable the listener to delve fully into Dillon’s compositional world. This is a tour-de-force for the performer, and once again Palosz provides dramatic expression and conveys the gestures in the music with vigour.

Xenakis’s Kottos is another challenging work, composed in 1977 and using a vast array of sounds, techniques and textures. This is a fascinating piece which challenges the player and demonstrates the wide spectrum of the cello’s sonorities. Dramatic and energetic, the piece deals with a depiction of ‘one of the most feared creatures in the ancient world’, and has a sense of dark foreboding. It is consistently fascinating, with some wonderful sounds and an unrelenting sense of direction through the piece.

This is an excellent disc that showcases not only the cello but this very fine performer.

Carla Rees 



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