Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW

RECORDING OF THE MONTH




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Downloads from the Classical Shop

Witold LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994)
Silesian Triptych (1951) [9:28]
Lacrimosa (1937) [4:07]
Paroles Tissées (1965) [16:22]
Sleep, sleep (1954 [2:04]
Les Espaces du Sommeil (1975) [15 :11]
Chantefleurs et Chantefables (1990) [19:48]
Lucy Crowe (soprano); Toby Spence (tenor); Christopher Purves (baritone)
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Edward Gardner
rec. 23-31 March 2011, BBC Studio 1, Maida Vale, London
Sung texts with English translation provided
CHANDOS CHAN10688 [67:40]

Experience Classicsonline




At the end of 2010 I nominated the first volume in this series as my Record of the Month. If anything, this one is even finer.

The earliest work in this collection of vocal music is the Lacrimosa from 1937. This student work, so we learn from Adrian Thomas’s exemplary notes, was originally part of an unfinished Requiem setting, and is Lutoslawski’s only sacred piece. For solo soprano and orchestra, it sounds nothing like the mature composer, its harmonic vocabulary scarcely more advanced than that of the Requiem of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and I make no comment on the relative merits of each work when I say that they share a certain similarity of atmosphere. The performance is stunning, Lucy Crowe negotiating the high-lying phrases with radiant ease. This piece was new to me and I’ve returned to it many times, always with increasing pleasure.

Silesian Triptych is, in effect, a set of three folk song arrangements, and the advance in musical language is evident from the very first notes. It was with works such as this that Lutoslawski weathered the storm of political interference, creating something fresh, beautiful and moving whilst respecting the authorities’ demands that music be easily accessible to “the broad mass of the people”. The three Silesian folk songs deal with different aspects of love. The first and last are last are lively, whereas the middle one is a gentle lament for love lost, and closes with a touchingly tender, wordless passage from the singer. The melodies themselves are attractive, and the composer’s treatment of them, in particular the highly colourful and inventive orchestration, makes for a delightful work that, once again, positively invites the listener to return to it. Lucy Crowe is magnificent once again, as she also is in the touching miniature “Sleep, sleep”, from Four Children’s Songs of 1954.

By 1965, when Lutoslawski composed Paroles Tissées for Peter Pears, Polish artists had been granted to the right to greater freedom of expression. The sudden and violent turn towards modernism and experimentation that resulted can be perplexing. Jean-Francois Chabrun (1920-1997) was active politically and socially throughout his life, but it would be difficult to argue that his poetic work Quatre Tapisseries pour la Châtelaine de Vergi – Lutoslawski adopted the shortened title, Paroles Tissées (“Woven Words”) at his suggestion – is easily accessible to “the broad mass of the people”. The oppressive, tortured theme is more obscured than expressed by repeated phrases and disjointed, apparently unrelated images. The vocal line is very varied, much of it close to recitative in style, with a distinct move away from the extended melodic writing to be heard in the earlier works. The accompaniment, for strings, harp, piano and percussion, features passages of that controlled improvisation that became an important part of the composer’s later style, and which emphasises, rather than limits, the range of the composer’s remarkably fecund aural imagination. That feature is also in evidence in Les Espaces du Sommeil, originally written for Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and recorded by him on Philips with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the composer. The text, by Robert Desnos, deals with love, night and dreams. They come together in a text which is not dissimilar in manner to that of Chabrun, and which, for all its undeniable sincerity, seems dated now. Lutoslawski’s music has, however, guaranteed its immortality. The nocturnal sounds he conjures up from the orchestra, often with minimal means, are ravishing. There is no word painting as such – the cockerel features, for example, as he also does in Paroles Tissées, but you won’t hear him crowing in the orchestra – but the composer’s way with the word “sleep” as the work nears its close is wonderfully imaginative and inventive, and at the last, deeply affecting, both in the long slow vocalise to which he sets the word, and in the soft, caressing orchestral textures that support it. Toby Spence is the soloist in Paroles Tissées, and Christopher Purves in Les Espaces du Sommeil. Both works are monstrously difficult for the singer, and each one acquits himself remarkably well. Toby Spence has the requisite power, and a striking baritone range when necessary, and his performance of a work perhaps even more difficult than the other to put over strikes me as totally successful. Christopher Purves too, gives a most eloquent and touching reading of what is surely a twentieth-century masterpiece. Only direct comparison with Fischer-Dieskau reveals a little more fantasy and a marginally wider range of vocal colour in the older singer’s reading. The composer, too, whips up a rather more frenzied climax than we get here.

Lucy Crowe returns for the final work on the disc, Chantefleurs et Chantefables. Desnos is once again the poet in these nine short songs dealing with flowers and animals. The words, sophisticated though they be, might be thought of as appealing to children, and I’d like to think that the music would too. It’s certainly highly colourful, with Lutoslawski’s total mastery of the symphony orchestra once again in evidence. An alligator and a tortoise feature, both of which leave the composer plenty of scope for characterisation. But the flower poems stimulate his imagination too, and the final song is an astonishing aural evocation of no fewer than three hundred million butterflies.

No praise is too high for the contribution of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Edward Gardner, and the recording is well up to the usual Chandos standard. Those already convinced by Lutoslawski will need no encouragement, and for everyone else I endorse this disc with all possible enthusiasm.

William Hedley

See also review by Dominy Clements


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

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

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

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






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.