Works for Flute by 20th Century Wrocław Composers
Jacek ROGALA (b.1966)
* Litoral, for flute and piano [10:34]
Leszek WISŁOCKI (b.1931)
+ 10 Preludes, for flute and piano [16:37]
Grażyna PSTROKOŃSKA-NAWRATIL (b.1947)
Eco, for flute and electronics [13:19]
Jadwiga SZAJNA-LEWANDOWSKA (1912-1994)
Sonatina, for flute and piano [7:00]
Joachim Georg GÖRLICH (1931-2009)
# Zwölftoneindrücke, for flute and piano, op.9 [5:24]
Mirosław GĄSIENIEC (b.1954)
Capriccio, for flute and piano [3:51]
Spanish Dance, for flute and piano [2:34]
Grzegorz Olkiewicz (flute)
Mirosław Gąsieniec (piano); *Teresa Worońko (piano); +Maria Szwajger-Kułakowska
(piano); #Andrzej Jungiewicz (piano)
rec. Wrocław, 1992-93. DDD
DUX 0826 [59:19]
As the title makes clear, the composers on this CD, more or less unknown outside
Poland, have a common connection with the city of Wrocław, where Katowice-born
flute virtuoso Grzegorz Olkiewicz (b.1959) made these recordings for Polish
Radio nearly twenty years ago. Olkiewicz's old-school website
lists a substantial discography that includes several cassette tapes - a term
the Oxford English Dictionary last year declared defunct! - but this appears
to be the first time these recordings have been made available in any medium.
Jacek Rogala's Litoral is probably not the wisest choice for opening
the programme, as it is quite different from the other, more diatonically-oriented
works, being fairly avant-garde in some of its techniques, sounds and structure,
and thus least likely to inspire the casual browser to continue perusal. That
said, it is an investigation into articulation and sonority of considerable
interest, with Grzegorz Olkiewicz extracting some amazing sounds from the flute.
The two short pieces by Mirosław Gąsieniec will have the widest appeal,
the Capriccio as rhythmically playful as the Spanish Dance is
ethnically colourful. Gąsieniec plays the piano in his own works and also
in Jadwiga Szajna-Lewandowska's will-o'-the-wispy neo-Classical Sonatina.
Joachim Görlich's Zwölftoneindrücke ('Twelve-tone Impressions')
is nowhere near as dodecaphonically austere as the title suggests: in fact,
it sounds like a nearly-tonal nocturne, gentle, dreamy and bathed in moonlight.
Leszek Wisłocki's Ten Preludes is the most substantial work on the
disc, and overall probably the most impressive, a collection of nostalgic movements
in which ethereal, atmospheric ballads alternate with neo-Baroque dances and
In fact, Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil's Eco is the only work
that rather outstays its welcome, with the novelty of the overlaid echo-effect
wearing off after five minutes. The "fairy-tale mood" promised in the notes
is thus more Grimm than Andersen.
Whatever the music, there can be no qualms about the quality of Grzegorz Olkiewicz's
performance, which is impressively virtuosic and emotionally persuasive. These
are works that he doubtless believes should be in the international flute repertoire,
and in most cases he would be right. With luck this CD will give them some impetus.
Sound quality is fairly good, at least taking the recording dates into consideration
- the flute is strident at times when it plays forte. There is some faint
background static in evidence in places, most noticeably in the Görlich.
Deliberate digital manipulation in Eco aside, the flute is suspiciously
reverberant in most pieces, suggesting that it is an artifice added later -
recently? - in the studio. There are one or two editing joins here and there,
though nothing obtrusive. The CD is rather short, but generosity of timing is
rarely a selling-point with Dux discs.
Much of the booklet is taken up with long-winded biographies of the performers
- pianist Andrzej Jungiewicz, for example, despite the fact that his contribution
to this programme is only five minutes, "started to learn the piano with K.
Gołęberska and R. Strycka in Nowa Sól. He continued his studies
with K. Musiał at the Secondary School of Music in Katowice, before enrolling
at the city's Academy of Music, where he studied piano with J. Stompel and chamber
music with M. Szwajger-Kułakowska and U. Stańczyk." And so on - all
very nice for his friends and colleagues to read, but the kind of stuff likely
to induce a coma in most readers. Nevertheless, he and the other three pianists
- far more than accompanists - certainly earn their wages in this ultimately
rewarding programme, for which the liner-notes are, in contradistinction to
the biographies, to-the-point and informative.
Collected reviews and contact at reviews.gramma.co.uk
An ultimately rewarding programme.