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
Plain text for smartphones
and printers



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
Atoll
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
 

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from:

Witold LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994)
Mała Suite (1950) [10:13]
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (1969-70)* [25:53]
Grave (1982)* [5:36]
Symphony No. 2 (1965-67) [29:51]
Paul Watkins (cello)*
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Edward Gardner
rec. 5-6 December 2011, Watford Colosseum, UK
CHANDOS CHSA5106 [image] [70:04]

Experience Classicsonline


This fourth volume of Edward Gardner’s superb series of Witold Lutoslawski, and the third volume of his orchestral music echoes volume 2 almost exactly (see review), with a concerto and a symphony and shorter pieces to open and separate the larger masterpieces. To complete the set so far you can read about the first orchestral volume here, and the excellent disc with vocal works here.
 
This programme begins with the superb Mała Suite or Little Suite, which manages to integrate folk music and original sonorities into a work which was created under the rules of Communist directives on acceptable style and content. There are shades of Prokofiev and Stravinsky, but also a clear sense of the kind of Polish lyrical heartland which you can also hear in Panufnik’s earlier work, some of the themes also foreshadowing works such as the Concerto for Orchestra.
 
Chandos’s house cello soloist of the day Paul Watkins is excellent in the Cello Concerto, the drama of the extended opening solo and its interruption with imperious and irritable trumpets sounding more than ever like the prologue to an opera without words. The spatial subtleties in the goings on amongst the sections of the orchestra make the SACD element in this recording a genuinely fascinating experience, the silence sculpted with moments of darting light and colour. The transparency of Lutoslawski’s orchestration might have given this work a feeling of fragility and transience, but the opposite is true. The Cello Concerto exerts a powerful grip on the imagination, and with a palpable feeling of anticipation and the composer’s highly selective dosage of release and reward this is one of those pieces which can change your entire view about what music can do. Such a fertile performance and recording as this makes for compelling and at times truly shocking listening.
 
After this unnerving experience we are brought back only partially to the style of Lutoslawski’s earlier work in the version of Grave for cello with string orchestra. This is later piece from 1981/82, but is relatively conservative in its rhythms and techniques, a few momentary shooting glissandi being one of the familiar fingerprints. The title would seem to suggest something more lugubrious than the lively work which in fact unfolds.
 
The Symphony No. 2 was written some years after the Concerto for Orchestra, and is closer to the Livre pour orchestre in its exploration of timbres and atmospheres. The two movements are titled Hésitant and Direct, the former combining and dividing various textures and sonorities, the latter growing more integrated and organic shapes, glued differently through the significantly greater use of strings and with waves of pulsing and dramatic interjection. This second movement was the first to be completed, and its magnificent sonic landscapes are the place to try if you are seeking some convincing fragments. The development of the first four minutes or so is one of Lutoslawski’s truly glorious passages, and if your jaw refuses to drop then you’d better get a check-up for tetanus.
 
Comparisons with alternative recordings have to be made, and I invariably finding myself gravitating towards my former reference of Antoni Wit on the Naxos label. His Little Suite and the Symphony No. 2 both appear on Naxos 8.553169 and both in very good performances from the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. The Chandos disc manages to deliver more instrumental detail while at the same time heightening the atmospheres in the symphony, the Polish trumpet players also hamming things up distractingly here and there on the Naxos disc. I would put Gardner’s performance about level pegging with that of Jacek Kaspszyk on the excellent Opera Omnia series (see review), the SACD recording perhaps tipping the balance in Gardner’s favour, but not by much.
 
The Cello Concerto has quite a few competitors, the Naxos version on 8.553625 again having plenty going for it, but in no way as scary as Gardner’s recording, the more generalised orchestral sound putting a kind of aural safety net between us and Lutoslawski’s potent score. Antoni Wit also recorded this piece for the Polish DUX label, and this Warsaw Philharmonic performance/recording is a bit more vibrant and passionate. With my ideas about the Cello Concerto completely transfixed by Paul Watkins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra however, I feel pretty secure in being able to put forward this Chandos version against and above all others.
 
Collectors of this series will already have this volume firmly in their sights, and no-one need hesitate in snapping it up. Paul Watkins fans familiar with his more mainstream repertoire might hesitate, but that would be a shame. If you fancy treating your mind to some seriously stimulating sounds this is a splendid journey on which to embark.
 
Dominy Clements 

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.