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Piotr MOSS (b.1949)
D’un silence… (1989) [38:13]
Loneliness (2008) [29:50]
Jean-Marc Fessard (clarinet, bass clarinet)
Judwiga Rappé (alto)
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice/Michał Klauza (D’un silence) and Jerzy Maksymiuk (Loneliness)
rec. November 2011 (D’un silence) and November 2012 (Loneliness), Grzegorz Fitelberg Hall, Katowice
Texts and translations included
DUX 1118 [68:03]

I’ve reviewed Piotr Moss’s music before in CD Accord and Dux’s series of discs devoted to his music, and here are two more major works to absorb, the large-scaled single-movement D’un silence and the song cycle Loneliness, which set the poems of E.E. Cummings.

D’un silence is a clarinet concerto in which the soloist has recourse to the bass clarinet as well as the more conventional model. The orchestra is reduced in scale and for the length of its near-40 minute duration we hear a considerable amount of contrastive material and especially colour. Moss has included an expanded percussion section, including piano, and this lends the music a degree of pungent urgency that complements the expressive directness of the string writing. He doesn’t overlook native dance rhythms, drawing on the Oberek in particular, whilst driving the piping clarinet over thickets of orchestral gawkiness in ways that sound almost parodic of folk ensembles. At around the two-third mark, Moss draws on his beloved cello, which as so often in his music, intones a melancholy line. Hereabouts the music turns mocking, slinky and even quite abrasive, to end with more than a question mark, one feels.

The other solo voice in this disc is the human one. Leading Polish alto, Jadwiga Rappé sometimes struggles with the clear articulation of Cummings’ poetry, which is set in English and not in Polish translation, but there’s no doubting her heft. The five settings move from dreamscape through the taut tensile direction of the second setting, where her voice takes on a stentorian quality, with hints of vamp in the piano. Elements of bizarre circus-style parade infuse the music and there are echoes of Weimar cabaret, although greatly changed, naturally. Threading its way through the Cummings thickets is the orchestra that played D’un silence but this time the conductor is not Michał Klauza but Jerzy Maksymiuk.

The texts and translations are in Polish and English. I wouldn’t say that the music here is as striking as the Cinq tableaux de Caspar David Friedrich or Voyage, much less his chamber music, which I find amongst his most memorable, but it does show the breadth of his imaginative sympathies, and expands his discography valuably.

Jonathan Woolf



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