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Robert MUCZYNSKI (1929-2010)
Chamber Music
Fantasy Trio for clarinet, cello and piano, Op. 26 (1969) [11:40]
Cello Sonata, Op. 25 (1968) [19:33]
Duos for Flute and Clarinet Op. 34b (1973) [8:38]
Time Pieces for clarinet and piano, Op. 43 (1983) [15:30]
Sonata for flute and piano Op. 14 (1960) [13:56]
Gleb Kanasevich (clarinet)
Ginevra Petrucci (flute)
Dorotea Racz (cello)
Dmitry Samogray (piano)
rec. October 2016, January 2017, Dekelboum Concert Hall, College Park, Maryland, USA

Born in Chicago, Muczynski's Polish immigrant parentage accounts for the name. His music is tonal-melodic, tending towards cooling breezes and quick-tempo celebration. He studied at DePaul University with Walter Knupfer and Alexander Tcherepnin. The booklet essay by Dmitry Samogray is more than helpful given Muczynski's unfamiliarity.

The short Trio's scorching Allegro is relentlessly active and sec – half-Stravinsky and half-Weill. A juicy and thoughtful Andante is chilly and romantic in equal measure. The following kinetically exciting Allegro is a deliberate and savage stomping dance. The last movement takes the form of a disconcerting Introduction and Finale. Its first part is morose while the catchy toe-tapping pay-off comes in the form of a wild locomotive ride: Randall Thompson meets Shostakovich meets Conlon Nancarrow.

The Cello Sonata from the previous year is twice as long as the Trio. It too is in four movements with a pensive Theme and Variations (I) and an Andante Sostenuto (III). The rushing and stumbling Scherzo is something in the pattern of the Trio's first Allegro. There's a concluding and positively upbeat chiming Allegro. Muczynski was evidently good at weaving an emotional harvest into his fast music.

The Duos, alternating slow-fast, are folksy and tuneful. They are feelingly despatched, as are all these pieces. These would go well in concert alongside the chamber music of Malcolm Arnold, Vaughan Williams' Studies in English Folksong and Vocalises for voice and clarinet and Finzi's Bagatelles. The latter parallel brings us to the four easy-listening Time Pieces of which the third is capricious. It kept wrong-footing me - setting off in one direction and then heading in another.

The Flute Sonata is the earliest piece here. It is archetypically flighty but across its four movements - except for the Duos all the works here are in four movements - also finds Thoreau's pulse-stilling woodland glades and leaf-strewn pools.

Fifteen and more years ago Naxos brought out a similar flute-led disc and there are some overlaps with the present release. The Flute Sonata feels musically more winning in the hands of the Brilliant Classics team. Muczynski's early Piano Concerto No. 1 (1954) won me over on a Centaur disc.

This CD makes an impressive showing for Muczynski but there's more. Will we ever get to hear the Alto Sax Concerto (1981) or the two symphonies (1953, 1974), I wonder?

Rob Barnett



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