Louis PELOSI (b. 1947)
A Triptych Memorial to My Rosemarie - Part I
String Quartet No. 1 (1997-2000) [33:43]
Prayer Suite (2005-2006) [11:03]
I Weave You A Shroud (2005) [14:15]
String Quartet No. 2 "Rosemarie Kocz˙ In Memoriam" (2008) [18:32]
KASP RECORDS 57701 [77:53]
A Triptych Memorial to My Rosemarie - Part II
Thirty-Seven Inventions, Canons and Fugues on a Single Motif (2004, 2006-2008) [77:42]
Donald Isler (piano)
KASP RECORDS 57702 [77:42]
A Triptych Memorial to My Rosemarie - Part III
Piano Trio (2009-2010) [27:30]
Woodwind Quartet (2005-2006) [14:40]
Elegy For Brass Quintet (Revisited) (2009) [9:13]
String Quartet No. 3 (2008-2010) [27:13]
KASP RECORDS 57721 [78:48]
These three discs titled "A Triptych Memorial to my Rosemarie" are Louis Pelosi's tribute to his wife Rosemarie Kocz˙, who died on 12 December 2007. She was the composer's "inseparable companion in all things great and small for almost twenty-eight years..." She was his inspiration and helped him find his voice as a composer.
Louis Pelosi considers his four-movement String Quartet No. 1, which opens Part I of the Triptych, the beginning of his mature writing. The Hebraic-inflected melody of the second movement "I Weave You a Shroud" forms the motivic germ of the work. Pelosi enlisted the theme for the vocal sextet, included on this CD, and it is also put to use his Thirteen Preludes and Fugues. The Quartet opens with an animated interplay between all four instruments. This is followed by a lengthy slow movement, wistful and regretful in character. Midway through the music becomes invigorated, but this is short-lived and the music subsides towards the end. Another slow movement comes next, with a radiantly static quality. The work ends with an effervescent finale.
The single-movement String Quartet No. 2, penned in 2008, is Pelosi's requiem for his wife. It also pays tribute to J. S. Bach, and there is passing reference to his Violin Concerto in D minor. The general mood is dark and sombre, shot through with shards of pain and anguish. Fugal elements permeate the score. The Quartet has the feel of a lengthy meditation. The two Quartets bookend the Prayer Suite for violin and piano, and the vocal sextet "I Weave You a Shroud", set to a poem by T. P. Perrin (the text is provided in the booklet). The title of the work refers to his artist wife’s drawings memorializing the victims of the Holocaust.
Part II is devoted to the Thirty-Seven Inventions, Canons and Fugues on a Single Motif for solo piano, played by Donald Isler. They are a sequel to the Thirteen Preludes and Fugues, with Epilogue (which I reviewed last year) in a performance on the piano Mateusz Borowiak, also for KASP records. The thirty-seven pieces are divided up into five sections. Four sections consist of nine parts each, the fifth is a finale. In the general layout, the inventions gravitate towards the beginning of the cycle, with the fugues to the latter part. The canons appear at intervals, each representing the twelve tones of the scale. One senses a gathering of momentum as the cycle progresses, in terms of formal complexity. The cycle rewards the listener with variety and scope. Isler's notes offer suggestions and points of reference to steer the listener through this complex music. Here are some of my thoughts on the individual pieces. No. 4 is dark and melancholic, No. 10 has a reflective stillness (I love Isler's voicing of chords in this one). No. 20 conveys a sense of mystery, and No. 6 emits a glistening, diaphanous glow. No. 8 is spiky and restless, as is No. 22. No 27 progresses with a hesitant stride.
Part III consists of three chamber works. Of the three discs, I found this one the most satisfying, and would recommend it to those looking for a place to begin. Much of the interest lies in the different combination of instruments each work offers. The Piano Trio is cast in two contrasting movements. The first has busy insistent rhythms which strut out with assertive determination. The second movement, more than twice the length, is a lament which is almost disconsolate, its theme taken from No. 26 of the Thirty-Seven Inventions, Canons and Fugues, which was the piece the composer was working on when his wife died. The Woodwind Quartet is a work in three short movements moulded in the fast-slow-fast pattern. It is notable for his concision of ideas, with the overarching mood joyful and blithe. The elegiacally-framed Elegy for Brass Quintet is strikingly different in mood. Pelosi's String Quartet No. 3 is in four movements. The opener is tenderly etched, eventually opening out into a more spirited section. There follows a scherzo-like movement with pizzicato accompaniment. A pensive Largo precedes a vivacious finale, which incorporates material from the opening movement for its coda.
The participating artists all perform with compelling musicality and enthusiasm. All the works have been well-recorded and are in superb sound. Accompanying annotations give a brief overview of the music performed. As a newcomer, I have found it both an enriching and fascinating discovery.
String Quartets 1-3
Piotr Tarcholik (violin), Kinga Tomaszewska (violin), Dariusz Korcz (viola, Nos. 1 & 3), Beata Raszewska (viola, No. 2), Zdzisław Łapiński (cello)
Piotr Tarcholik (violin), Monika Wilińska-Tarcholik (piano)
I Weave You a Shroud
New York Virtuoso Singers / Harold Rosenbaum
Thirty-Seven Inventions, Canons and Fugues on a Single Motif
Donald Isler (piano)
Piotr Tarcholik (violin), Łukasz Frant (cello), Monika Wilińska-Tarcholik (piano)
Joanna Dziewor (flute), Arkadiusz Krupa (oboe), Aleksander Tesarczyk (clarinet), Krzysztof Fiedukiewicz (bassoon)
Elegy for Brass Quintet (Revisited)
Stanisław Dziewor, Benedykt Matusik (trumpets), Tadeusz Tomaszewski (French horn), Michał Mazurkiewicz (trombone), Jakub Urbańczyk (tuba)