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Stanisław RADWAN (b. 1939)
Theatre and Film Music
Engel sucht Flügel [3:37]
Pieśni nad pieśniami [4:23]
Bloomusalem [3:49]
Funerale [9:09]
Rilke [2:35]
Fanfary [0:52]
Spis cudzołożnic [3:14]
Sinfonietta teatrale [7:39]
Hiob [5:00]
Et cetera [4:05]
Szklane domy [1:49]
Wszystko dobre [2:42]
Kasia z Heilbronnu [6:49]
Wujaszek Wania [2:12]
Z biegiem lat [3:46]
Beethoven Academy Orchestra/Rafał Jacek Delekta
rec. 2017, Polish Television TVP Kraków S-3
DUX 1535 [61:53]

This release is the first in a planned series “Muzyczny Ślad Krakowa” (musical trace of Cracow) devoted to film and theatre music in Kraków. Stanisław Radwan, a leading practitioner, has had a distinguished career as musical director in various theatres, both in Kraków and Warsaw. For the last twenty years or so, he has been associated with the National Theatre in Warsaw. Radwan studied composition with Penderecki in Kraków, and undertook further studies with Pierre Schaeffer – electronic music – and with Messiaen. (His brother was conductor Józef Radwan (1937-2009).) Though he has other compositions to his name, including a sonata for piano and a string quartet, composing music for more than 200 films and plays has probably been enough to keep him occupied. He has, just by the way, appeared as an actor in at least eight productions, including the film of The Good Soldier Švejk (1999), sometimes as a musician but also in other roles.

There is much to enjoy in the recording, but it has the inevitable drawback of a selection of ‘bleeding chunks’. I would love to know how a piece such as the 50-second Fanfary fits with other music from the same score, how themes are developed and interweave across the work. Without that context, one is left to enjoy the music in the moment, to note the passing mood, but a crucial dimension is lost. There is no satisfactory way around this, and there is certainly enough evidence here of immense facility and variety of moods, from the jazzy Engel sucht Flügel, through the popular dance rhythm of Bloomusalem – a lovely piece – to the sombre Funerale, with hints of a classic funeral march. Et cetera is a rather lovely piece, with some fine writing for cello and winds.

Performances are interesting. As so often in a theatre, the strings are a relatively small body (6-5-4-4-2) compared with a typical orchestra. The effect is that woodwinds and brass have a particularly forward sound, especially the latter, since their numbers are not reduced. This gives a strong feeling of presence, entirely appropriate in context, and helped by a very clear recording.

There is so much to enjoy here. I hope that in the remainder of the series it will be possible to return to this accomplished composer.

Michael Wilkinson

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