One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti


Guillaume LEKEU


Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website



Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases


Superior performance


Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons
Notable


Verdi Requiem Thielemann


Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital


Arnold Bax
Be converted


this terrific disc


John Buckley
one of my major discoveries


François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3

........................................

Bryden Thomson


Symphonies


Vaughan Williams Concertos


RVW Orchestral

 


Support us financially by purchasing
this through MusicWeb
for £15.50 postage paid world-wide.

Stanislaw MONIUSZKO (1819-1872)
Songs
Leszek Skrla (baritone)
Anna Mikolon (piano)
rec. 2018, Studio koncertowe Radio Gdańsk, Janusza Hajduna, Poland
Sung texts with German translations enclosed
ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0435 [60:45]

Stanislaw Moniuszko was slightly younger than his compatriot Chopin, but while the latter left Poland when he was 20 and never returned, Moniuszko remained there all his life – apart from studies in Berlin 1837-1840 – and was instrumental in developing a national opera tradition, with Halka (1848, revised 1858) as his most important work. Even today it is regarded as the national opera of Poland. There are several recordings of Halka and also of The Haunted Manor but not very much else and outside Poland he is, I believe, little known. The issue of this collection of songs – he composed more than 300 – is thus utterly welcome. There is indeed a lot of enjoyable songs here, melodious, accessible and full of variety. Whether one appreciates the readings is another matter, which I will come back to.

The songs are sung in Polish, which is a nice language to listen to, in spite of the forbidding spelling with a plethora of consonants. Most of the poets are also Polish, but there are a couple of translations from other languages. The very first, Do you know such land, (I employ the English titles given in the booklet to avoid spelling mistakes) is, as one might guess, Goethe’s Kennst du das Land wo die Zitronen blühn from Wilhelm Meister. A very beautiful song. Mother, you’re gone (tr. 15), a translation of a Victor Hugo poem, is also fine. Two Auroras (tr. 2) is a jolly song in ¾-time, and jolly and quite fun is also The Shoulder (tr. 4). Krakowiaczek (tr. 5) is lively and enthusiastic: “I, a son of Crakow, is happy and funny” and the music clearly demonstrates that.

There follow a number of songs with military motifs. I’m particularly fond of An old corporal (tr. 12), where the old soldier marches stubbornly, eagerly spurred by the pianist. Oh, my mother (tr. 13) is tender-hearted and Incertitude (tr. 14) has a delicious melody. But my greatest favourite is I love you (tr. 16) – beautiful and touching. I was a bit consternated about the next song. Starość is literally “senility”, though the German translation says “Age” or “Old age”. Who could believe that this jolly melody depicts senility? But the gist of the text can be extracted from a couple of lines in the middle of the song: “The one who at dawn in happy mood can empty the chalice in one draught, who though shivering still can sing, he is not yet particularly old …” An optimistic song indeed!

So the programme is pleasing, and Anna Mikolon is an excellent accompanist, which I had observed before on a disc titled “Nightingale” on this label some years ago (review). To my shame I must admit that I didn’t give her credit then, but her playing was just as good then. The long discography in the booklet is proof enough of her excellence and versatility. Unfortunately I am less enthusiastic about the singing. Leszek Skrla has a quite heavy voice, more bass than baritone actually, and it is afflicted by a vibrato that at forte tends to spread. There is also a lot of strain. On the credit side we can enter a certain willingness to scale down and sing softly, he is expressive and can colour his tone – as a good song interpreter should. The last song, The old man and the old woman (tr. 18) is a good example of good execution of art songs – and this is not an isolated example. But the singing per se leaves a lot to be wished. I derived a lot of pleasure from this programme even so – but I wish it had been recorded ten years earlier.

Göran Forsling

Contents
1. Znaszli ten kraj (Do you know such land) (1846) [5:40]
2. Dwie zorze (Two Auroras) (before 1857) [2:18]
3. Morel (Apricot tree) (1842) [4:18]
4. Soltys (The Shoulder) (1858) [3:13]
5. Krakowiaczek (before 1850) [2:53]
6. Korale (Bead) (before 1870) [4:18]
7. Kozak (Cossack) (1849) [3:41]
8. Pieśńwojenna (Military song) [3:57]
9. Wyjazd na wojnę (Departure to the war) (1852) [0:56]
10. Czarny krzyżyk (The little black cross) (before 1860) [2:08]
11. Piosnka żolnierza (Soldier’s song) (1844) [1:38]
12. Stary kapral (An old corporal) (1857) [5:39]
13. O matko moja (Oh my mother) (1856-1858) [2:41]
14. Niepewność (Incertitude) (1837) [3:43]
15. Matko, jużnie ma cię (Mother, you’re gone) (before 1871) [3:17]
16. Ja ciebie kocham (I love you) (1868) [2:48]
17. Starość (Senility) (1857) [3:04]
18. Dziad i baba (The old man and the old woman) (1838 – 1842) [4:23]

 



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger