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Mikołaj GÓRECKI (b. 1971)
Zan Tontemiquico for orchestra (2006) [18:33]
Trio concerto for clarinet, horn, piano and string orchestra (2015) [16:21]
Trio Titanic for clarinet, horn and piano (2013) [15:44]
Silesian Trio (Roman Widaszek (clarinet), Tadeusz Tomaszewski (horn), Joanna Domańska (piano))
Aukso Chamber Orchestra of Tychy / Marek Moś
rec. 2017, Concert Hall of Mediateka, Tychy, Poland,
DUX 1415 [50:49]

Whilst the last name might seem familiar, the first name might not be, but this disc is well worth investigating. The Polish composer Mikołaj Górecki began studying the violin at six and piano the year later, he went on to study at the Music Lyceum in Katowice, graduating in 1990. The following year he entered the Katowice Music Academy, where he studied composition with his father, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, graduating with honours in 1995. This was followed by further studies in Banff in Canada before studying for his doctorate in composition at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, receiving it in 2000. He went on to teach at McGill University in Montreal before taking a post on the teaching staff of Laredo Community College in Texas.

His music has garnered much praise, with some pieces winning prestigious composition prizes, and it was through his work on his father's 4th Symphony that that work was published. The music is colourful and attractive, with lots to interest the listener and the performer alike. The opening work on this disc, Zan Tontemiquico, is inspired by the pre-Columbian poetry of the Aztecs, its title referring to a line which states “We only come to dream”, the text being included in the booklet notes. This is a wonderfully evocative work, which has been imaginatively orchestrated, giving prominence to the flute, making it sound like the ancient wooden flutes and panpipes of the region. There are moments in this work that remind me of John Adams, whist at another point the pulse of the orchestra resembles Mars from Holst’s The Planets.

The Trio concerto for clarinet, horn, piano and string orchestra, whilst set in three movements, is actually one linked piece, with the movements being linked by thematic material and thus forming a “narrative stream”, with the result being exciting at times, especially as the music of the movements morph in to each other. The work begins energetically with some nice interplay between the three soloists as they weave between each other, there are times that the clarinet follows a klezmer like line, whilst the lilting final Lento espressivo movement would not sound out of place in an Ennio Morricone film score. This lilting feel of the final movement continues over into the opening of the Trio Titanic, which is a very attractive work, with its three movements referring to the calm before the striking of the iceberg, the second movement’s subtitle ‘Don’t you hear the band playing?’, recalling the attempt to keep the passengers calm after the strike, whilst the final movement is the actual sinking of the ship. The three movements that make up the Trio are at first hearing the most attractive and conventional work on this disc, with the dance like tunes of the second movement evoking the music of the period, whilst especially the third movement is more agitated with a note to Beethoven’s fate theme running through it.

The Aukso Chamber Orchestra are excellent as they rise to the demands of the colourful scores of the first two works on this disc, and when they are joined by the Silesian Trio in the Concerto, their string players play very well in keeping up with the soloists. As to the Silesian Trio, Roman Widaszek, Tadeusz Tomasszewski and Joanna Domańska are wonderful in the Concerto, but it is in the Trio Titanic that they really to the fore, it was composed with them in mind and subsequently dedicated to them by the composer. The recorded sound is very good whilst the booklet notes are informative about the works on the disc but lacks a composer biography.

Stuart Sillitoe

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