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Acte Prealable Polish CDs

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Aleksandra GARBAL (b. 1970)
Works For Piano – Volume 1
Podrˇże krasnoludkˇw (The Journeys of Dwarfs) (1980-2005) [14:08]
20 obrazkˇw z wizyty w ZOO (20 Pictures from a Visit to the Zoo) (1980-2005) [11:34]
Sześć Nokturnˇw (Six Nocturnes) Op.7 – Ó Monsieur Marcin Tadeusz Łukaszewski (2014) 20:38
Epilog (Epilogue) (2009) [2:34]
Pamięci poleglych w walce o wolność i niepodległość – solo z opery Polonica Rustica Polskie Malowanki (In memory of the fallen in the fight for freedom and independence, solo from the Opera Polonica Rustica Polish Colouring Pages) (2018) [2:47]
Duże zwartwienie (Big Worry) 92013) [1:48]
Kołysanka polska z opery Polonica Rustica Polskie Malowanki, akt 5 no.15 cz.2 Polish lullaby from the Opera Polonica Rustica Polish Colouring Pages act 5 no.15, part 2 (2018) [3:17]
Walc jednej chwili (Waltz one moment) Ó Madame Gabriela Szendzielorz (2013) [3:11]
Barwy morza (The Colours of the Sea) (2012) [2:31]
Concert Etude (2018) [1:24]
Kołysanka a oddali (Lullaby from Afar) (2019) [4:30]
Etude de Polonaise pour piano – Ó Monsieur Artur Cimirro (2019) [7:19]
Artur Cimirro (piano)
rec. 2019, Opus Dissonus Studios
ACTE PR╔ALABLE AP0465 [75:45]

As the renowned music critic Edward Greenfield said, I always begin by expecting to like what I’m going to hear and almost invariably I do but on this occasion I’m afraid that while I didn’t hate it, I can’t say I liked what I heard.  It wasn’t dissonant or in any way ‘off the wall’; rather, I have to say it was simply boring. There is almost no variation in mood throughout the hour and a quarter of the disc. All of the music is gentle, whiffling its way along its soporific path; it would certainly help a child to calm down before going to sleep.

With each new track, one is hoping to hear a different speed in the delivery of the music but it never comes. The music is ‘nice’ enough but is that a good enough reason to record it? Acte PrÚalable is to be congratulated for fighting the corner of Polish composers and maybe Aleksandra Garbal has some more exciting compositions to her name; if so, let’s hear them.  If she has composed some piano music that has more upbeat moods in it, a better idea would have been for Acte PrÚalable to have included some of it on this disc to give some variation to its overall easy-listening ethos.

I have read reviews of her previous disc Mysterious Garden of 20th and 21st Century Miniatures (AP0416) which seem to prove there’s more to her than this disc would have one believe, so it’s a shame this one has let her down, at least as far as I’m concerned, despite one blogger’s contention that I’m too easily pleased. Which takes me back to Edward Greenfield’s maxim that I really do try to find something to enjoy in most discs I review but after 75 minutes of this disc that aim was defeated. I really don’t like having to review a disc in this way but I have no choice other than to say that despite there being moments I did enjoy, they were not sustained long enough.

Steve Arloff

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