Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

An important premiere

From June 26, 2012:


This new Naxos disc in Antoni Wit's survey of music by Henryk Gorecki includes some well-known pieces as well as a world premiere recording of an important work.

The Harpischord Concerto, written in 1980, shows up here in the alternate version for piano. The piece loses some of its colour and texture without the harpsichord, though perhaps its underlying driving structure is more obvious. The composer's daughter, Anna Gorecka, plays the piece with panache. This is Gorecka's second recording of the concerto. Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra provide a superior accompaniment and Naxos a much better recorded sound than the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra under Agnieszka Duczmal on a Classicord disc from Polish Radio in 1991.

It's also great to see a new recording of The Three Dances op. 34, which are favourites of mine. The Warsaw musicians shine in these delightfully virtuosic pieces. Delightful is also the perfect word for the Little Requiem for a Certain Polka, a puzzle-piece for orchestra that's spooky, mocking, seductive and funny by turns.

The strongest, most important work on the disc, though, is the Concerto-Cantata from 1992, which for some reason is receiving its premiere recording. There aren't so many flute concertos out there that such an interesting work for flute & orchestra can afford to be ignored. I trust that this will be the first of many recordings to come in the future. Carol Wincenc provides an assured performance on the flute, and again Wit and the Warsaw orchestra provide impressive support. It's easy to recommend such a varied and interesting CD!

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