Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994) was the pre-eminent member of a group of Polish composers that came to prominence after the Second World War and whose artistic advancement was given impetus by the death of Stalin in 1953. The works in this set cover four decades of Lutosławski's career and include most of his important orchestral works, starting with the early Symphonic Variations, his first and second symphonies and the Concerto for Orchestra, perhaps his best-known work.
This is the fifth and now final volume in our survey of orchestral works by the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski. Gramophone wrote of a previous volume in the series (CHSA5106) that it ‘offers a broad view of Lutosławski’s creative profile, which the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner fleshes out with playing that is as polished as it is animated, and alert to the individuality of Lutosławski’s musical vocabulary and mode of expression’.
This is the fourth volume in Chandos’ series devoted to the music of the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski. Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, described by Gramophone as a ‘veritable dream team’ in a review for Vol. 1, are joined on this recording by the cellist and exclusive Chandos artist Paul Watkins.
This is the third volume in the Chandos series devoted to the music of the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski. It brings together his first surviving orchestral piece (The Symphonic Variations) and his last symphony, as well as two works for piano and orchestra – an early work originally written for two pianos (The ‘Paganini’ Variations), and his very last concerto. The works are performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner, described by Gramophone as a veritable ‘Dream Team’ in Vol. 1. They are joined in this recording by Louis Lortie, the award-winning pianist and exclusive Chandos artist.
On the four previous installments in Timpani's series of the orchestral works of Iannis Xenakis, Arturo Tamayo and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg have presented highly varied and volatile works from different periods of the composer's career and have provided an excellent overview of his output. This fifth volume focuses on the early orchestral works, which brought architect and mathematician Xenakis world renown as a cutting-edge composer and put him in direct opposition to the serial establishment.
The fourth volume of Timpani's series of orchestral works by Iannis Xenakis presents four works from three distinct periods, though not in chronological order. Erikhthon for piano and orchestra (1974) is one of the "arborescent" or branch-like compositions from Xenakis' middle phase. Expanding and contracting through criss-crossing glissandi and bending clusters, the extremely loud and aggressive orchestra overwhelms the impossibly dense and struggling piano part; in this role reversal, Erikhthon may be regarded as the absolute antithesis of the conventional piano concerto. Ata (1987) is a late work, contrapuntal in nature but with the difference that the polyphonic lines are all tightly bunched in clusters; it also features a sly reference to Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps, which is unexpected and hilarious.
These four compositions are among the best and most forceful works of Xenakis. This recording of Jonchaies easily beats the version on Col Legno. I believe Shaar, Lichens, and Antikhthon are recorded here for the first time, and they are outstanding works, brilliantly performed and recorded. For those unfamiliar with the later large works of Xenakis, the CD is a must have!
Arturo Tamayo's recordings of the works of Iannis Xenakis on the Timpani label are among the finest available, for they are finely interpreted, expertly performed, and brilliantly recorded. Xenakis' music is always different from piece to piece, because the composer never wanted to repeat himself, and his works always present unique challenges, depending on the nature of his evolving techniques and changing expressions. Whether it is in the stark text and extreme vocalizations of Aïs (1980), or the densely dissonant aggregations of Tracées (1987), Empreintes (1975), Noomena (1974), and Roáï (1991), Tamayo keeps the energy levels high and shapes the sound to have a sharp edge and forceful impact.
Naturally, Brilliant Classics could not afford to get the best baroque performers - this is a super budget set - but one thing that the listener discovers in this set is that there are many fine, even excellent "second tier" performers of Bach's music. Many of the instrumental ensembles whose recordings are in this set are excellent. The Consort of London, for example, is a pleasant surprise. They perform the Brandenburg Concertos and the Orchestral Suites…