Penderecki is my favorite living composer. This CD feature two concertos. There is the older Violin Concerto from 1977 and a Horn Concerto from 2008. Both works are conducted by the composer and played with the Sinfonietta Cracovia which is a smaller yet top notch orchestra.
Robert Kabara is the soloist in the Violin Concerto (No.1). He plays with passion and makes the most out of what is a dark marathon work lasting 40 plus minutes. Penderecki is not at his most inventive with this concerto. It is a work which requires a lot of finesse and concentration in order to squeeze the most out of it's endless hills and flat valleys. This is achieved! Like some restored Technicolor picture of the past this work is given it's all by Kabara, the orchestra, and Penderecki who is on the podium.
The Horn Concerto is from a different era with Randovan Vlatkovic at the horn. Even though this is 31 years in the future from the Violin Concerto we can hear how Penderecki has come about with a more conservative language. The horn at first sounds haunting, but in the end it is an animated and happy member of the brass family. Vlatkovic is quite a capable Horn player. I am listening to this work now as I review it. I am so surprised by it's adventure, possibilities, and just plain fun that it offers. The work is one movement and if there is any let down is that it only lasts between 15 and 20 minutes.
The total time for this CD is just less than an hour. But what great performances of two works conducted by the composer. Probably the best effort I've ever heard of the Violin Concerto (No.1). And the world premiere recording of an exhilirating Horn Concerto. I highly recommend this CD to anyone interested in this composer.