on 8 June 2010
I greatly enjoyed 2 of the discs of this 3cd set originally released on EMI classics in the mid 70s. The symphonies 1 & 2 are probably the best performances on record of these works and like the concerto for orchestra have a vitality of playing and energy which propels them forward. The orchestral works here are rhythmical and the expectations of the listener are thwarted by the surprising twists and turns within the musical architecture. The musique funebre is a forlorn piece and probably the most accessible and simplest here.
Lutoslawski and Panufnik witnessed and experienced Nazi oppression, the energy and mood of the music show the tension and massive insecurity of this period in his life.
Disc 3 About half of disc 3 mainly consists of 3 song cycles one of which is high modernism ala Ligeti's 'Aventures' of which i have never really come to terms with. Is it parody, comedy, irony or serious?
Other than the one piece the rest of the disc is very fine even though i am not a fan of vocal classical music on the whole. The orchestral backing certainly keeps the interest of the listener.
There are EMI versions of this set which have been remastered in 1996/7. This Brilliant Classics set does not give any information as to whether their set is the remastered version. Only the original recording dates are given. Saying that the transfer is excellent and should not disappoint.
Intelligent and accessible music some of which may need a little work and repeated listening to fully appreciate. But to be honest the most rewarding music does require effort on the listener's part.
The 3 cd set comes in a glossy fold out wallet, with booklet which puts the EMI packaging to shame.
on 6 June 2010
I had always regarded Lutoslawski with a great deal of suspicion as I believed he tended towards the "squeaky hinge" end of the "classical" spectrum. Then I heard his Concerto for Orchestra reviewed on BBC R3's CD Review and thought that it would be fine. Indeed the Concerto for Orchestra is fine but the remainder of the 3-CD Set is in need of lots of lubricating oil. However, at the very low price, it is probably worth buying just for the Concerto for Orchestra, conducted by Lutoslawski himself. I won't be buying any more Lutoslawski though!