MILOSZ MAGIN (1929-1999): Concerto No. 3 for Piano. Strings and Percussion, Concerto Rustico for Violin, Strings and Percussion, Stabat Mater for Strings and Percussion. 4 Vocalises and Andante for Violin and Piano, Nostalgie du pays from Miniatures polonaises for Piano.
Catalogue Number: 01X050
Label: Sony Classical
Description: Magin was a composer-pianist of the highest order; in fact he looked set to become one of Poland's most notable pianists of the second half of the 20th century, until his performing career was temporarily sidelined by a serious hand injury, whereupon he honed his compositional skills, resulting in a distinguished parallel career which produced a significant number of exceptional works like those presented here. Deeply attached to his homeland, echoes of folk idioms and dances are a recurrent feature of his boldly, unabashedly tonal, music, but so is his background as a virtuoso pianist, and both are on display here. The exhilarating piano concerto, unusually structured in four fast movements and one slow, announces its intentions from the outset, with an arresting opening for the soloist in cascades of notes. This short movement serves as introduction; after a while the energy subsides and a sober meditation leads into what is effectively the first movement proper, effusively energetic and propulsive, with Prokofiev-like momentum, structured in a kind of sonata form. The thrilling first theme gives way to a beautiful, simply melodic second subject; the bulk of the "development" is a sprightly fugue, both subjects are recapitulated, and the coda is based on the movement's opening flourish. The next movement is a thunderous scherzo, like a rough peasant dance, with the piano contributing decorative piled-up sequences of chords, and arabesques and roulades of runs. Over a steady percussion pulsation the piano intones a calm chorale-like theme, but the restless energy swiftly returns and the two ideas combine to speed the movement to its close. The Adagio which follows is hymn-like, calm and luminous, with something of the radiant solemnity of a Bruckner slow movement. The brief final movement explodes onto the scene, driven and motoric, ending the concerto in a burst of exuberance. The violin concerto is in traditional three-movement form, and looks back to classical and romantic models, as well as the composer’s love of the traditional music of Poland. In the space of the first thirty seconds the music presents an infectiously lively Mendelssohnesque theme, a rough bass motif that recalls the finale of the Sibelius, and an ebullient peasant dance. These three elements provide the material for the high-energy first movement, along with a lovely, lilting second subject. The middle movement is pure melody, an extended meditation on a a wistful folksong-like theme. A surge of passion surfaces at the movement's mid-point, followed by a reprise of the gently elegiac folk theme. The finale is a boisterous rustic dance with a wide-eyed, innocent middle section like a folksong. The intense and deeply moving instrumental Stabat Mater begins prayerfully, sounding like a cross between Åse's Death from Peer Gynt, the Barber Adagio, and the prelude to Parsifal. Halfway through the piece an insistent "heartbeat"emerges and is taken up by the timpani, crescendoing to a powerful climax, abruptly stilled to be replaced by a hushed reflection of the opening. The chamber and solo pieces show the composer at his most Romantic, showcasing his gift for melody and his love for folk music, and for Chopin. Kremerata Baltica; Gidon Kremer (violin), Lucas Debarguw (piano).