SŁAWOMIR CZNARNECKI (b.1949): Concerto Lendinum for Violin, Cello and String Orchestra, Op. 44, MARCIN BŁAŻEWICZ (b.1953): Concerto for Guitar and String Orchestra, PAWEŁ ŁUKASZEWSKI (b.1968): Trinity Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and String Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 06U066
Description: Three thoroughly accessible concerti each ingeniously subverting expectations based on their titles and descriptions. Many, if not most, contemporary guitar concerti find themselves paying tribute to the instrument's Spanish origins and playing style, and it is rather refreshing to discover that Błażewicz scarcely does so at all, and such folk derived material as there is, mostly in the last movement (a muscular and mordant rondo), is unmistakably Polish. The work is perhaps unexpectedly tough and serious in tone, and there are several places where the character of the music suggests that a traditional 'heavyweight' solo instrument, such as the piano, is about to put in an appearance, though this is not to suggest that the guitar writing is anything less than idiomatic. The first movement suggests a symphonia concertante rather than a conventional virtuoso vehicle, the guitar acting as a contrasting voice within the symphonic argument; nevertheless, the movement contains a substantial cadenza of no small virtuosic requirements, though still reprising the thematic material of the movement. The second movement brings the soloist somewhat more to the fore. This is in the form of free variations on three basic sections, and covers very expansive expressive territory. Czarnecki's double concerto was inspired by the folklore of the Lublin region. The work takes an unusual and highly effective approach to its incorporation of folk material. The first movement hints at folk melodies, in fragments presented by the soloists divided widely across registers, creating an almost pointillist effect, suggesting that the work as a whole will be more modern than it turns out to be. The middle movement presents an eloquently lamenting folk tune over a slow, pulsing accompaniment. A brief folk-dance episode interrupts this, then fades away in clouds of dissonance, like a dream of happier times that gives way to the reality of the inescapable sadness of reality. The finale is a vigorous folk dance, hectic and motorically propulsive, almost a caricature of itself. Łukaszewski is best known for his epic choral and orchestral works on religious subjects, but this appealing work on a modest scale shares the tonal language and direct emotional communication of the larger pieces. The slow initial movement in triple time is like a Valse triste reimagined by Satie. A brief scherzo follows, with propulsive repeating figures surmounted by a vigorous, insistent solo motif. The finale is songlike, gently rocked on lapping waves and finally reintroducing mysterious echoes of material from the previous movements. Jakub Jakowicz (violin), Tomasz Strahl (cello), Marcin Dylla (guitar), Paweł Gusnar (sax), Witold Lutosławski Chamber Philharmonic in Łomża; Jan Miłosz Zarzycki.