PAWEŁ ŁUKASZEWSKI (b.1968): Concerto for Accordion and String Orchestra, KRZYSZTOF HERDZIN (b.1970): Concerto festivo for 2 Positive Organs and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 45, DARIUSZ PRZYBYLSKI (b.1984): Concerto for Harmonica and String Orchestra.

Catalogue Number: 06W062

Label: Dux

Reference: 1715

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: You'll have some serious fun with this disc. "Serious fun" sums it up pretty well, actually; these are serious concerti, expertly crafted and fulfilling all the requirements of the traditional Romantic virtuoso vehicle, but in each case radiating an infectious sense of positivity and bonhomie. The unusual choices of the mighty organ's playful junior relatives adds a pleasing piquancy to these engaging works. Łukaszewski's idiom here is exactly what we expect from his epic orchestral and choral works on religious themes; driving post-minimalist propulsiveness in the dynamically exuberant outer movements, and full, rich melodiousness (quoting an Easter hymn) in the central slow movement. The work is the composer’s second transcription of his Organ Concerto (the first was for piano and orchestra), perfectly adapted for the pungent, punchy character of the accordion's timbres. Przybylski's Concerto festivo was also adapted by the composer from his work for two performers at one full-scale organ. In five movements, its structure, polyphonic writing, and variety of demeanour suggest a Baroque suite, and the music cleverly pays tribute to the characteristic styles of the genre, though in Przybylski's tonal idiom, amply spiced with dissonance - in this case a generous degree of mordant bitonality. Post-minimalistic pulsations act as propellants, and the piece achieves a good degree of the kind of monumentality that organ concerti for full forces typically strive for, especially in the impressive opening Overture and the rich, stately Sarabande, while the division of the solo rôles between two antiphonally placed positive organs lends a sparkling clarity and spatial precision to the organ parts which more than compensate for the reduction in power of the chamber version. The closing Toccata is a crazed carousel ride in a demented fun-fair, jaunty and disturbing in equal measure. Herdzin's three-movement concerto exudes lightheartedness and gaiety throughout. Structured and proportioned like a neoclassical concerto, it makes frequent diversions into an entirely convincing jazz idiom, swaggering or sultry, in tribute to the present soloist's extensive jazz experience. When in neoclassical mood, it could almost be an unorthodox transcription of an oboe concerto from that period, but the music delights in subverting expectations, not least through the virtuoso antics of the chromatic harmonica. Improvised sections are provided for in each movement, as is a cadenza that puts the instrument through its technical paces. Hugely enjoyable. Klaudiusz Baran (accordion), Roman Perlucki, Hanna Dys (organs), Kacper Smoliński (harmonica), Witold Lutosławski Chamber Philharmonic in Łomża; Jan Miłosz Zarzycki.

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