SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

LUTOSLAWSKI: “Orchestral Works Vol. 4” = Symphony No. 1; Partita for Violin and Orchestra; Chain 2 (Dialogue for Violin and Orchestra); Preludia tanczne – Elizabeth Burley, piano/ Michael Collins, clarinet/Tasmin Little, violin /BBC Symphony Orch./ Edward Gardner – Chandos

A welcome performance of the Symphony No. 1 and more in excellent high resolution sound.

Published on May 8, 2013

WITOLD LUTOSLAWSKI: “Orchestral Works Vol. 4” = Symphony No. 1; Partita for Violin and Orchestra; Chain 2 (Dialogue for Violin and Orchestra); Preludia tanczne for Clarinet, Solo Percussion, Harp, Piano and Strings – Elizabeth Burley, piano/ Michael Collins, clarinet/Tasmin Little, violin /BBC Symphony Orch./ Edward Gardner – Chandos multichannel SACD CHSA 5108 (5.0) [4/26/13], 71:02 [Distr. by Naxos] ****:

This newly-released disc from Chandos contains several works by the great 20th century composer, most notably perhaps, his Symphony No. 1 composed from 1941-1947. Some of the Symphony was written under Nazi rule in Poland, and was subsequently banned by the Polish Deputy Minister of Culture, who accused the work of ‘formalism’. The work has beauty and turbulence, reflecting the chaos of that period in Europe.

The disc also contains Partita (1988), Chain 2 - a Dialogue for Violin and Orchestra (1984-85), and the Preludio taneczne (Dance Preludes) dating from 1955. The Partita is a darker dissonant work many years separated from the Symphony No. 1. Chain 2 is also contemporary sounding, as it indeed is, while the Dance Preludes are more traditional and upbeat. Combined, while the works are varied in tone, it makes for an excellent program on one disc.

The selections on this hybrid SACD are performed with precision and emotion, and the sonics have been captured in an excellent digital recording of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, led by Edward Gardner.

This is the centenary year for the composer, and it is praiseworthy that Chandos has been a steady champion of Lutoslawski, whose works are a landmark of 20th century composition. This disc is a rich and varied collection taken from 3 different periods of the composer’s life, and it is recommended both for the performance and the sonics.

—Mel Martin




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