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Cat. No. CHSA 5082 Price: £11.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHSA 5082 - Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works, Volume I
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Available From: 15 September 2010
Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works, Volume I

Edward Gardner, the music director of English National Opera and an exclusive Chandos artist, has completed the first disc in a projected Chandos series devoted to Polish music. Also his first purely orchestral CD for Chandos, the disc presents music by one of Poland’s most important twentieth-century composers, Witold Lutoslàwski, including perhaps his most famous work, the Concerto for Orchestra (1950 – 54), a brilliant and highly attractive work.

Also included is the Third Symphony (1981 – 83) which was given its world premiere by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Georg Solti, on 29 September 1983. Many passages employ the by then well-developed technique which the composer called ‘limited aleatorism’, according to which each individual orchestral musician is asked to play a phrase or repeated fragment in his own time – rhythmically independent of the other musicians. During these passages very little synchronisation is specified: events that are coordinated include the simultaneous entrances of groups of instruments, the abrupt end of some episodes, and some transitions to new sections. By this method the composer retains
control of the work’s architecture and of the realisation of the performance, while simultaneously facilitating complex and unpredictable polyphony.

In later years Lutoslawski developed musical forms that combine unrelated strands of music, whose short, discrete sections overlap one another like the links of a chain. Elements of this method can be found in many of his earlier works, but the first to emphasise it was Chain 1 of 1983 for fourteen instruments, written for the London Sinfonietta. Chain 2, subtitled ‘Dialogue for Violin and Orchestra’, followed in 1985. The last work to adopt this approach was Chain 3 (1986) for large orchestra. Broadly speaking, the composition’s ten minute span falls into three sections, of which the first provides a particularly clear, readily audible example of the chain technique. After a quick opening flourish, Lutoslawski presents a sequence of twelve overlapping ideas, each characterized by a particular mode of expression, and each vividly coloured by a few instruments playing as a unit. For example, chimes, violas, and flutes together form the first ‘link’; this is overlapped by a quartet of double-basses; these in turn overlap a xylophone and three violins, and so on. The last of the twelve links in this musical chain thicken into a kind of general babble among the winds, which marks the first stage in the work’s larger form. Chain 3 was written for the San Francisco Symphony which gave the first performance, conducted by the composer, on 10 December 1986 in Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.
 

Reviews

             Multichannel Disc of the Month
“In sound and performance, perhaps the definitive recording of these magnificent works.” *****

Steven Ritter – AudiophileAudition.com – 21 June 2012

 “…orchestra and conductor are utterly convincing in everything in the programme…”

Barry Forshaw – North London News/London 24 – February 2012


             Repertoire ****      Sound ****
Wie - Fono Forum - October 2011

“…The main attraction of this new release is its clear, colorful SACD sound, showing off the refined playing of this fine orchestra … “

Allen Gimbel – American Record Guide – March/April 2011

“Judging by the number of performances and recordings of Lutoslawski’s music since his death, his reputation remains deservedly high; this outstanding Chandos disc comes as
the first of a new series of his orchestral works. It is most welcome, for Gardner has the measure of these outwardly similar but essentially different scores… Three important works in Lutoslawski’s output, therefore, launch this series; if the succeeding issues are as good as this in terms of interpretative and recording qualities, it should be an unbeatable set.”
Robert Matthew-Walker – Classical Recordings Quarterly – Winter 2010

“The BBC Symphony brings its richness and majesty to Lutoslawski’s colourful, clever and compelling music. …In particular conductor Edward Gardner emphasizes Lutoslawski’s gifts for counterpoint and contrast; ever layer is clearly audible, each musical voice brilliantly defined.”

Julian Day – limelightmagazine.com.au – 5 April 2011

“…With detailed but immediate SACD sound …, the disc can be warmly recommended …”
 
Richard Whitehouse
 

International Record Review - December 2010

“…this album offers Chandos’ luxuriant SACD sound, and Edward Gardner and the BBCSO’s familiarity with the considerable technical demands of these works.”  ****

 Phillip Sommerich

 

Classical Music Magazine - November 2010

                "Editor’s Choice”
“Making a case for Lutoslawski in advance of his centenary.”  “…This performance sets the seal on a disc that leaves one eager for its successors.”

Arnold Whittall

Gramophone - December 2010

             Performance ****      Recording *****
                                    
Martin Cotton
 

BBC Music Magazine - December 2010

           ****
Andrew Clark

 

Financial Times - 16 October 2010

“Exciting performances of exciting music.” ****

                                                    
Paul Driver
 

The Sunday Times - 24 October 2010

“…Gardner’s performance is impressive – vivid, incisive and well controlled…”  ****
Andrew Clements


The Guardian - 15 October 2010

 

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