JOANNA BRUZDOWICZ (b.1943): Symphony No. 2 “Concerto for Orchestra”, Piano Concerto, Concertino for Piano and Orchestra “in memoriam Władysław Szpillman”.

Catalogue Number: 01T010

Label: Acte Préalable

Reference: AP0389

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: Bruzdowicz has an approachable style, melded from several distinct idioms, which she sometimes, disconcertingly, has no problem with presenting in succession rather than blended in the moment. This approach is displayed to good advantage in the succinct little single-span Symphony from 2007. Impressive Messiaenic chords and Romantic gestures with something of the film score about them rub shoulders with linear, dissonant material that might have occurred to Lutosławski, and passages of breezy, almost jazzy neo-romantic appeal. This is not so very surprising; she studied with Messiaen, and writes film music alongside music for the concert hall. The work is in three distinct sections; an urgent, powerful 'first movement', an imposing and tragic 'slow movement' and a fleet finale. The Concertino was written in memory of Władysław Szpilman (the Pianist in Polanski's film of that name) to whom Bruzdowicz had been introduced by her teacher, Kazimierz Sikorski. The two-movement work tends toward the neo-Romantic end of Bruzdowicz' stylistic spectrum, and is mostly elegiac and lyrical in mood, though it is not without its moments of passion and urgency. The movement titles; "Like a Song" and "A Sad Thought" reflect the nature of the music; the first constantly returns to its melodic theme like a refrain while the second, introduced by a cadenza like a sad pealing of bells, whips up a stormy climax before the funereal bells return in the orchestra before a brief, optimistic finale. The substantial three-movement concerto is a much earlier work - 1975 - but the ingredients of the composer's idiom are similar, though like many composers there are signs of 'mellowing' with age; the modernistic elements predominate in this work, though the overall dramatic structure remains emotionally compelling. This would make a logical companion piece to Lutosławski's much better known concerto; overall the works don't sound especially alike, but the contrast of almost Chopinesque eloquence and elegance in the solo part with the dense, dissonant polyphony of the orchestral textures, sometimes apparently including aleatoric passages, marks a certain similarity of concept. Tomasz Jocz (piano), Podkarpacka Filharmonia Symphony Orchestra “Artur Malawski”, Rzesów; Łukasz Wódecki.

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