ZYGMUNT KRAUZE (b.1938): Polychromy (Music Workshop), Piece for Orchestra No. 1 (Polish Radio Natinal Symphony Orchestra; Arturo Tamayo), String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 (Silesian String Quartet), Tableau vivant (Sinfonia Varsovia; Jan Krenz), Piece for Orchestra No. 2 (Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Andrzej Markowski), Polychromy (gnarwhallaby).
Catalogue Number: 09R069
Description: These works are heavily influenced by Krause's attempt to apply Wladyslaw Strzeminski's theory of Unism to music. Fundamentally, this suggests the idea that any moment in the piece embodies the whole piece, and essentially one could tune in to the piece at any point without diminishing its effect. The listener should not be 'distracted' by effects that stand out in relief from the work, and there is no conflict or narrative progression. This is not to say that there cannot be complexity in the material of which the music is made up, or that it necessarily lacks emotional content. Tableau vivant, for instance, is 'about' the imposition of martial law in Poland in 1981. Like the other pieces here it is made up of very limited material with much repetition of small gestures, but it is clearly a funeral march that radiates outward in cycles of defeat and strident defiance. The composer removed himself from the structural organisation of the second quartet by organising the piece strictly serially, though here the material is more active and atonal than the other pieces, which largely consist of tonal chords and simple, though dissonant, intervals repeatedly held up for minute inspection. The two pieces for full orchestra have a beguilingly sumptuous, sensuous quality, the kind of effect that one can imagine would be achieved by extracting a few chords or phrases at random from Wagner, and slowing them down to a fraction of their original tempo.