ANDRZEJ DZIADEK (b.1957): Symphony No. 2 “Te Deum” (Polish Radio Choir Kraków, National Polish Radio Symphony Orchesra; Stanislav Macura), Poem for Orchestra (Polish Radio and TV Large Symphony Orchestra Katowice; Krzysztof Dziewięcki), Violin Concerto (Krzysztof Bąkowski [violin], Polish Radio Large Symphony Orchestra Katowice; Jarosław Lipke).
Catalogue Number: 09X052
Description: Dziadek is a modern composer with strong ties to tradition - specifically, Romanticism. His neo-Romantic idiom draws on developments from the mid-19th century through the opulent late flowering in the early 20th, and is thus resolutely tonal. The symphony is a most impressive work of monumental, granitic character. It was originally written as a setting of the Te Deum in 2000, and expanded into the form of a single-span symphony two years later, with the addition of a powerful, looming orchestral introduction of nearly 9 minutes before the first thunderous choral entry. The whole piece is predominantly dark, stormy, and full of awe and terror; rather than jubilation, the message seems to be "We praise thee, O God … because Judex crederis esse venturus - we believe that thou shalt come to be our judge" (cf. the most terrifying passage of Havergal Brian's setting of the same text in the Gothic Symphony). Intense seriousness of purpose seems to be a Dziadek trademark; the violin concerto is unrelievedly melancholy, dark, even gloomy, throughout, and contains no fast music apart from a few flourishes - and yet somehow it works, and never descends into bathos, any more than do Pettersson’s symphonies (or for that matter, his violin concerti). The music's concentration is remarkable; the soloist leads the argument, transforming the homogeneous material in a palpably directional sequence of metamorphoses which are then taken up in partnership with the orchestra. After what would be the (unusually subdued) first movement cadenza, if the concerto were structured that way, the music begins to take on a more lofty, heroic, if no less tragic, mood, and the "last movement cadenza" at least offers a degree of extroversion. Finally, though, the work subsides into a kind of ethereal leave-taking. The Poem is the most straightforwardly tonal piece here, and is clearly an homage to 19th century tone poems; the central allegro episode is first cousin to Tchaikovsky's Romeo or Francesca. The work abounds in changes of mood - dramatic, bucolic, lyrical, humorous - strongly suggesting a narrative program of some sort, though no program is given; perhaps the listener is invited to supply their own. An oddly incongruous "1920s nightclub scene" in which some kind of epiphany seems to occur, to be abruptly truncated at the end supports this theory.