JERZY BAUER (b.1936): Cello Concerto No. 2 (Aukso Tychy Chamber Orchestra; Marek Moś)*, For Cello and Piano: 3 Primitivi*, Sonata in One Movement, Passacaglia - Almost in the Old Style, This*. * - First Recordings.
Catalogue Number: 06S070
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOCC 0385
Description: The 2013 concerto is an exceedingly impressive work, as multifaceted as the composer's multi-cultural central European background and musical antecedents, from the 'Polish School' to studies in Paris. There are traces of Stravinsky, Lutosławski, Penderecki (somewhere between the extreme poles (sorry) of his output), and others, but Bauer has his own distinct, modern yet grippingly accessible, voice. The first movement is intense and powerfully expressive. Plunging straight into the argument, it begins with a tense dialogue between soloist and increasingly insistent orchestra. Attempts at extended lyrical expression by the cello are undermined by obsessive orchestral ostinati, and no fewer than five successive climaxes built on pounding rhythmic figures propel the music forward. The finale also involves tutti of even more extreme, almost sonorist dissonance, but now the cello refuses to relinquish its lyrical role, maintaining a passionate line of melody throughout. In between, the slow movement sounds almost conventionally neo-romantic, with the cello's rich singing voice to the fore, backed by the work's most overtly tonal, often pentatonic harmonic and melodic material. The works with piano are succinct, approachable, and demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the cello, which the composer played and of which his son, the soloist here, is an acclaimed player. The Primitivi (1987) are representations of tribal drumming and simple, pentatonic or limited pitch-range melody, of uncertain ethnic derivation, sounding like Stravinskian or Prokofiev-esque primitivism. The Passacaglia (2002) could be by Shostakovich, and This (2006), after Czesław Milosz, is based on variations of the Dies irae. Andrzej Bauer (cello), Jan Krzysztof Broja (piano).