PAWEL MYKIETYN (b.1971): Piano Concerto, Epiphora for Piano and Tape, 4 Preludes for Piano, 6 Shakespeare Sonnets for Soprano and Piano.
Catalogue Number: 10Q088
Label: CD Accord
Reference: ACD 194-2
Description: An original voice, with a postmodern all-inclusiveness; challenging, yet surprisingly approachable. The Preludes are satisfyingly pianistic, with a clear tonal basis; insistent repetition suggests an offshoot of minimalism, but the wide-ranging harmony does not. Epiphora begins with a resounding electroacoustic explosion, the background radiation from which remains in the form of quiet synthesizer chords throughout, while the piano embarks first on what sounds like a cut-up assembled carelessly from Scarlatti sonatas, leading to a series of imitative episodes between instrument and electronics, finally settling into an obsessive ostinato pattern which ends the work. The Shakespeare settings borrow from Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic styles, now in the vocal part, now in the accompaniment, sometimes layering an angular, modern melodic line over a thoroughly tonal accompaniment, sometimes suggesting Nymanesque minimalism, always presenting the passionate, ambiguous texts in unexpected, illuminating guises. The concerto starts off like a neoclassical allegro, though the solo part is suspiciously fragmented and subject to abrupt shifts of register within phrases, as though a conventional piano part is being deconstructed before our ears. Sudden, intrusive gestures with their own built-in echoes further undermine any sense of belonging within a particualar genre. The second movement does much the same thing, with slow Romantic cliches presented in an ironic, misleadingly new-agey manner, while the finale consists of a frantic series of jump-cuts between gestures apparently borrowed from concerto warhorses throughout music history. No texts. Agata Zubel (soprano), Anna Stempin-Jasnowska (piano), Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Szymon Bywalec.