LYATOSHYNSKY: Symphony No 3, Op. 50. Grazhyna, Op. 58
Bouemouh Symphony Orchestra / Kiri Karabits, cond.
CHANDOS SACD CH CHSA 5233 TT: 65:23
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APOSTAL: Zehn Variationen über ein Eigenes Thema., Op. 1. Kubiniana, Zehn Klavierstücke, Op. 13. Sechzig Schemen Nach Zeichnungen von Alfred Kubin, OpOp 13a.
Thérese Malengreau, piano
BIS SACD 2405 TYT: 71:17
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DUSAPIN: Wenn Du Dem Wind for mezzo-soprano and orchestra). Aufgang (violin concerto). À Quia (piano concto).
Natascha Petrinsky, mezzo-soprano. Carolin Widmann, violin. Nicolas Hodges, piano. Orchestre Natiohal De Pays de la Loire / Pascal Rophé, cond.
BIS SACD 2262 TT: 78:58
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Ukrainian composer Boris Lyatoshynsky (1895 - 1968) studied with Gliere, and was recognized as the most important Ukrainian composer of his time, respected as a teacher as well. He wrote five symphonies, various other symphonic works, a "music drama" called The Golden Ring, the opera Shchors, and varied chamber works. However, his music has mostly been neglected and there are few recordings. This fine new disk offers two of his major works in multi-channel audio. The conductor is Kirill Karabits leading the Bournemouth Symphony of which for more than a decade has been Music Director. Symphony No. 3 was composed in 1951 but was consided to be anti-Soviet. After the composer rewrote the final movement, officials approved, and its official premier took place December 1955 in Leningrad with Yevgeny Mravinky on the podium.The symphony contrasts tragedy and despair of World War II with hope and and reconciliation. It is a dramatic work with many brass fanfares and lush orchestral textures. Grazhyna was one of Lyatoshynski final works, written to commemorate the centenary of the death of poet, essayist and political writer Adam Mickiewicz (1789 - 1755) considered to be Poland's most important literary figures. Grazyna describes the heroic life of the mythical Lithuanian noblewoman who opposed the invading Order of the Teutonic Knights. The 19-minue symphonic ballad describes action of the poem, outlined in detail in program notes. We cn be sure these performances do total justice to this rtare music, and the recording, made May 2018 in Dorset's The Lighthouse, Poole, offers excellent audio.

German Astrian-born composer Hans Erich Apostel (1901 - 1972) is another musician banned by the Nazis. Belgian pianist Thérèse Malengreau here presents three of his major works for solo piano. Apostel composed a considerable amount of chamber music and some of it has been recorded. Music on this new disk often was inspired by Apostel's reaction to artwork by of Otto Kokoschka and Alfred Kubin. Thérèse Malengreau has a particular interest in the relationship between music and the visual arts which explans her focusing on this music. She seems to specialize in obscure reperory and has made seval recordings of it. Her first disk for BIS features three major works by Apostel, two of them premiere releases. Program notes describe this music and what is represents for the composer. As much of this music reflects the composer's reaction to artwork, it would seem logical that program notes could include some samples, but there are none. Doubtless Malengreau gives dedicated performance of this music, but there is nothing here that I would choose to hear again.

French composer Pascal Dusapin (b. 1955) is one of the leading avant-gard composers of our time. His music shows the influence of Varèse and Xenakis. a warning for the unadventurous. Dusapin has received many awards and prizes. His music often is marked by microtonality, often achieved through integration of micro-glissandi and micro-intervals (intervals of less than one semitone). The result often is a very different sound. He has written nine operas, orchestral works and chamber music. In spite of his recognition on the contemporary music scene, his music seldom is recorded. This new disk contains three major works beginning with Wenn Du Dem Wind, three scenes from his opera Penthesilea. A mezzo-soprano is three different characters. Much of the music is sprechstimme, spoken as well as sung; Natasha Petrinsky's voice is unpleasant, and she makes some decidedly unattractive sounds. The work opens and ends with a quiet brief interlude for harp which I imagine will be the only listenable part for most. . The other two works are concertos for violin and piano. The violin concerto must be very difficult to play, but then who could tell if there were mistakes? Both concertos are challenging listening, and there is nothing on this release that I wish to experience again. The recording was made July 2017 in La Cité des Congrès in France. Engineers have done their work well. Approach with extreme caution!

R.E.B. (April 2020)

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