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Kilar: Piano Concerto, Etc / Malicki, Wit, Et Al


Release Date: 07/25/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557813   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wojciech Kilar
Performer:  Waldemar MalickiWieslaw Ochman
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw National Philharmonic OrchestraWarsaw National Philharmonic Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The music of this contemporary composer hits many of the right buttons for me. It is well crafted, it has a discernible shape, and it is expressed in a confident and original voice. Because of the sleek appeal of the music, it was not surprising to read that Wojciech Kilar is primarily known as a film composer, with over 100 scores to his credit, mostly in the Polish film industry, but also for such well-known Western movies as Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Roman Polanski’s Death and the Maiden, and Jane Campion’s Portrait of a Lady. His style in those scores, as well as the music on this CD, is essentially post-Romantic, with strong doses of minimalism and Eastern liturgical music (think Górecki and Pärt). Read more />
At the heart of this program is the 1997 Piano Concerto. The work is in three movements, but it is otherwise unconventionally constructed, beginning with a dreamy Andante that is large in scope but gentle in impact. With its metrical regularity and repeated melodic patterns, this is the most overtly minimalist music on the CD. The middle movement is slower still, and shares a Brahmsian melodic quality with the juggernaut-like final movement. Malicki has a firm control over the deceptively simple sounding solo part. The opening work, Bogurodzica, is the most harmonically advanced, with dissonant outbursts of choral writing for this setting of an ancient Polish hymn. It opens and closes with the beating of drums, alluding to a martial atmosphere. The work shares the composer’s predilection for extreme dynamic contrasts with the other two works on the program, and opens so quietly that you might be tempted to crank up the volume, which will put you at the risk of ear damage a few moments later.

Siwa Mgla (“Grey Mist”) and Koscielec are both tone poems, and are the pieces most like “movie music” on the program. Neither work is without merit and even beauty. Siwa Mgla is most compelling when the solo baritone enters, due in no small part to the richly expressive voice of Wieslaw Ochman. In Koscielec (named for a mountain in the Tatra range of Southern Poland), however, the bombast finally overwhelms any subtlety, in a score that would probably work well for a mass-market sci-fi flick.

I have long admired the work of Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic. This is a great Eastern European orchestra, showing off an impressive combination of virtuosity and passion. Both orchestra and conductor contribute immensely to the appeal of Kilar’s music, to which they sound intensely committed.

FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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Works on This Recording

1.
Bogurodzica by Wojciech Kilar
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975; Poland 
Venue:  Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland 
Length: 10 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Language: Polish 
Notes: Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland (10/08/2002 - 10/12/2002) 
2.
Concerto for Piano by Wojciech Kilar
Performer:  Waldemar Malicki (Piano)
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997 
Venue:  Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland 
Length: 25 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland (10/08/2002 - 10/12/2002) 
3.
Mount Koscielec 1909 by Wojciech Kilar
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979; Poland 
Venue:  Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland 
Length: 16 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Notes: Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland (10/08/2002 - 10/12/2002) 
4.
Siwa Mgla by Wojciech Kilar
Performer:  Wieslaw Ochman (Baritone)
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979; Poland 
Venue:  Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland 
Length: 16 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: Polish 
Notes: Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland (10/08/2002 - 10/12/2002) 

Sound Samples

Bogurodzica (Mother of God)
Piano Concerto: I. Andante con moto
Piano Concerto: II. Corale
Piano Concerto: III. Toccata
Siwa mgla (Grey Mist): Siwa mgla (Hoary Fog)
Koscielec 1909

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