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Osias Wilenski: Triptych

Release Date: 02/23/2010 
Label:  Navona   Catalog #: 5824   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Osias WilenskiUnspecified
Performer:  Dominika HanovaIgor KopytMarvin PavlikVit Muzik,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

WILENSKI String Quartet No. 2 1. Triptych. 2 Diversions 3. 1 Vit Muzik, Igor Kopyt (vn); 1 Dominika Hanova (va); 1 Marvin Pavlik (vc); 2 Osias Wilenski (pn); 3 David Morales, David Rejano, Luis Read more Bellver (tbn) NAVONA NV5824 (57:45)

I was not familiar with the work of Osias Wilenski before now, but I became intrigued by his fascinating and varied biography. His life story includes a career as a composer and concert pianist, followed by an abrupt switch to cinema and television direction. In the mid 1970s he returned to the music profession, and again composition took center stage. A native of Argentina, he has resided principally in Spain for many years.

The string quartet opens with a clear succession of entrances by each of the four voices, with the same easily identified, exclamatory motive. There is some allegiance to the second Viennese school here, yet there is classical clarity of argument that is rare in this style (save perhaps in some middle and late Schoenberg works). This may be the result of a lineage that included early studies with Erwin Leuchter, himself a pupil of Berg. The language is generally atonal, though definitely not serial, and the composer himself alludes to a tonal center of C. While modern in sound, the composer is unmistakably tinkering with traditional classical forms, including the standard four-movement sequence. The overriding texture of the first movement is polyphonic, and themes are stated with objective precision.

Doleful lyricism is the central concern of the second movement, and the third movement brings a traditional sense of a scherzo to play, in spirit if not in language. The finale unfolds in mostly high spirits, and his unusual fecundity of melodic invention is impressive.

Triptych for piano again shows an overriding concern for centrality of characterful melodic gestures (including ostinatos), though the mood is more foreboding and sinister than in the quartet. The final movement continues the spirit of the earlier movements, though in variation form, and concludes with references to the opening movement.

There are not many works for three trombones, but surely Diversions must be one of the more notable. It brims with many references to the past, including a quotation in polyphony from the Medieval era in the first movement. The second includes a comically deformed paraphrase from a Chopin polonaise. The stylistic variety continues in the last two movements, and the three players are in complete command throughout, most impressively in powerful unisons in the finale.

This recording was a notably pleasant surprise, with top-rank performances of uniformly intriguing music. Wilenski is in the sunset of his career, but let’s hope that more of his fine work finds its way to disc.

FANFARE: Michael Cameron
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Works on This Recording

String Quartet No. 2 by Osias Wilenski
Performer:  Dominika Hanova (Viola), Igor Kopyt (Violin), Marvin Pavlik (Cello),
Vit Muzik (Violin)
Written: 2007 
Venue:  Olomouc, Czech Republic 
Length: 12 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Triptych, for piano by Osias Wilenski
Performer:  Osias Wilenski (Piano)
Written: 1989 
Date of Recording: 2008 
Venue:  Transvanguard Studios in Barcelona, Spai 
Length: 3 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Diversions, for 3 trombones by Osias Wilenski
Performer:  David Morales (Trombone), Luis Bellver (Trombone), David Rejano (Trombone)
Written: 1986 
Date of Recording: 2008 
Venue:  Transvanguard Studios in Barcelona, Spai 
Length: 3 Minutes 11 Secs. 

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