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Husa: Music For Prague 1968; Penderecki: Sinfonietta; Etc

Release Date: 08/30/1998 
Label:  Vienna Modern Masters   Catalog #: 3023   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Karel HusaKrzysztof PendereckiAlain PerronNancy Van De Vate,   ... 
Performer:  Dorota ImietowskaE. SzczepanskaRobert KabaraGrigori Zhislin
Conductor:  Milos MachekRobert KabaraJosé M. Florèncio Jr.
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic OrchestraCracow Chamber PlayersCracow Polish Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Karel Husa’s Music for Prague 1968, originally scored for symphonic wind band, was inspired by the events in Prague when Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia and crushed the "Prague Spring" which had brought so many new hopes of democratisation and liberalisation. Husa’s piece is obviously a protest work; and, to make his intent quite clear, Husa based most of the music on the celebrated Hussite war song Ye Warriors of God quoted both by Smetana in Ma Vlast and by Karl Amadeus Hartmann in his Concerto Funèbre. Bells also feature prominently reminding us that Prague is also known as the City of One Hundred Towers. Finally the piece’s main thematic material is based on a motif of three chords. The music communicates directly Read more and forcefully, and no wonder indeed that this work is one of the most performed pieces by Husa.

Ferdinand Weiss, whose name is new to me, completed his Relazioni variabili in 1992. This fine work is an attractive orchestral fantasy, roughly in variation form, in several contrasting and neatly characterised sections. Its subtitle "Choreographic scene for orchestra" obliquely refers to the dance-like character of many of the episodes. Beautifully written and well worth having. I really wonder what his other works sound like.

Québec-born Alain Perron is also a new name to me. His Séquences voilées is a dream-like fantasy, scored for comparatively small forces in which the cor anglais features prominently imparting this fine piece with a beautifully nostalgic tone though the central section is a lively, lightly scored Scherzo.

Nancy Van de Vate, the driving force of the VMM series, is first and foremost a composer of no mean achievement with a number of substantial works to her credit. Her Viola Concerto is a beautifully elegiac piece making the best of the viola’s warmly expressive voice. The expert scoring never obscures the viola’s veiled tone, but nevertheless allows for some more animated, thickly scored sections. This beautiful work can stand comparison with the best viola concertos of the 20th Century, such as Walton’s or Bartók’s, and definitely deserves to be much better known.

Penderecki’s earliest works aroused much curiosity and admiration for their new and bold use of orchestral or instrumental forces, their expressive power and their stunning aural imagination. Some time later, however, after the undisputed success of the St. Luke Passion (possibly one of his greatest achievements ever), Penderecki took a stylistic U-turn disconcerting many of his admirers. His Sinfonietta for Strings is the orchestral version of his String Trio (1990/1); and the origin of the Sinfonietta is made quite clear in the opening section in which the violin, the viola and the cello each have a solo. This is a Neo-classical piece that I found somewhat disappointing: the thematic material is rather bland and unmemorable, and its working-out amounts to aimless note-spinning.

Nevertheless, this is one of the finest VMM releases. Performances and recordings are excellent.

-- Hubert Culot, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Music for Prague 1968 by Karel Husa
Conductor:  Milos Machek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969 
Length: 22 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Sinfonietta for Strings by Krzysztof Penderecki
Performer:  Dorota Imietowska (Cello), E. Szczepanska (Viola), Robert Kabara (Violin)
Conductor:  Robert Kabara
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cracow Chamber Players
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990-1991; Poland 
Length: 13 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Séquences voilées by Alain Perron
Conductor:  José M. Florèncio Jr.
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cracow Polish Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 6 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Concerto for Viola by Nancy Van De Vate
Performer:  Grigori Zhislin (Viola)
Conductor:  José M. Florèncio Jr.
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cracow Polish Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990; USA 
Length: 16 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Relazioni variabili by Ferdinand Weiss
Conductor:  José M. Florèncio Jr.
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cracow Polish Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Austria 
Length: 14 Minutes 31 Secs. 

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