Friday, March 20, 2009
A classical modernist
My recent post On the road with Lutoslawski prompted me to listen again to the EMI double CD of the Polish composer's music, and it really is a gem. All the orchestral works were recorded with Lutoslawski himself conducting the Polish Chamber and Radio National Symphony Orchestras in 1976 and 1977 by a team from EMI's International Classical Division. The venue for these sessions was the Polish Radio studio in Kraków, and the analogue sound captured by EMI producer David Mottley and balance engineer Neville Boyling is extraordinarily vivid. The outstanding work on the discs is the abrasive 1970 Cello Concerto. It was written for Rostropovich, who recorded it, but is given a superb performance on this double CD by Roman Jablonski. Lutoslawski's two movement String Quartet, which is played by the Alban Berg Quartet, was recorded digitally in 1995 in Evalelische Kirche, Honrath by a team from EMI Electrola. Again a superb performance coupled with demonstration quality sound. EMI's double CD of Lutoslawski's middle-period works is available at bargain prices. Given the state of the classical market and of EMI in particular, I would not hang around if you are tempted. Witold Lutoslawski photographed in interesting company here.
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