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Penderecki: Viola Concerto; Cello Concerto

Album Summary

>Penderecki, Krzysztof : Concerto for Viola
>Penderecki, Krzysztof : Concerto for Cello no 2
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

Penderecki's concertos are amongst the most communicative, emotionally charged, and important works of the second half of the twentieth century. The Second Cello Concerto was written for Rostropovich and its exploration of Romantic intensity reflected a change in Penderecki's musical language. Its rich harmonies and dramatic power ensure unflagging interest. Opening with an expressive soliloquy for the soloist, the brooding and complex Viola Concerto incorporates a broad range of techniques from the composer's maturity into a taut and compact time-span. Grigori Zhislin has long been associated with this work, whilst Antoni Wit is one of the composer's greatest champions, whose 'authoritative insight' (American Record Guide) has been acknowledged in the Symphony No. 3 and Threnody on Naxos 8.554491.

Antoni Wit is traveling throughout the orchestral music of Penderecki to Naxos and the truth is that the addresses with a domain and an extraordinary conviction. Here are two Russian soloists, also fully solvent, Grigori Zhislin (who began playing the viola, not just the violin, at the request precisely Penderecki, debuting with the work here recorded) and Tatjana Vassiljeva (winner in 2001 precisely Contest Rostropovich, who was it that brought him international fame). Making sound is superb and the album is enjoyable from start to finish. This is contemporary music that it is impossible to be afraid.

MusicWeb International
Sound quality is very good... .for anyone new to Penderecki, but perhaps familiar with Shostakovich's symphonies and concertos, this disc is an ideal place to begin what should be a thrilling exploration.

Culture Catch
Naxos's Penderecki series is Wit's finest legacy so far: Poland's best living conductor at the service of its top living composer. Cellist Vassiljeva and especially violist Zhislin also excel here.

American Record Guide
These two concertos make a good program... the... release is beautifully recorded...

the emotional arc of the music - is absolutely masterful, moving in and out of instability, ennui, and aggression, and always with no section outstaying its welcome ... No complaints at all about the performances ... The recorded sound is fine, well within current audio standards.

Costumer/Personal Review
Getting back to some sort of reality - I think this is just about the most instantly accessible album by Penderecki I've come across - and would recommend it on the strength of this alone - it would make a gentle introduction to a very complex and sometimes downright difficult composer who is well worth the effort getting to know. Further than that, the sound quality is top notch and the performance is great too. If I were the star-awarding type, I'd have no hesitation in giving this one five.

Grigori Zhislin plays with fervor and emotional involvement, and Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic provide strong and nuanced backup. They are equally fine accompanists for Tatjana Vassiljeva in Penderecki's Cello Concerto No. 2 (1982), which was written for Mstislav Rostropovich.

Penderecki employs much of the same dissonant counterpoint and modified tonality that Bartók, Shostakovich, and other tonal modernists used, so his style is quite identifiable within the mainstream of 20th century concert music: moderately daring but recognizable within the symphonic tradition. This familiarity allows violist Grigori Zhislin and cellist Tatjana Vassiljeva a high degree of expressive freedom and immediacy that audiences can respond to, and Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra are able to provide accompaniment that communicates and enhances the soloists. All the same, the mood of these concertos is quite somber and serious, and the harsh clusters Penderecki employs in the early stage of the Cello Concerto No. 2 may remind listeners that this is, after all, the composer of the Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, and he occasionally shows his roots. Naxos provides fine reproduction in these 2008 studio recordings from Warsaw Philharmonic Hall.

Fine performances...

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland (09/02/2008-09/05/2008).


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Works Details

>Penderecki, Krzysztof : Concerto for Viola
  • Performer: Grigori Zhislin (Viola)
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Notes: Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland (09/02/2008-09/05/2008)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1983

>Penderecki, Krzysztof : Concerto for Cello no 2
  • Performer: Tatjana Vassiljeva (Cello)
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Notes: Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland (09/02/2008-09/05/2008)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1982