Wednesday, 21 December 2016
Penderecki: "Christmas" Symphony / Bruzdowicz: Concertos (1989 compi, rec. '81 and '84)
Being a big fan of Penderecki at his most fearsome, e.g. Threnody, De Natura Sonoris, Utrenja etc, the 2nd Symphony was initially a bit of a letdown for me, as was apparently the case for listeners in the early 80s - where's the nail-biting sheer terror? Not to worry though, as soon as I gave it a chance I found out what a fine, full-bodied work it actually was. Enjoy.
That's only half the disc though, and the remainder is a real treat - one of the very few available recordings of any works by Joanna Bruzdowicz (b. 1943, Warsaw), with a star turn from 'Buddha of the bass' Fernando Grillo. The Concerto for Double-Bass, here in its 1984 premiere, is a brilliantly choppy work that gives the great bassman free rein to saw, rattle and soar over a nicely unsettling ensemble backdrop. Lastly, Olympia records (who are becoming a bit of an obsession for me at the moment, appearing to have been quite the reissue goldmine for Eastern European/Russian obscurities) very kindly give us another Bruzdowicz concerto; a single-movement Violin vehicle, and very good it is too.
Penderecki / Bruzdowicz