MOSS D'un silence... Clarinet Concerto
Chances are that Piotr Moss is the most notable living French composer born in Poland. Now in his mid-sixties, he studied with such luminaries as Bacewicz and Penderecki before heading to Paris, where he was guided by the redoubtable Nadia Boulanger, and where he has resided since 1981. The two pieces here confirm a predilection for large-scale forms and an overtly (if not unduly) serious manner of expression. D’un silence (1989) is a concerto for clarinet (with recourse to bass clarinet) and an orchestra rich in timbral and textural possibilities. Its 38 minutes take in several contrasted sections, with the rhythms of the oberek and the waltz often evident. The result is a discursive yet focused entity as affords the soloist prominence within a symphonic conception, and in which Jean-Marc Fessard acquits himself with aplomb.
If the song-cycle Loneliness (2008) is less convincing, this is not through lack of conviction on the composer’s part; rather that the sequence of texts offers little in the way of a sustained or cumulative experience, and Moss’s identity with the pathos of ee cummings’s verse at the expense of the wistful humour informing even his most confessional musings. There is much eloquent expression even so, with Moss’s opting to set the poems in English vindicated by his feeling for their rhythmic scansion – not least as rendered by Jadwiga Rappé, whose English is rarely unidiomatic. The recording is warm and immediate, while the booklet features texts and Polish translations, along with succinct introductions to both pieces. As what will likely be most people’s first contact with the composer, this disc can be cordially recommended.