PENDERECKI Chamber Works
Most of the works on this disc are relatively recent but it begins with the highly enjoyable Three Miniatures for clarinet and piano, which date from 1956. Their concision of utterance is something that one might wish the composer had retained in some of his later music; but that is not a criticism I would make particularly of the works included here, all of which, with the exception of the Sextet, are concentrated and of brief duration.
There are virtuoso presents to performers, such as the Capriccio per Radovan (2012), written for the dedicatee of Penderecki’s Horn Concerto (2008), Radovan Vlatkovic´, and Per Slava (2008), for Rostropovich, and other gifts and tributes. The Prelude for solo clarinet, for example, was written in 1987 as a gift to Paul Patterson (the composer’s name has been accidentally omitted in the English translation of Marcin Krajewski’s detailed booklet-notes but it is there in the Polish), all outstandingly performed by these six Polish musicians who come together in the substantial Sextet, completed in 2000. This is an intriguing and unusual work, new to me. Krajewski rightly points out its connection with Schubert’s Octet, Beethoven’s Septet and, chiefly, Shostakovich. Much of the material sounds like a distant echo of the Russian composer although it is put to quite different use in general, though some obsessive moments in the first movement and the dance-like material of the second are sufficient to suggest a deliberate homage.
These fine performances have been excellently recorded at the European Music Centre in Lusawice, and heard together in this way cast an unusual and fascinating light on Penderecki’s work. Highly recommended.