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Album at a Glance

Tonal and ConsonantOrchestralConcerto
Dux Recording Producers Record Label - Dux Recording Producers: "The main line of the label's activity is the production of recordings of classical music. CDs on the DUX label represent the highest artistic standard and are produced using the most up-to-date technologies."
Release date: 2013-08-27


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Górecki: Works for String Orchestra / Rajski Wojciech, Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Sopot


While there are many similarities between the music of Mikołaj Górecki and that of his father, Henryk, the younger Górecki has clearly (and in all likelihood, with a purpose) developed his own distinct sound, producing highly nuanced, interesting and compelling music. This title from the Polish DUX label contains the composer's works for string orchestra. There are six pieces in all, including Three Intermezzos for two Clarinets and String Orchestra. The fine performances are by the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Sopot conducted by Wojciech Rajski.

Mikołaj Górecki was born in Katowice, Poland in 1971. Following years of study with his father at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music, several years of formal training were spent in North America - Banff Alberta, Indiana University and McGill University in Montreal. Mikolaj Górecki now makes his home in Laredo Texas.

I would describe Mikołaj Górecki's music as, within a modern context, tonal and melodic. The music can often be multi-tonal or contain tone clusters, and there are some unpredictable harmonic directions taken (not to mention some ambiguous locations), but the harmonic setting overall satisfies the ear's desire for a tonal center. It can be lyrical, aggressive, playful or stringent. His ideas are quite original and engaging on many levels; his idiomatic writing for strings is very effective.

As happens so often with a great recording, I wish I could share so much of the music with you - if you enjoy the sample, I suggest you buy the album! The program opens with the Concerto Notturno for Violin and String Orchestra, with violin soloist Piotr Plawner. The opening movement is meltingly lovely, but alas, I don't think it represents how dissonant the composer's music can be. Instead, with the kind permission of Dux, I've supplied the third movement of this same work, which contains many examples of Górecki's effective use of multi-tonality and tone clusters. This work, along with the Divertimento and especially Three Fragments for String Orchestra, I've enjoyed the most, but after listening to the entire hour of music many times, I don't feel there's a weak composition here, and am very interested in hearing more of Mikołaj Górecki's music.