Most musicians and audience members alike know Henryk Mikolaj Górecki (1933-2010) primarily for his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, which was composed in 1976. That work didn’t gain Gorecki’s current international attention until the 1992 release of the Nonesuch recording, performed by the London Sinfonietta with Dawn Upshaw as soloist. My experience with Gorecki’s music prior to listening to Naxos’ release of Concerto-Cantata included that recording of the Third Symphony, and also his third string quartet …Songs are Sung, written in 1995 for the Kronos Quartet and dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust.
[Read more →]
Pärt Piano Music by Naxos features pianist Ralph van Raat interpreting the Estonian composer’s music spanning over four decades. This retrospective takes us on a stylistic journey that is truly millennial in scope, while remaining reverent in spirit.
The first of the Zwei Sonatinen, Op. 1 (1958), shares much of the language of Pärt’s elder contemporary, Shostakovich, with acrobatic melodies supported by harmonies that become only occasionally dissonant, and then only through linear voice-leading. Ralph van Raat plays the allegro passages with a digital precision characteristic of post-war piano music. He imbues the largo passages, though, with a touching impressionistic quality. The second sonatina (1959) is quite another animal, with a jazzy improvisatory feel, recalling the dizzying flights of Oscar Peterson.
Arvo Pärt - Photograph by K. Kikkas
[Read more →]