Albany’s release of recent works by Jan Krzywicki captures the unique and coherent voice of this Philadelphia composer at his best. The CD, titled Alchemy, highlights Krzywicki’s expressive and intuitive writing for woodwinds, the wall of sounds he pulls out of the piano, and an impressive blend of soprano voice, string trio, and guitar. Krzywicki’s highly individual style and musical language craft beautiful musical narratives out of mostly dissonant material that have a strong impact on the surface and leave you contemplating their implications.
I first became attracted to Krzywicki’s music through learning and performing his piece Fable for baritone saxophone and piano. I was particularly taken with the narrative structure of Fable: the way the music drew itself out of a simple beginning and built through numerous twists in the story, finally reaching a conclusion that was both dramatic and takes time to mentally digest. As a performer, I was impressed and challenged with Krzywicki’s meticulous attention to expressive detail, especially articulations, including ones that really gave the music an aggressive punch. The range of sounds demanded of the baritone saxophone, starting from nothing and going to the brink, made it one of those pieces I really had to put everything into emotionally and technically.