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Mahler: Kindertotenlieder
Christianne Stotijn / Orchestre de Paris / Daniel Harding
live.. on CD-R

Of the several performances I heard (to be honest, I don't listen to Mahler's songs much) this is the only one in the last song the sound world miraculously and magically transforms into a children's world. Surely thanks to Daniel Harding. Ms. Stotijn's voice is very crowded. For that reason I was avoiding her most of the time but in these songs she is superb and dramatic.
 

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Stanisław Skrowaczewski: Concerto Nicolò (Concerto for the Piano Left Hand and Orchestra), Concerto for Orchestra
Gary Graffman
Minnesota Orchestra, Stanisław Skrowaczewski

Stan was a outstanding composer, in addition to being a truly great conductor. This disc is a new arrival to me, and I am immediately quite taken with it. Aside from the imaginative and superbly crafted music and totally idiomatic performances, the recording quality is absolutely sensational! It is audiophile-demonstration class.

The Concerto Nicolò, premiered in 2003, takes as its germinal motif a five-note sequence borrowed from the famous Paganini 24th Caprice. Yes, that one: the commissioner of the work happened to be a Paganini scholar, so there it is. The sequence is frequently recognizable, but I must say Skrowaczewski makes imaginative use of it, and the work is brilliantly orchestrated with a highly compelling dramatic arch. That it includes no indulgent misuses of the Dies irae tune, and no flagrantly sappy, farcically "emotional" glurge at its center, this piece easily becomes my favorite-ever work involving the Paganini Caprice and a piano.

Skrowaczewski's Concerto for Orchestra from 1999 is absolutely the orchestral tour de force one would expect. Stan's musical language is supremely engaging, clear and direct with zero pretense that the musical developments of the 20th century never happened, or, worse, were some kind of mistake. And again his command of the orchestra is top shelf, with a powerful imagination at work in every detail.

I am pleased to enthusiastically recommend this album. Anyone who is a fan of contemporary Polish composers such as Panufnik, Lutosławski, Penderecki, etc. will find this music very appealing.

Agreed on every count!

Around 2015, friends were urging me to get to Stan's London concerts, but I couldn't be bothered - I'd never heard of him. Soon I picked up his Bruckner 6 and was knocked sideways! I realised that he was a very special musician. And then before I had a chance to get along to a concert, he passed away in early 2017.

I ended up buying every recording available, including his own compositions, which I will say are excellent. The concerto for orchestra is a particular favourite. As you say, a real orchestral tour de force!

An outstanding CD......
 
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