Lutoslawski: Five Songs; Dance Preludes; Three Pieces for Young People; Variations on a Theme of Paganini; Bukoliki; Folk Melodies; Epitaph; Miniature; Two Studies

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Lutoslawski
LABELS: ASV
WORKS: Five Songs; Dance Preludes; Three Pieces for Young People; Variations on a Theme of Paganini; Bukoliki; Folk Melodies; Epitaph; Miniature; Two Studies
PERFORMER: Ann Martin-Davis (piano), Susan Legg (mezzo-soprano, piano), Melanie Ragge (oboe), Duncan Prescott (clarinet)
CATALOGUE NO: CD DCA 1046
Ann Martin-Davis’s playing seems perfectly suited to Lutosrawski’s music. It shines with brilliance, as the two early Studies (1940-41) immediately demonstrate, but it also has much tenderness and delicacy, as the 1945 Folk Melodies show. Everything on this disc, with one exception, dates from Lutostawski’s earlier career. Susan Legg joins Martin-Davis in the two two-piano works, the pithy Paganini Variations of 1943 — intended to raise Polish spirits in the war — as well as a Miniature dating from 1953. Legg also sings: ‘Jedno sfowo, jeden znak’ (One word, one sign), from the five Songs of the Underground Struggle, as well as a pair of charming children’s songs and another folk-influenced piece, ‘I would marry’. There are also the Five Songs from 1956-7, music couched in an altogether different language, as the haunting oscillations of ‘The Sea’ — each note a glistening jewel – make clear. There is more besides: the well-known Dance Preludes for clarinet and piano, and the only late work here, the 1979 Epitaph ‘in memory of Alan Richardson’, for oboe and piano, which though apparently fragmented in structure and gesture sustains a beautiful underlying continuous line of lyrical thought. Everything is exquisitely, and cleanly, played. Stephen Pettitt

Advertisement