Kilar: Grey Mist; Koscielec; Piano Concerto; Mother of God

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COMPOSERS: Kilar
LABELS: Naxos
ALBUM TITLE: Kilar
WORKS: Grey Mist; Koscielec; Piano Concerto; Mother of God
PERFORMER: Waldemar Malicki (piano), Wieslaw Ochman (baritone); Warsaw National Philharmonic Chorus & Orch/Antoni Wit
CATALOGUE NO: 8.557813
This disc represents a good introduction, if one is needed, to the music of Wojciech Kilar (born 1932). You may think you don’t know Kilar’s work, but as he has composed over 100 film scores (including that to Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula), you probably do. At least the disc will reveal a more serious side of a figure who, not surprisingly, divides opinion. If much even of his non-film music has recently tended towards the usual post-modern refuges of minimalism and religion, he was at least being reasonably original when in the 1960s he rejected the avant-garde experimentalism with which he first made a name. Dating from 1976, the stark tone poem Ko´scielec 1909 is the earliest of the four works represented here, and perhaps the most striking.

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Bogurodzica for chorus and orchestra taps into an old Polish hymn for its source, though others (not least Andrzej Panufnik) have done this sort of thing more effectively. But along with Siwa Mgla (‘Grey Mist’), featuring the great Polish singer Wieslaw Ochman, it makes more rewarding listening than the vacuous twiddlings of the 1997 Piano Concerto – well performed (like everything else here) though it is. John Allison