Górecki Spoils The Party

Review by: Jens F. Laurson


Artistic Quality: 6

Sound Quality: 9

A disc of chamber music for clarinet, piano, and cello from minimalist Jaan Rääts, Surprised-by-Beauty composer Arvo Pärt, and on-and-off populist composer Henryk Górecki with titles like Kaleidoscopic Etudes (Rääts), Mozart-Adagio (Pärt), and Górecki’s Music of Skylarks looks a promising thing, down to the appealing instrumentation. (Imagine your trepidation if these trios were written for flute, harp, and contrabassoon!) And indeed there’s a good deal of charm to Rääts, and blips of molten beauty (not unlike Alfred Schnittke) to be found in Mozart-Pärt. Although especially from Pärt, one of the poster-boys for making contemporary classical music enjoyable for broader audiences again, you might expect still greater accessibility than he delivers in this stripped-down, laid-bare re-imagining of the Adagio from Mozart’s second piano sonata. (Incidentally, both these works are world-premiere recordings, though the latter only in this particular instrumentation; the 1992 original version had been composed for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Piano Trio.)

So far, so so-so. But Górecki’s 1984 Lerchengesang is repetitive and simple, borderline stupefying and, frankly, annoying over the course of its 40-plus minutes. That’s music that surely looks better on paper than it sounds to the reasonably inclined listener. Your opinions and levels of masochism may differ, of course, in which case you might be intrigued and happy to know that all of pieces–Górecki’s included–are performed with technical aplomb and apparent enthusiasm by clarinetist Patrick Messina, pianist Henri Demarquette, and cellist Fabrizio Chiovetta. A further bonus: excellent liner notes from Jed Distler.

Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

  • Patrick Messina (clarinet); Henri Demarquette (cello); Fabrizio Chiovetta (piano)

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