Penderecki’s Varied Works for Chamber Orchestra

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

There’s a huge range of style in these works for smaller forces, from the baroque/romantic pastiche of Three Pieces in Old Style (based on a 1963 film score), through the avant-garde Intermezzo for 24 Strings and the amazingly virtuosic Capriccio for Oboe and String Orchestra, to the later, neo-romantic Serenade and two Sinfoniettas. Even in these slighter, lighter works Penderecki’s music is no laugh riot. The Serenade, for example, contains two movements: a creepy Passacaglia and a sad concluding Larghetto. The First Sinfonietta opens as if in the middle of quoting The Rite of Spring, while the Second Sinfonietta is an expansion of a chamber work for clarinet.

Both of the woodwind soloists, Artur Pachlewski (clarinet) and Jean-Louis Capezzali (oboe), play exceptionally well, especially Capezzali, who exhibits frankly insane agility in the Capriccio. Antoni Wit, as always, is the most reliable possible guide to this repertoire, combining accuracy with warmth and expressive intensity. Somehow he does so without making an ugly sound, and believe me that’s not always easy. Of course it helps that the Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra has a particularly rich-sounding string section. Excellently engineered, this latest release is well up to the high standards of Naxos’ Penderecki series.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: No reference recording

    Three Pieces in the Old Style; Serenade; Sinfoniettas Nos. 1 & 2; Intermezzo for 24 Strings; Capriccio for Oboe & String Orchestra

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