Classical Music Home

The World's Leading Classical Music Group

Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?
Keyword Search
in
 
  Classical Music Home > Music News

Hidden Treasure From Poland

November 21, 2008


Valentina Lisitsa performing with the Warsaw Philharmonic under Antoni Wit at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, on Monday 17 November 2008.

Performing in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is presumably a treat for soloists, chamber musicians and singers. The space and the sound of the room are ideal for creating a sense of intimacy. But for an orchestra of any appreciable size the hall is a risky proposition; the dry, flat acoustics are unforgiving of any flaw in execution or intonation.

The latest orchestra to have its mettle tried by the auditorium was the Warsaw Philharmonic, which arrived on Monday night during its East Coast tour. Founded in 1901, the ensemble is probably best known in the United States for its many recordings on the budget label Naxos. Under the leadership of Antoni Wit, its music director since 2002, the Warsaw Philharmonic has recorded valuable series devoted to the works of prominent Polish composers like Witold Lutoslawski and Krzysztof Penderecki, as well as representative works by Henryk Gorecki and other contemporary figures.

One of the orchestra’s most recent Naxos offerings featured three fascinating symphonic poems by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz, a Polish composer from the turn of the 20th century who adopted a style based on Tchaikovsky and Strauss before his death in an avalanche at 32. Opening the program here was a work not found on the orchestra’s CD: Serenade (Op. 2), a charming string-orchestra work from 1897, when Karlowicz was studying in Berlin.


Antoni Wit conducts all six of Karlowicz’s symphonic poems on two Naxos CDs:

Vol 1 - Stanislaw i Anna Oswiecimowie, Rapsodia litewska, Epizod na maskaradzie
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
8.570452
Vol 2 - Powracajace fale, Smutna opowiesc & Odwieczne piesni
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
8.570295


The rich, handsomely blended sound of the Warsaw strings immediately indicated that the orchestra had nothing to fear from the hall’s acoustics. Mr. Wit affectionately molded and shaped phrases in this slight, frothy work; especially appealing was a third-movement waltz that sounded ready made for a Vincente Minnelli ice-skating sequence.

With Liszt’s flamboyant Piano Concerto No. 1 came an appropriately extroverted soloist, Valentina Lisitsa. The work’s most ferocious passages apparently held no fear for her; a note or two fell by the wayside, but her technical skills largely served her well. Ms. Lisitsa’s range of colors and expressive shadings was consistently impressive; in the second movement she executed trills with an attention-grabbing precision.

Mr. Wit’s interpretation of Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 held no surprises. His plainspoken, deeply satisfying account benefited from warm, mellow strings and robust brass. A rousing response from the audience drew three encores: Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance in C (Op. 46, No. 1); the “Hurra Polka” from Lutoslawski’s “Little Suite”; and an ebullient rendition of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” — intended, Mr. Wit said from the stage, “to celebrate your new president, Barack Obama.”

- Steve Smith, The New York Times, 18 November 2008



Other Naxos recordings of music from the Warsaw Philharmonic’s New York concert include:

NEW RELEASE!
Liszt Piano Concerto
No 1

Nebolsin, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Petrenko
8.570517
MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition
LISZT: Piano Concerto No 1

Peng Peng, Nashville Symphony & Orchestra, Slatkin
8.570716
Brahms Symphony No 2
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Alsop
8.557429
Dvořák Slavonic Dances
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Kosler
8.550143
Lutosławski Little Suite
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Wit
8.553169



Antoni Wit Biography & Discography

Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra Biography & Discography

Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra Biography & Discography

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Biography & Discography










 
    2014
     Archive
 
    2007
    Archives
 
    Archives
 
    2014
     Archive
 
    2014
     Archive



Famous Composers Quick Link:
Bach | Beethoven | Chopin | Dowland | Handel | Haydn | Mozart | Glazunov | Schumann | R Strauss | Vivaldi
6:27:52 AM, 20 September 2014
All Naxos Historical, Naxos Classical Archives, Naxos Jazz, Folk and Rock Legends and Naxos Nostalgia titles are not available in the United States and some titles may not be available in Australia and Singapore because these countries have copyright laws that provide or may provide for terms of protection for sound recordings that differ from the rest of the world.
Copyright © 2014 Naxos Digital Services Ltd. All rights reserved.     Terms of Use     Privacy Policy
-212-
Classical Music Home
NOTICE: This site was unavailable for several hours on Saturday, June 25th 2011 due to some unexpected but essential maintenance work. We apologize for any inconvenience.