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Graham Dwyer
The Daily Yomiuri (Tokyo), October 2001

"On this disc is a selection of the composer's works from his heyday, the 1920s, including such orchestral pieces as the substantial Arcana, three miniature movements of Octandre, the Offrandes for soprano and chamber orchestra, and Integrales. The CD rounds off with Deserts, composed in the 1950s after a long compositional silence and juxtaposing two-track tape with chamber music.

The two lyrical soprano movements of Offrandes (assuredly sung by France's Maryse Castets) are the most approachable works here, while most of the others reflect the musical crisis and search for a new artistic direction that faced the majority of composers in the first three decades of the 20th century.

Apart from a brief snatch of jazz in Integrales, this music is a mass of restless motifs, textures and rhythms set to a strident kaleidoscope of dissonance and timbre. Oddly attractive, though, are the tape movements in the Deserts, offering the kind of shadowy sounds that can be found in the likes of Tan Dun today. There are not many avant-garde composers that do not owe at least a little to this neglected and highly experimental composer. All credit to Naxos and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (under Britain's Christopher Lyndon-Gee) for giving us a chance to hear the works of a 20th-century original."



Robert Baxter
Courier-Post, September 2001

"The huge orchestral score can still provoke listeners, especially when played with the fearless vigor that characterizes the performance...this disc is not for the faint of heart."



Jay Harvey
The Indianapolis Star, September 2001

"Wilson's consistent style and good taste were joined to a nimble touch and fertile imagination."



Stephen Pettitt
, August 2001

"The recording is excellent, the performers by the Polish Radio Symphony gusty and muscular."



Geoffrey Norris
The Daily Telegraph (Australia), August 2001

"This excellent disc on Naxos's budget label emphasises the trailblazing nature of his music in its uncompromising combination of timbres and its juxtaposition of violent, dissonant incident."



David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com

"Play this recording of Arcana next to the recent Boulez/Chicago on DG, and you're in for a big surprise. No, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra isn't Chicago, and Naxos has paid for a recording of great immediacy and clarity of texture by accepting a very dry, attenuated bass. But musically, Christopher Lyndon-Gee blows Boulez away. His Arcana is only about a minute faster, but sounds about ten times more exciting, more dynamic, more rhythmically emphatic, more committed. Here is a conductor who understands what the composer means when he writes a triple forte, and he charts an unerring course from the pounding opening right through the mysterious closing bars.

The other works offer still more evidence of extraordinarily communicative musicianship. Tangy wind sonorities give a playful edge to Octandre's acerbic central movement, and a vocal, human warmth to its outer ones. Deserts, unlike the Boulez version, includes its taped interpolations and explores a stunning sonic landscape in which Lyndon-Gee's contributions sustain the work's atmosphere far more impressively. Integrales reveals greater sensitivity to dynamic gradation than Boulez permits his Chicago players, and Offrandes' mysterious, sensual landscapes still mesmerize despite the dryness of the sound and the close-up focus on the otherwise fine soprano, Maryse Castets. In short, this wholly unexpected surprise of a disc will delight Varese fans. You won't find Chailly's level of polish and sophistication, but Lyndon-Gee's interpretations offer a wholly winning freshness of their own. Now dare we hope for Ameriques from these same forces?"






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12:31:55 PM, 24 September 2014
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