“Whispers Of Titans” – GORECKI: Genesis I: Elementi, Op. 19 KORNDORF: In Honour of Alfred Schnittke; String trio (1986) – Goeyvaerts String Trio – Challenge Classics

“Whispers Of Titans” – GORECKI: Genesis I: Elementi, Op. 19 KORNDORF: In Honour of Alfred Schnittke (AGSCH); String trio for violin, viola and violoncello (1986) – Goeyvaerts String Trio – Challenge Classics SACD multichannel CC72713 (5/6/16) [Distr. by Allegro] ****:

Contemporary string music which will thrill adventurous listeners.

The Challenge Classics label is well named, because both these works are challenging contemporary music. Henryk Gorecki was a renowned composer, dying in 2010. His most famous work is his Symphony No. 3, which sold a million copies on CD.

On this disc, we get his string trio Genesis I: Elementi. It’s a dynamic work, and very difficult to play, although the performance here by the Goeyyaerts String Trio is flawless – impressive given the complexity of the music.

The disc also features Korndork’s String Trio for Violin, viola and violoncello, written in 1986. Korndorf’s compositions are divided into two distinct styles. An early modernest approach, and later music which features explorations of tonality. This work falls into the latter period. It seems a more introverted work, and it’s highly emotional and expressive.

The disc is surely benefitted by the SACD format. Especially during the Gorecki, the strings surround the listener and make for a very involving experience. The Korndotf is a more traditional stage presentation, with the strings spread between the front speakers, and the rears giving us the ‘sound’ of the hall. The string sounds are natural, and the recording is set up with microphones set a bit back from the instruments to give a natural environment. I think the recording decisions match the music very well. If the microphones were placed close to the instruments, the recording, I think, would not work as well.

Neither composition is background music. It demands your attention and rewards the listener with a unique musical journey. This is a disc for lovers of contemporary music who like to explore the modern frontiers of classical music. It’s highly recommended!

—Mel Martin

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