WOJCIECH KILAR: September Symphony; Lament for a cappella choir

by | May 24, 2005 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

WOJCIECH KILAR: September Symphony; Lament for a cappella choir –
Chor Filharmonii Narodowej/Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of
Narodowej/Henryk Wojnarowski – Accord ACD 130-2 (Distr. by Universal),
54:47 ****:

This important import presents
a major work by the Polish composer known for his many film scores. It
is his own reaction to the tragedy of September 11, and in several ways
I found it more touching and worthwhile listening than the recent work
on the same theme by John Adams. Kilar says the event was a stronger
shock to him because he grew up on American culture from Mickey Mouse
to John Cage. In an interview provided in the note booklet he mentions
similar works by other Polish composers such as Panufnik’s Tragic
Overture (for the Warsaw uprising of WWII), and Penderecki’s Trenody to
the Victims of Hiroshima.

Kilar’s style is directly accessible, with consonances, wonderful
harmonies and a good feeling for how long repetitions can be extended
without becoming annoying. There are many ostinatos in the first
movement, which serves as a sort of introduction to the second and
third. The latter shows the film score side of the composer as well as
his fascination with things American. There are reminders of such
echt-American-sounding composers as Barber and Schuman, and a motive
from America The Beautiful. The tight-lipped might call this movement
kitsch but I frankly loved it. In the Moderato finale the Hollywoodish
superficiality and the serious more chromatic material – which have
been kept separate previously – come together and permeate one another.

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