Repression and censorship; optimism and freedom; renewed constraints. If this sounds like a now all too familiar story of political progress achieved and then reversed, then this stunning survey of chamber works by two of Poland’s leading post-war composers suggests that music was there to bear witness to each twist and turn of the tale.
From the post-Stalin thaw of the 1950s and 1960s to the triumphant re-establishment of democracy near century’s end, these vital utterances range from the exploded intensities of Penderecki’s Three Miniatures to the lean, focused expressive charge of Lutosławski’s Partita and the millennial anxieties of Penderecki’s Violin Sonata No 2.
On their first recording with Delphian Records, Michael Foyle and Maksim Štšura transmit every nuance, while giving these works new life as a statement of intent for virtues so unwavering as to seem like a reproach to the inconstancies of political life – alert collaboration, reciprocity, freedom, precision, joy.</p>
"Spanning almost half a century, this programme is illuminating in its contrasts and for what it reveals about these two very different figures…Foyle and Štšura handle it with commanding aplomb…[Penderecki’s] Sonata No. 1 is his first published work yet highly accomplished – and enjoyable thanks to this Scottish-Estonian duo’s musical intelligence."
"It was an astute move of the Foyle-Štura Duo to combine the outputs for violin and piano by Lutosławski and Penderecki, as numerous points of similarity and contrast – between both their respective works as well as those of each composers – are afforded by the comparison…[They] project at determined cohesion."