August 27, 2011 12:12 am

Lucy Crowe, Toby Spence and Christopher Purves: Lutoslawski

A superb anthology featuring the Polish composer’s orchestral music

This is a superb follow-up to the CD of the same composer’s orchestral music released by Chandos a year ago, again featuring the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner. Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994), Polish by birth but international in outlook, was one of the 20th century’s musical saints, a composer of integrity and individuality, a conductor of no mean skill and a charming man to interview.

What comes across in this anthology is that he wrote just as beguilingly for voice as for orchestra, partly because his models were French. In Silesian Triptych and Chantefleurs et Chantefables, two soprano song-cycles beautifully sung by Lucy Crowe, Ravel and Szymanowski lie in the background, underlining the luminous, quasi-magical precision of Lutoslawski’s inheritance. Les Espaces du sommeil, premiered by Fischer-Dieskau, is a dark dreamscape hauntingly captured by Christopher Purves, while Toby Spence underlines the Britten-esque associations of Paroles tissées, written for Peter Pears and evocative of the happier aspects of his vocalism.

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Andrew Clark

With music ranging from youth to old age, the disc adds up to a fascinating traversal of Lutoslawski’s style.

Lucy Crowe, Toby Spence and Christopher Purves

Lutoslawski: works for solo voice and orchestra

(Chandos)

5 stars

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