Many artists have paid their personal respects to the victims of the attacks on September 11, 2001, and to some extent, their creative tributes should be appreciated in the context of that grim event. Wojciech Kilar was moved to compose his September Symphony partly as a public remembrance, but also as a means of working out his private emotions in a form that had long challenged him. Whether or not this work touches the emotions or provokes thoughts on the tragedy, it is also important to recognize its value as music, and not excuse its faults for the composer's good intentions. Put simply, Kilar's music works best when it is most serious and elegiac, as in the two expansive Largos; it is least successful in the grating, chattering Allegro, which smacks of action film music, and the Moderato finale, which gushes with the sentimentality and bombast of Broadway. Kilar's feelings may be sincere, but his work would have been more effective without the fast movements, which only make the work a simulacrum of symphonic form. The Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Antoni Wit, is quite impassioned and forceful in this live performance, and subtle in the few places where the score permits. The sound quality is fine, despite a few audience noises.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson