Tadeusz Baird: Orchestral Works

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This CD contains 5 significant works from this avant-garde Polish composer's late period. Arguably his best-known composition, the "Psychodrama for Orchestra" (1972) opens with traumatic stabs and whipcracks, followed by small anxious interior drones and tremolos that gradually develop into larger complexes of on-rushing sound. Hesitant tone clusters turn into aggressive, accented brass passages. Although there is no explicit programme to the work, this vast contrast of dynamic extremes draws a definite emotional picture. The "Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra" (1973) is a one-movement work divided into 4 sections, parts of which are recapitulated as interludes: a mysterious drama of isolated fragments and occasional blasts against an extremely sudbued drone all of which gradually crescendos as the soloist nervously comments, a wild scherzo filled with more stabs and flighty passages, a lyric Adagio with compelling melodic gestures from the soloist and horns, and an angular, playful finale still filled with tension that bursts forth from just beneath the surface leading into an ending which fades into nothingness. The programme of the "Scenes for Violoncello, Harp and Orchestra" (1978) is perfectly described by its subtitle, which is "Dialogue, Dispute and Conciliation". The composer's subtle use of string cluster sustains, percussive highlighting, and, especially, emotional nuance reveal a matured style and a feeling of hope through communication even when a disputatious mode arises. The "Canzona for Orchestra" (1979/80) is built on a simple scale-like motif that generates clusters, quickly running passages, and moments of tender lyricism. The brilliant instrumental requiem "Concerto lugubre for Viola and Orchestra" (1976) opens with a simple pizzicato on a single pitch and proceeds to draw out powerful emotions of sadness, anger and resignation eventually fading into a "quasi niente" silence.

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