Bartosz Cajler / Marcin Naleçz-Niesiolowski

Tansman: Cinq Pièces; Violin Concerto; Suite Baroque

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This Polish composer was a tireless advocate of the neo-classic; he adopted the style in the 1920s, became an expert practitioner within it and stuck with it all the way up until his death in 1986. That the outbreak of World War II annihilated interest in the style among other "serious" composers, and that serialism and various kinds of formalized music took center stage during most of the years left to him meant nothing at all to Tansman; he plugged right on ahead with what he felt he did best. Although this plan of action may have cost Tansman his relevance to chroniclers and critics -- and later in life, in the concert hall -- his music sounds uncommonly fresh, congenial, and technically satisfying in the way that Bohuslav Martinu's does -- it's modern, but it isn't in your face. This Dux disc devoted to violin and orchestra music of Tansman is an excellent introduction to his music in general, and furthermore features the wonderful playing of young Polish virtuoso Bartosz Cajler.

Featured is Tansman's very fine, nearly cinematic Violin Concerto (1937), quite different from, but also similar to, the much better known violin concerti of Korngold and Rózsa. The Cinq Pièces (1930), however, is the most striking track on the disc; it's lively and exciting in faster movements and lyric and heartfelt in the slower ones. The Suite Baroque (1958) for chamber orchestra is a little reminiscent of Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks Concerto, but it is also good. Dux' recording is present, clear, and full-bodied, and the extraordinarily long-named Symphony Orchestra of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic in Bialystok under Marcin Nalecz-Niesiolowski plays with precision and dedication. Unless one's tastes only run to "Gloomy Gus" classical music or the extremes of the avant-garde, this fine Dux disc cannot fail to satisfy.

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