ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
MIECZYSLAW KARLOWICZ - SONGS MIECZYSLAW KARLOWICZ - SONGS - Iwona Hossa (Soprano) - Krzysztof Meisinger (Guitar)
Orfeus Music - OMCD-01


Another brand new label just recently established in late 2009, this time from Poland, Orfeus Music brings to us on their very first CD, a collection of rarely recorded songs by the Polish composer Mieczyslaw Karlowicz (1876-1909). His music is of a late-romantic character that would form a stylistic link between Chopin and Szymanowski. His works consist mostly of a few tone poems, most of which have seen recordings on major labels, a symphony, various songs for voice and piano, and one violin concerto which has been recorded a few times, including a recent recording by Nigel Kennedy.

The songs on this recording, arranged here for voice and guitar by Krzysztof Meisinger himself, and interpreted with character by the fine soprano Iwona Hossa, are all fine examples of fin-de-siècle angst filled poetry set to music. With titles like 'Weep not over me', 'I remember quiet, clear golden days' and 'Speak to me still', these short little gems are full of melancholy and sorrow so typical of the period. Iwona Hossa's voice lends itself very well to the sentiments expressed within these songs, and the guitar accompaniment places them on a more intimate stage. The disc also includes four beautiful songs by Gabriel Fauré, also arranged for guitar rather than piano accompaniment.

The recording is close and intimate, and fits the intent of the music very well. All in all an excellent inaugural release from a new label which promises few but important recordings of relevant material. Unfortunately, the last time I checked it seemed that the label had folded, so it may prove difficult finding this CD.

Jean-Yves Duperron