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Stanisław MORYTO (b. 1947)
Four Pieces in Polish Style for String Orchestra (2011) [8.36]
Seven Kurpie Songs for Soprano and Orchestra (2006) [15.05]
Suite for String Orchestra (2016) [9.09]
Concerto for Percussion, Harp and String Orchestra (2004) [25.50]
Anna Mikołajczyk-Niewiedział (soprano)
Anna Sikorzak-Olek (harp)
Stanisław Skoczyński (percussion)
The Witold Lutosławski Chamber Philharmonic in Łomża/Jan Miłosz Zarzycki
rec. Museum of the Diocese, Łomża, 2016
DUX 1376 [58.44]

Stanisław Moryto is a contemporary composer, organist and pedagogue. He was born in 1947 in Łąck, a village in Płock County, Masovian Voivodeship, in east-central Poland. He studied music in Warsaw with Feliks Rączkowski (organ) and Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz (composition). Over the years, in addition to his teaching and composing, he has been heavily involved in his country's music scene in many roles.
The Four Pieces in Polish Style for String Orchestra were written in 2011. They make for an attractive opener. Well-crafted and melodically pleasing, they set Polish folk music within a neoclassical framework. Each is brief, the whole work lasting under nine minutes. The first piece alternates a gentle and reflective mood with one more animated. The invigorating, dance-like fourth tenders some arresting rhythmic thrust.
The soprano, Anna Mikołajczyk-Niewiedziałis the soloist in the Seven Kurpie Songs for Soprano and Orchestra from 2006. We hear them in arrangements by Marcin Zieliński. The absence of any information or texts isn't helpful, but the mood of the songs is mournful and melancholic. Mikołajczyk-Niewiedział’s rich, burnished and plangent voice is ideally suited to this repertoire. She sounds more like a mezzo to me. The songs are colourfully orchestrated, which adds to their attractiveness. The soprano appears again in two of the movements of Suite for String Orchestra, a more recent composition dating from 2016. Once again, absence of texts leaves the listener completely in the dark.
The Concerto for Percussion, Harp and String Orchestra dates from 2004 and is a work of greater proportions. Not as easy a ride as the other music on this disc, but a compelling and rewarding score, nevertheless. Moryto proves himself a skilful and imaginative orchestrator. Intensely dramatic, the composer utilizes the percussion and harp to tremendous effect, painting an expansive, surreal landscape of myriad colour tones and striking potency. Stanisław Skoczyński and Anna Sikorzak-Olek, on percussion and harp respectively, deliver immaculately tailored performances. Jan Miłosz Zarzycki is alert to every subtle nuance and inflection in the score and proves himself a sensitive conductor, capable of bringing this spectacular music to life.
This interesting and enjoyable release has been sadly let down by the accompanying documentation. I would have appreciated some information on the music performed. Regarding the two works featuring the voice, as I have already said, texts would have been certainly advantageous. Having got over my gripe, the works have been very well recorded, and in the vocal items, the balance between the soprano and instrumentalists can't be faulted. The music is, for the most part, approachable and lyrically drafted, with perhaps the Concerto for Percussion, Harp and String Orchestra offering something more of a challenge.
Stephen Greenbank
Previous review: Michael Wilkinson



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