Szymon Laks Chamber Music FC111

€15.50

The music of Szymon Laks has been undeservedly neglected for quite a long time. Recently, the music publishers Boosey & Hawkes began publishing his compositions, making his oeuvre more accessible. The musicians of the Leo Smit Ensemble were enamored by the quality of Laks’ music and gladly added his works to their repertoire.

The compositions on this CD are a reflection of the Szymon Laks Project (2008- 2011), initiated by the cellist Stephan Heber and performed by the Leo Smit Ensemble. The music of Szymon Laks has been undeservedly neglected for quite a long time. Recently, the music publishers Boosey & Hawkes began publishing his compositions, making his oeuvre more accessible. The musicians of the Leo Smit Ensemble were enamored by the quality of Laks’ music and gladly added his works to their repertoire. The ensemble gave many concerts of Laks’ music in the Netherlands, France and Germany. The compositions have been greeted enthusiastically everywhere. Many of these works are being recorded for CD for the first time.

Szymon Laks was born on November 1, 1901, and began studying mathematics in Vilnius, Lithuania. He later chose to study music (composition, harmony and counterpoint) in his birthplace, Warsaw, Poland. In 1926, he left for Paris wherehe continued composition lessons with Pierre Vidal and Henri Rabaud. During his studies, Laks earned his keep as a music teacher, playing violin in cafés and on ocean steamers, and accompanying silent movies. He also played an important role within the organization of young Polish musicians in Paris. He came into contact with and was inspired by the École de Paris, where composers such as Honegger, Milhaud, Poulenc and Ravel ruled the day, and he often worked with the singer Tola Korian, for whom he wrote numerous songs. Laks’ earliest music is characteristically in a neo-classical French style in which lightness and clarity prevail, although the influence of Polish musical traditions are present. Besides Polish folklore, Laks also uses Jewish and Slavic folk melodies in his music. In 1941, Laks was arrested because of his Jewish background and transferred to the Pithiviers work camp near Orléans. In July 1942, he was deported to Auschwitz. Laks survived the concentration camp by working as a violinist, arranger and, later, conducting the orchestra. In 1944, he was taken to Dachau and, after being liberated, he returned to Paris where he lived until his death in 1983.

Leo Smit Ensemble
The Leo Smit Ensemble was founded in 1996, evolving out of the Uilenburger Concert Series in Amsterdam, organized by the Leo Smit Foundation. The ensemble, under the artistic direction of flutist Eleonore Pameijer, endeavors to reacquaint a broad audience with the music of composers persecuted during the Second World War. The ensemble has recorded CDs with the music of Leo Smit, Nico Richter, Jacques Beers, Dick Kattenburg and Rosy Wertheim.

Irene Maessen - soprano
Eleonore Pameijer - flute
Ursula Schoch - violin
Stephan Heber - cello (Sonata for Cello and Piano, Divertimento, Dialogue cello I)
Monique Bartels - cello (Dialogue cello II) Marcel Worms - piano




Sonata for Cello and Piano
1. Allegro moderato 7'27
2. Andante un poco grave 3'54
3. Presto 5'01
Huits Chants Populaires Juifs for soprano and piano
4. Ich bin a balagole (I am a Wagoner) 1'14
5. Wigenlied (Lullaby) 1'17
6. Di gilderne pawe (The Golden Peacock) 1'12
7. Unser rebeniu (Our Rabbi) 2'08
8. In droisn is a triber tog (It’s Such a Miserable Day Outside) 1'22
9. Gwaldze brider (Arise, Brothers) 0'58
10. Di alte kashe (The Eternal Question) 2'17
11. Fraitik far nacht (Friday Evening) 1'09
Divertimento for flute, violin, cello and piano
12. Allegro non troppo quasi una marcia 4'39
13. Andante 4'41
14. Molto allegro e giocoso 3'51
15. Passacaille for flute and piano 4'52
Dialogue for two cellos
16. Rubato 4'32
17. Ostinato 3'26
18. Fugato 5'19
19. Blues for piano (1945) 6'09
20. Ballade (Hommage a Chopin) 9'04

REVIEW
De prachtige Cellosonate uit 1932 is nog een waardige pendant van de Vioolsonate van Ravel. Maar wat te denken van de Dialogue voor twee cellisten uit 1964? Stroeve ritmes en schrijnende dissonanten scheppen een klankbeeld dat angstvisioenen lijkt te willen bezweren. De keerzijde van de medaille. De Cellosonate is overigens de enige vooroorlogse compositie die hier is ingespeeld. De overige dateren uit de periode van vlak na de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Een belangrijke plaats is ingeruimd voor de Huit chants populaires juifs, uit 1947 voor sopraan en piano. Kenners van het liedrepertoire zullen direct opmerken dat de melodie van Di alte kashe dezelfde is als die in de zetting van Ravel. Voor de vertolkers niets dan lof, ze hebben deze werken waar ze maar konden onder de aandacht gebracht, en deze cd is de weerslag daarvan: liefdewerk in de beste zin van het woord. Siebe Riedstra (Opusklassiek)

The glorious Cello Sonata, composed in 1932, is a worthy counterpart of the Violin Sonata by Maurice Ravel. This is the only composition from before World War II. The other works are written shortly after the war. What to think about the 'Dialogue' for two Celli, written in 1964? Tight rhythms and grinding dissonants create a soundscape that seems to want to soothe visions of fear and anxiety. The song cycle 'Huit chants populaires juifs' for soprano and piano, written in 1947, is the center piece of this CD. Connaisseurs of vocal repertoire will recognise the text from 'Di alte Kashe', the same that Maurice Ravel used in his 'Chants Hebraiques'. The performers of this CD should receive the highest praise. They brought the music of Szymon Laks back to the audience where ever they could. This album is the reflection of their efforts: a project that came directly from the heart.Siebe Riedstra (Opusklassiek)

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