- Published on Amazon.com
First of all, I would have to agree with the reviewer of the other CD with overtures by Moniuszko, that this composer is one of Poland's best kept secrets. The gems on this CD are conducted by Witold Rowicki, and in my humble opinion, are the overtures to Halka, and The Raftsman. These and the overtures that follow them were recorded in the 1960's but still sound great. My guess is that they were expertly remastered. Rowicki's conducting is brisk, tempos are excellent, and the fidelity sounds even more modern than the 1960's. Very lively and crisp performances done exceedingly well. Unfortunately, the first three bands were recorded in the 1950's, and the fidelity suffers from this, sounding a little like they were recorded through a sewer pipe. The first of the three here, the Overture to Paria, does again show how excellent Moniuszko is as a composer, but I have an issue either with the interpretation, or with what Moniuszko wrote into the slow melody in the middle section. Here we have a promising melody, but it seems he may have put fermatas at the end of each measure, creating a pausing effect that destroys the flow of the music. The composer may have been trying to create a new effect at the time, but IMHO it doesn't work at all well musically. Overall, I would have given the CD 5 stars if all of the performances were with the fidelity of bands 4 to end. Using poor fidelity performances from the 1950's for the first 3 bands was a big mistake. Also, the Amazon record for this CD has one band listed twice. Check my uploaded image of the back cover for the accurate listing.