Saturday, June 30, 2012

Meadow Quartet - Unexpected (2012)

Meadow Quartet

Marcin Malinowski: clarinet, bass clarinet
Michał Piwowarczyk: viola
Piotr Skowroński: accordion
Jarosław Stokowski: bass

Unexpected (2012)


It has always puzzled me that God relishes so much in paradoxes. There are plenty of them all around us. They only require keen eye. And age eventually bring one. Good example of such a phenomenon may be in Polish-Jewish relationships. When before II World War Jews in Poland were counted in millions there was very little sympathy for them in this country. But now more than half century later when almost all of them vanished from here this hatred and rejection become somehow replaced by universal love and great longing. Maybe I am too cynical but both these feelings seem evenly suspicious to me.

I am perhaps therefore not best person to describe recent wave of fascination in klezmer music by Polish artists. There are so many such projects that it is pointless to list them here as they would take all space required for review of this album. And it shouldn't happen since music on "Unexpected" deserves attention. It is very well played as usual in case of Polish artists who benefit from high-level education in specialized musical schools. The collective called themselves Meadow Quartet and consists of Marcin Malinowski playing on clarinet, Michał Piwowarczyk on viola, Piotr Skowroński on accordion and Jarosław Stokowski on bass.

As you might notice this type of instrumental set-up is very characteristic for bands playing Jewish-inspired music and so is style of this music. I found this field so well plough that it does not appeal to me very much. But I cannot deny it is charming. I can imagine it might sound marvellously in some "shtetl" lost in "endless Polish steppe". But the problem is no such shtetls exist any more and there is no steppe in Poland either. There is very difficult, sometimes tragic, sometimes incredibly inspiring history of Polish-Jewish relationships that calls for a voice which will be able to transcend the past. I personallly find such voice in works like provided for example by Ircha Clarinet Quartet led by Mikołaj Trzaska or in projects by Raphael Rogiński. Or like on this disc, in some rare moments however, where true emotions prevail as exemplified by "L'Automne" on this generally not so bad record.



Track list:
1. Das Schloss [05:19]
A tribute to F. Kafka
2. Goldene Medina [07:09]
3. Nature's Tool [04:05]
4. Le Printemps [04:18]
5. L'automne [05:15]
6. Immersion [08:17]
7. Form No. 1 [05:33]
8. Extinct [05:18]

By Maciej Nowotny


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