KASP 57701— Music by Louis Pelosi, Part 1
$ 12 plus shipping (CD)
This new disk offers the first recording of four mature works of Louis Pelosi, all composed between 1997 and 2008. It is the first of three CD's dedicated to the memory of his wife, the artist Rosemarie Koczÿ, a distinguished artist, and Holocaust survivor who dedicated much of her work to those dark years.
The two string quartets are a study in contrasts. The first quartet is a full length, four movement work of great depth and considerable beauty. The second quartet, written in one long, but fascinating movement, is a requiem to Pelosi's wife, but is also an act of homage to JS Bach, having as one of its main components the opening theme of his Harpsichord (or Violin) Concerto's first movement.
Both quartets are given masterly performances by members of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, as is the Prayer Suite, in which Piotr Tarcholik, the first violinist in the quartets, is joined by pianist Monika Wilinska-Tarcholik.
The vocal sextet "I Weave You A Shroud" is an extraordinary work based on a poem written by TP Perrin about Rosemarie Koczÿ. "I Weave You A Shroud" was the title she gave to thousands of her drawings, memorializing the victims of the Holocaust - in her words "burials I offer to those I saw die in the camps." This is a live and, according to the composer, flawless performance by the outstanding New York Virtuoso Singers, conducted by Harold Rosenbaum.
The American Record Guide had the following comments about this disk:
"Quartet 1 ... a 35 minute work of depth and power."
"Prayer Suite ... an 11 minute piece of beauty."
"I Weave You A Shroud ... a curious vocal a cappella number ... the singers are good .... "
"Quartet 2 ... a beautiful and touching 18 minute movement. ..."
And Fanfare Magazine wrote:
"From the opening notes of the first string quartet by Lousi Pelosi ... I was gripped by the heartfelt intensity of the music that came to my ears ... (Prayer Suite) is music that is profound while maintaining accessibility to players and hearers alike. Although not overtly Jewish in sound, the piece does summon occasional reminders of the music of Ernest Bloch."
MusicWeb International said:
Louis Pelosi considers his four-movement String Quartet No. 1, which opens Part I of the Triptych, the beginning of his mature writing. The Hebraic-inflected melody of the second movement "I Weave You a Shroud" forms the motivic germ of the work. Pelosi enlisted the theme for the vocal sextet, included on this CD, and it is also put to use his Thirteen Preludes and Fugues. The Quartet opens with an animated interplay between all four instruments. This is followed by a lengthy slow movement, wistful and regretful in character. Midway through the music becomes invigorated, but this is short-lived and the music subsides towards the end. Another slow movement comes next, with a radiantly static quality. The work ends with an effervescent finale.
The single-movement String Quartet No. 2, penned in 2008, is Pelosi's requiem for his wife. It also pays tribute to J. S. Bach, and there is passing reference to his Violin Concerto in D minor. The general mood is dark and sombre, shot through with shards of pain and anguish. Fugal elements permeate the score. The Quartet has the feel of a lengthy meditation. The two Quartets bookend the Prayer Suite for violin and piano, and the vocal sextet "I Weave You a Shroud", set to a poem by T. P. Perrin (the text is provided in the booklet). The title of the work refers to his artist wife's drawings memorializing the victims of the Holocaust.
String Quartet No. 1