Music in Exile – Chamber music of Szymon Laks

Music in Exile series

Chamber Works by Szymon LAKS (1901 – 1983): 
Divertimento for violin, clarinet, bassoon, and piano
Concertino for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon
Passacaille (arrangement for clarinet and piano)
String Quartet No. 4
Quintet for piano and strings
Sonatina for piano

ARC Ensemble

“The music of the Auschwitz survivor Szymon Laks has tended to be overshadowed by his autobiography… . Laks made himself indispensable as conductor of the camp orchestra .. . This collection of his chamber music – speaks of musical development thwarted by an experience that only the inward-looking Passacaille of 1945 hints at. The 1927 Sonatina for solo piano, combining Chopin-like expansiveness with a dark-tinged French soundworld, is intriguing…” The Guardian

Chandos Records CHAN10983 @ £12.25* or may be part of our 3 for £33* Chandos multi-buy offer

About the CD…

Following the Grammy nominated Volume 2 featuring the music of Fitelberg, (Chandos 10877 @ £12.25*) and also the first volume, (music of Paul Ben-Haim, Chandos 10769 @ £12.25*)the Canadian ARC Ensemble presents Volume 3 in its ‘Music in Exile’ series, dedicated to the music of Szymon Laks.

About Laks and his life …
Born in Warsaw in 1901, Laks studied in Paris before being deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He soon joined and conducted the Auschwitz orchestra (his auditioning with a ‘Jewish’ work – Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto – went unnoticed). Although the trauma of his imprisonment left him alienated and reclusive, few of his works refer specifically to the Holocaust. A rather subtle, colourful, and sometimes contrapuntal style emerges in his writing, notably represented in the early, elegant, Ravel-influenced Sonatina for piano, in the later, melodic Passacaille, and the folk dances and songs woven into the cheerful String Quartet No. 4, as well as in the breezy, seemingly effortless Divertimento.

These premiere recordings are a must-have, not only because of the compositional context and the quality of the music and its interpretations, but also because the unsparing eyewitness account that Laks gave of his imprisonment has eclipsed his musical legacy, leaving his works more than unjustly neglected.

Chandos 10983 @ £12.25* or may be part of our 3 for £33* Chandos multi-buy offer

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