Author Topic: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)  (Read 11392 times)

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Offline Maciek

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Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« on: April 16, 2007, 01:58:27 PM »


One of my favorite composers, though definitely a lesser known one. He has been recorded quite a lot, though, especially by the German label ProViva (I'm trying to hunt some of those discs down but am starting to lose hope...).

A very good friend of Dmitri Shostakovitch, he wrote a thick book about him (I've never read it though, and someone on the old GMG spoke disparagingly of it). He writes a lot of chamber music, usually quite excellent (many of his String Quartets have received prizes at international competitions).

He studied with Stanisław Wiechowicz, then with Krzysztof Penderecki. Then with Nadia Boulanger. He has been living in Cologne since 1987. He is also a musicologist (two books about Shostakovitch, a book about Lutosławski, many articles on various musical subjects).

As Murellet recently mentioned somewhere else on GMG, anyone who loves the chamber music of Shostakovitch should definitely get to know the chamber music of Krzysztof Meyer.

His orchestral scores are also excellent, with lots of energy and colour. Though he is not exactly a polystylist, he has also written a Symphony in Mozart's Style, a piece called Hommage a Brahms, and another called Caro Luigi (the Luigi in question is Boccherini). While obviously these do not stand at the center of his output, they are good evidence of craftsmanship of the highest order.

He definitely deserves to be known better. Personally, I rank him higher than Penderecki or Górecki, almost on the same level as Lutosławski in fact!

Wonder if he has any other fans out there?

Maciek

S709

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2007, 04:22:43 PM »

Me, I'm a fan! :D

Though I know none of those "hommage" pieces you mentioned, I do know his Concerto retro, a neo-baroque concerto which is quite interesting.

That piece is on this CD (gotta love Acte Préalable):



... which also has his amazing Solo Flute Sonata -- a piece I never get tired of. It is like one of Elliott Carter's virtuosic solo wind pieces I think, with a lot of cool effects, but also very intricate and lyrical. (And a lot of fun).

That CD also has his jazzy-sounding 12-tone Piano Sonata, and the 16th string quartet entitled "Au-delà d’une absence".. here is an explantion from the composer:

Quote
Shostakovich planned the composition of 24 string quartets in all keys. He did not, however, manage to realise his plan entirely. Nevertheless, the 15 works of this genre that he did compose represent one of the most important chapters of twentieth-century chamber music.

When I visited the composer, who had meanwhile become seriously ill, in Moscow in the spring of 1974 for the last time, I asked him a question – possibly an inappropriate one in this case: “And when will the 15th String Quartet come? Is it possibly already being written?” “No, there is nothing like that,” replied Shostakovich, “I haven’t written down anything yet…” And as if to justify himself, he added: “I was ill, after all… but I’ll write it, I’ll surely write it. You know, I even have two new quartets in my head. The next one will be an adagio – a single large adagio, maybe a grave… in one movement. And the 16th will be in three parts, with a fugue in the finale, you understand, with a double fugue. The second movement, very lyrical…”

The 15th String Quartet appeared shortly thereafter, completely in the tempo of adagio. Shostakovich did depart from his original idea in that he chose a six-part form instead of a single movement. But he retained the existing tonal plan with the key of E-flat minor. Concerning the work’s successor, which probably was to have been written in B major, he made the following statement in the presence of Dmitri Tsyganov, the first violinist of the Beethoven Quartet: “I decided to write the 16th Quartet and to dedicate it to you, the Beethoven Quartet, with your new personnel.” (D. Tsyganov, Polveka vmeste in: Sovietskaya Muzyka 9/1976, p. 31)

This was not to be. In this respect, Au-delà d’une absence represents an imaginary continuation of Shostakovich’s cycle and is my bow before the great composer. In writing it, I submitted myself entirely to his style without, however, quoting from his works. The world premiere took place on 5 June 1998 in Hamburg, performed by the French-Belgian Quatuor Danel.

In harmony with Shostakovich’s intention, the String Quartet consists of three movements. The first, a sonata movement, is based on two themes: the first is dramatic, the second contains lyrical elements. I had Shostakovich’s words in mind the whole time whilst composing the melodic, very cantabile second movement. The third movement, a double fugue, ensues without a break. An epilogue follows as a kind of post scriptum. The work concludes in pianissimo, as do most of Shostakovich’s quartets.
(Krzysztof Meyer)

(Source URL)


I don't enjoy the quartet THAT much but I've only heard it 2 or 3 times, and never concentrating...
It isn't that easy to hear all of Meyer's other quartets, and the only other one I know on disc is No. 8 -- a dark and in places very aggressive work, on this DAFO Quartet CD:



Oh wait -- there are more on Acte Préalable, for example 10 and 11. I must order those then.

(But SQ No. 3 I have only in a mp3 of unknown origin.)

I also love Meyer's Piano Concerto (and I'm sure I've mentioned it on the old forum so this is going to sound very repetitive). It is a very powerful piece, with a weird little jazz-like 2nd movement, and a racuous blaring sort of fanfare orchestral conclusion against complex and wild piano writing. It is very cool, one of my favorite recent piano concerti !!
(It is on a Koch disc along with Musica Incrostata, but I can't find a link; probably OOP).

One more thing: I've always wanted to hear his sonorist opera "Cyberiada", based on the book by Stanisław Lem -- imagine, a sci-fi topic opera written in an early-Penderecki-like style! At least that's how I imagine it. It hasn't been recorded though, unless I'm wrong. Does anyone have a bootleg copy of some kind ? :)


Offline Maciek

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2007, 03:11:02 AM »
That Piano Concerto disc is still available at BRO (for $ 6.99). That's actually where I got it (prior to that I only had a radio recording).

On CD I have Quartets 3-6, 11, 12, the Clarinet Quintet, Piano Quintet, Sonata for violin solo, Canzona for cello and piano, Piano Concerto, Musica incrostata, and Violin Concerto No. 2. I also have some sheet music (Quartets 3, 4, 7, Musica incrostata, Sonata for harpsichord) and loads and loads of radio recordings (including the stuff mentioned in my first post and that Sonata for flute solo - an amazing piece indeed!). Still don't have the 2 Acte Préalable CDs though.

If anyone's rich enough, amazon.de and jpc.de have many of those ProViva CDs but they are around 20 euros each :o :o!

Offline Maciek

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2007, 10:12:17 AM »
Forgot to mention one piece on that CD recordings list: the Concerto da camera for harp, cello and string orchestra op. 64. Excellent piece. Comes on this CD:

(PRCD 085, "Amadeus" Chamber Orchestra of the Polish Radio/Agnieszka Duczmal, vol. 2)

BTW, this is a really fantastic series, I already have 5 volumes - the performances are all top-notch. In time, I'm hoping to get all 11 of them.

Maciek

Sean

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2007, 08:52:16 AM »
I've only tracked down the Toccata appassionata for piano: he seems to be in the post-Schoenbergian expressionist camp, and bracketted off from other developments, along with the likes of Hartmann (or Bredemeyer or Goldmann or Goeyvaerts)...

Offline Maciek

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2007, 10:11:28 AM »
Can't really say I know what you mean... ???

Sean

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2007, 11:30:18 PM »
Hi MrOsa, well I'm not really into the moody Kafkaesque world of the expressionists (Matthus another one, and Frankel) who remain interested in free atonal techniques and that eerie feel of some of the SVS works- just seems a bit out of date, and a bit self-regarding. However it's only one short piece by Meyer I've tried...

Offline Guido

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2007, 02:52:20 PM »
I am extremely intriqued to learn of the existence of his piece for 3 cellos, timpani and piano:

Quote
Music for Three Cellos, Timpani and Piano (1961-1962) is a three-movement work from
Meyer’s early period. All three movements are moderately slow, and the character of the music alternates between dark, meditative moods and aggressive interpolations, underlining both the homogenous and contrasting potential of this unconventional ensemble. The mood of the set of four timpani (tuned for the entire work to E, G, A-flat, and C ) is always dark, set in a low register, while the three cellos use a wide range to perform mostly mysterious tones, sometimes with no vibrato or with mute, occasionally participating in orchestral-like climaxes with a passionate fortissimo. Rhythmic pulsation and metric complexity with irregular inner construction of measures and frequent changes of meter give a special character to this piece. The piano part is technically easy; there are no challenges in the traditional understanding of  manual pianistic technique. The piano functions mainly as an ensemble instrument in this work, far from a concertante concept. It contains several soloistic passages (mostly octaves in both
hands) while the rest of the piano part rhythmically supports the timpani, or provides the harmonic foundation through sustained chords for both timpani and cellos. The metric and rhythmic character of the piece, however, causes difficulties in understanding the musical structure and requires a pianist with ensemble experience.


(thats from this website: http://etd.lib.fsu.edu/theses/available/etd-04102004-130053/unrestricted/Sobkowskatreatise.pdf)

Anyone ever heard this piece?
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline Maciek

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2007, 12:33:04 PM »
I regret to say I never have. But now I really want to. Let me know when (and if) you get it!

(BTW, my goodness, what a way to get a PhD! :o)

Offline Guido

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2007, 11:34:28 PM »
Yeah I know!
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline Maciek

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2007, 09:35:26 AM »
Krzysztof Meyer - Fire Balls (1976). The piece is for symphony orchestra minus woodwinds. Meyer is not really a "heavy" composer. Some of his stuff is outright facetious (Caro Luigi, Symphony in the style of Mozart). This piece is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. It's not a postmodern joke of any sort but it's still much lighter and more dynamic than many of his other pieces. IMO.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 10:43:29 AM by Maciek »

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2007, 03:45:23 PM »
Thanks, Maciek, these 3 works will neatly fit on an all-Meyer disc  :D!

Sean

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2007, 05:18:43 AM »
Maciek, I posted earlier in this thread but now realize I was confusing the present composer with Ernst Meyer (1905-88), sorry about that. I've just downloaded the Fifth symphony though and look forward to giving it a few playings. Grove says Lutoslawski & Penderecki are influences...

Sean

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2007, 06:38:19 AM »
Just been listening to this symphony for strings- I thought at first it was a little amaturish with some ideas and progressions I'd heard a few times before, but no this is the work of a quite serious mind and from a tonal background that warms to repeated listening: there's also an unusually persuasive mysteriousness and intrigue to the slow movement; some of it reminds me of Gloria Coates's sinuisms but also of Szymanski and his striking if youthful seriousness and intelligence. I like it.

Sean

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2007, 07:17:55 AM »
Seriously though don't you think there's something very very tragic, faded and odd about this whole post-romantic, post-tonal, post-everything reappraisal that such neo tonalists go for?? Art music is tonality, no doubt about it, but there's something so wistful, and false, about it...

Sean

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2007, 11:41:36 PM »
Mov four is more Webernian though.

Offline Maciek

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2007, 12:37:31 AM »
Hi Sean!

Well, frankly, I don't know exactly what you mean. "Neo tonalism" is a rather crude generalization that doesn't really say anything. In what way exactly do you find Meyer's music "tonal"?

And "tragic, odd and faded" can all be compliments when applied to music - as long as those are the effects the composer strived for...

As for "wistful, and false", well, I don't hear anything like that there but then I wouldn't really know what to listen for. You'd have to give examples from older times, a Beethoven quartet that's "false" or something like that...?

Sean

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2007, 07:29:52 AM »
Well I believe it has a recognizable tonal background, though with plenty of chromatic intrigue: the problem is that composers have explored tonality, explored what lies beyond it (nothing) and kind of drifted back again, which isn't kind-of inspiring...

Offline Guido

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2007, 08:04:22 AM »
Lutoslawski is beyond tonality. I wouldn't say that it was nothing. Dutilleux alternates between quasi tonality, modality and atonality, and his music isn't nothing. Messiaen is beyond conventional tonality. What was Lutoslawski producing if it was not art music?
Geologist.

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Sean

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Re: Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943)
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2007, 08:10:49 AM »
Dutilleux and Lutoslawski are problematic figures. The whole background to Messiaen's world by contrast is tonal, in a deep and musical sense that eludes most of his comtemporaries: for all his outrageous eclecticism the music makes logical tonal sense. Few others have achieved this, instead sliding into intellectual contrivances.