From the title it's fairly obvious that Stanko is dedicating this work to his former boss and compatriot, the late Kryzsztof Komeda, who had passed a few years before. But it's difficult to believe that this was recorded in 1970. Stanko's quintet was so fully versed in the free jazz aesthetic and pursued to fuse it to the European classicism and avant-gardism of his native Poland. There are five tracks here, all part of a larger suite that is opened and closed by a theme. Stanko's writing is for a large harmonic palette realizable by two saxophones and his own trumpet with a rhythm section.
This album is a real rarity, not for the style of music nor its interpreters, the strange thing is that this music was produced especially for a film and not a vintage film! It was used to accompany the notable Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx (?). It was somewhat controversial the mixture of Renaissance music and the documentary about this cyclist in those times.
Coupling the Hary Janos Suite with Kodaly ’ s two highly contrasted sets of Hungarian dances, urban and rural, is a time - honoured gambit, but Fischer has had the birght idea of adding some of the composer ’ s children ’ s choruses, and instrumental movements from the seldom - heard Hary Janos Singspiel that was the ultimate source for the perennially popular suite, in order to give a broader picture of Kodaly, both as musician and musical humorist. On the whole it works well: the Singspiel extracts are very slight, but the choruses are highly characteristic – and flawlessly sung by superbly disciplined childrens ’ choirs trained, inevitably, in the ‘ Kodaly Method ’. Nevertheless the three principal orchestral works remain the point for buying the disc, and these are very vivid, exciting interpretations. Fischer comes up against stiff competition in Antal Dorati ’ s classic 1973 recording of Hary and the dance - suites with the Philharmonia Hungarica. Dorati is ‘ straighter ’ in his readings of the pieces than Fischer, and the playing packs a tremendous punch: he also adds the Peacock Variations as coupling, and thus probably still remains the first choice.
The Hartmann, completed in 1933, shows the influence of Berg's Lyric Suite as well as Bartók's 1928 quartet, with which it shares this outstanding disc. Hartmann went into "inner exile" after the Nazi takeover, refusing to allow his work to be published or performed in Germany. Performed abroad, the quartet won a Swiss prize in 1936. It's a powerful work, with a dark, tragic opening that gives way to furious outbursts and energetic declamations. Making an immediate impact, it should not be missed, especially in the Zehetmair Quartet's spontaneous, tingling performance