Poolse Meesterwerken
Channel Classics CCS31010

Barbara Hannigan, soprano
Members of the Ebonby Band (Werner Herbers, artistic leader)
Jacques Meertens, clarinet
Bram van Sambeek, bassoon
Marleen Asberg, violin
Roland Krämer, viola
Daniël Esser, cello
Berard Bouwhuis, piano
Józef Koffler (1896–1944?) : String Trio Op.10 (1928) (premiere recording)
  1 Allegro molto moderato 7.06
  2 Andante (molto cantabile) 4.13
  3 Allegro molto vivace 4.42
Józef Koffler : Die Liebe Cantata Op.14 (1931) (premiere recording)
  4 Adagio – Vivace – Un poco mosso – Tempo 5.00
  5 Andante tranquillo – Agitato 2.35
  6 Allegro moderato – Tranquillo 2.10
  7 Tempo I 3.05
Konstanty Regamey (1907-1982) : Quintet for clarinet, bassoon, violin, cello and piano (1942–1944)
  8 Tema con variazioni 17.23
  9 Intermezzo romantico (lento) 4.38
10 Rondo (vivace giocoso) 9.00
(live recording Concertzender, Amsterdam)
Total time

My quest of many years for unknown but worthwhile repertoire has seldom yielded such outstanding works as the Polish masterpieces on this recording. Koffler and Regamey are such unknown names that one would be inclined to conclude that they must be typical 'musiciancomposers', but even that is not the case. Among musicians too, their names do not usually ring a bell. But never before have I seen my musicians react so enthusiastically and emotionally to music I had placed before them. The Quintet by Konstanty Regamey, to which Katarzyna Naliwajek-Mazurek drew my attention during a visit to the library of Warsaw University, is a fascinating journey through a most varied and colourful landscape; one forgets the 12-note technique completely when faced with so much imagination and creativity. Józef Koffler's music, in particular the cantata Die Liebe, is of the greatest conceivable purity: one cannot sing of love, as expressed in this biblical hymn, in a purer and more intimate manner.
Why are these pieces hardly ever heard in our concert halls? Does Regamey make too heavy technical demands on the performers? Is Koffler's music too subtle for our time?