- Concerto Nicolò, for piano left hand & orchestra
- Concerto for orchestra
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Although he had long been respected as one of the top conductors in the field, in the 1990s some critics were willing to canonize Stanislaw Skrowaczewski as one of the world's greatest composers as well. Although his music had the earmarks of contemporary European style, the underpinnings of his structural concepts had a natural flow to it, and Skrowaczewski was not allergic to some measure of tonal referencing; his music was technically reflective of late 20th century trends, beautifully orchestrated and relatively easy to follow. Moreover, in 1999 it looked like Skrowaczewski was going to get recognition of a kind he had long sought in the form of a Pulitzer Prize for his "Concerto for orchestra." But the Pulitzer went instead to Melinda Wagner, and after the dawn of the new millennium things began to change; certain concerns, both artistic and technical, considered all important to the late 20th century were no longer viewed predominantly constituting the center of the classical music universe. Nevertheless, there is no good reason to ignore the music Skrowaczewski composes; it's very solid, well-parsed dramatically, and arrestingly colorful. This Reference disc -- featuring Skrowaczewski conducting the band that he led for 19 seasons, the Minnesota Orchestra -- lays down Skrowaczewski's gauntlet most effectively, in great sound and with the expert help of pianist Gary Graffman in the "Concerto Nicolò, for piano left hand & orchestra." Reference Recordings' featuring Skrowaczewski: Concerto Nicolò; Concerto for Orchestra should easily find favor with listeners already inclined toward contemporary composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki and Witold Lutoslawski and Skrowaczewski is more approachable than either, though he is tougher than Bartók's "night music," a subgenre to which he bears some commonality and from which Skrowaczewski derives some measure of inspiration.