PROKOFIEV. Overture on Hebrew Themes, Op. 34. Camerata Vistula. Olympia/Complete Record Co 0 OCD343 (60 minutes: DDD).

Lutoslawski’s Dance Preludes (1954), best known in their original scoring for clarinet and piano, adapt very convincingly to chamber orchestra: in fact I can imagine many listeners preferring them in this more colourful clothing. The style is ‚early’ Lutoslawski at its best: folkish melodies served a la BartOlc, though with less harmonic asperity: the effects of Socialist Realism may not have been quite so deadening in the Poland of the early 1950s as in Soviet Russia, but composers were still expected to make at least some concessions to imagined popular demand.
Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes is another highly successful and very appealing adaptation of folk ideas—this time all genuine ones. As in the Lutoslawski, Camerata Vistula play beautifully: the Lutoslawski is vital and atmospheric, and they give the impression of enjoying the minor-key humour of the Prokofiev without resorting to exaggeration.
The performance of the GOrecki Lerchenmusik is equally impressive, in fact the movements managed to hold my attention through long stretches of very slow repetition. GOrecki has done this sort of thing very effectively elsewhere, but here it seems overdone: it required some effort to stay the full 40 minutes. That said, the recording suits the music well—as does the faintly outof-tune piano in the chiming chords at the end of the second movement. S.J.