An Introduction to East Bloc Music

By , The author writes essays on the arts for the Monitor.

DIMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH. A brilliant new recording of Symphony No. 7 (``Leningrad'') by the Chicago Symphony conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Deutsche Grammophon (CD 427632-2). String quartets Nos. 3, 8, and 13. Here is the whole, sublime creative venture of Shostakovich, from the marvelous lyricism of the Opus 73 (Quartet No. 3 of 1946) to the rich maturity and scope of the Opus 138 (Quartet No. 13 of 1970). (Fitzwilliam String Quartet London records, CD 421475-2.)

Karol Szymanowski. The magical opera ``King Roger'' and the energetic ballet ``Harnasie'' constitute an ideal sampler of the music by this major Polish composer, recorded by the Polish National Opera Chorus and Orchestra under conductor Mieczyslaw Mierzejewski (Olympia/Muza OCD-303, distributed in America by Koch International).

Witold Lutoslawski. Six outstanding sets of compact discs that chart the incredible range and diversity of the music of Lutoslawski are distributed in America by Koch International on the Polish Muza label. Krzysztof Penderecki. Six compact disc sets of the highly theatrical and atmospheric music by Penderecki are distributed in America by Koch International on the Polish Muza label.

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Sandor Szokolay. The passionate and spellbinding opera ``Blood Wedding,'' performed by the Hungarian State Opera, conducted by Andras Korodi available on two compact discs from Hungaroton (HCD 11262-63).

Arvo Part. A subtle, deeply meditative selection of his pieces are recorded on the album ``Tabula Rasa,'' available on ECM compact disc (25011-2).

Ensemble of the Bulgarian Republic. A chorus of marvelous female voices that should not be missed; conducted by Philip Koutev, on a compact disc by Elektra/Nonesuch Records (72011-2).

Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki. A little-known but exceptional modern Polish composer; ``Symphony No. 3,'' on Olympia/Muza compact disc (OCD 313).

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