December 2005

Grzegorz Krawiec - Journey – Podaz
MA Recordings Mo68A
Format: CD
Released: 2005

by Rad Bennett

Musical Performance ****1/2
Recording Quality *****
Overall Enjoyment ****1/2

I have known of MA Recordings for years, as a sort of mythical sonic nirvana that seemed to disappear whenever I tried to actually find some of the label's discs. The rumors have proved to be true, as this MA release is one of the best-sounding recordings that I have ever heard.

The artist, guitarist Grzegorz Krawiec, is only 25 (he looks about 18, judging from the cover photo) and incredible, playing with the enthusiasm of youth, yet possessing a maturity far beyond his tender age. He is a total virtuoso. The most difficult passages pose no problem to him. He is also a great programmer, and has fashioned a varied concert that logically opens and closes with a set of variations. Up front, there’s Francisco Trrega’s Variations on "Carneval de Venicia" by Paganini, and at the end we find the work of Polish composer Jan Nepomucen Bobrowicz, a set of exquisite variations on Mozart’s "La ci darem la mano." In between are works by Hans-Werner Henze, Sylvester Laskowski and others.

The recording, made in Krako’s St. Mark Church, has ultimate presence. It sounds like the real thing. One is totally unaware of the microphones. This is crazy, too. The background is silent, yet that silence has amazing presence. Vinyl fans might say there is a lot of air around the instrument. But this is a CD, and among the best, I have ever heard. Now that I have heard my first disc from the MA Recordings label, I surely hope there will be more coming my way.