Stefan Wesolowski - Rite Of The End
(Ici D'ailleurs)

A new name to me but this album just looks right.  It just screams to me: "Check me out!"  The image of a decaying grand ballroom (beauty in decay), the title itself (end-times?  sacred rites?), and the Polish name of the artist all seem so inviting.  Then there's the sticker on the sleeve: "Between romanticism and modernism, Wagner and Ben Frost, Rite Of The End is like the score of our civilization, a witness of our mutation."  Wow!  This looks really promising, really EPIC.  So, slit open the shrinkwrap, put the needle on the record, turn up the volume and sit back...
Wesolowski, it turns out, is a Polish composer, arranger and violinist born in 1985.  He has three prior albums.  Rite Of The End was recorded partly at his home in Gdansk, partly at Olafur Arnalds studio in Reykjavik, and partly on a train!  Apparently, the album derives from an order from Stéphane Grégoire, boss of Ici D'ailleurs, who asked Wesołowski to write some panoramic music for a photo exhibition by Francis Meslet ("something that sounds like the missing link between the grandeur of Richard Wagner and the orchestral work of someone like Nick Cave").  Rite Of The End, by the composer's own admission, ended up nothing like what had been initially ordered.  Instead, Wesołowski mixes together some of his influences (Prokofiev, Gregorian chants, Steve Reich and even Michael Mann) and the glorious result is, in fact, quite close to Max Richter's elevating, classical surprises.  A sacred feeling is present (thanks to Wesołowski's own childhood) but not overpowering.  This, to me, is epic contemporary classical fare that ends with a tremendous finale.  Excellent and beautiful. (Lee)
Check out a track here.