Last night in the Kennedy Center the Polish Chamber Orchestra confirmed the strong impression made last year in its concert at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.
Under conductor Jerzy Maksymiuk, the musicians brought the welcome music of a Handel Concerto Grosso -- the A Major of Opus 11 -- whose beauty made it seem all the more strange that these great works are so rarely heard. The orchestra's concertmaster, Jan Stanienda, whose exquisite tone was later to enhance Scho nberg's "Tranfigured Night," shed glory all through the many solo phrases of the Handel.
A Divertimento by the 45-year-old Polish composer, Marek Stachowski, brought four movements of enormous verve in which passages of random choice, laced with ghostly glissandos, mixed freely with strictly formal neoclassical episodes. The taxing playing was of the utmost virtuosity.
There were also the stylish delights of a Rossini string sonata with a marvelous closing tempest, and the C Major Cello Concerto of Haydn, with Jerzy Klocek as soloist. Along with a fluent technique and distinguished phrasing in the long lines, Klocek had fleeting problems in intonation.
Maksymiuk closed the program with the Scho nberg, in which the ensemble sonority was glorious and the playing superb. Unfortunately the conductor's unseemly speed at every critical point, belying a crucial misunderstanding of the music, grievously marred the work.