Music and Vision homepage

CD Spotlight

Expressive warmth

Christmas and other music
by Lutoslawski -
reviewed by

'... natural perspectives and clear textures.'

Lutoslawski: Twenty Polish Christmas carols; Lacrymosa; Five songs. Olga Pasichnyc, Jadwiga Rappee, Polish Radio Chorus, Krawow, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (Katowice) / Anttoni Wit. © 2005 Naxos Rights International Ltd

Fed up with Jingle Bells? Had it up to here with Good King Wenceslas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Then put this delightful CD at the top of your Christmas wish-list.

Lutoslawski first arranged this sequence of Polish Christmas carols for voice and piano in 1946, producing the version recorded here, for soprano, female chorus and small orchestra between 1984 and 1989. This isn't the composer of the ground-breaking Jeux Venetiens, nor even of the earlier, more folk-influenced, Concerto for Orchestra, but the arrangements are typical of Lutoslawski's always fastidious craftsmanship, with the occasional appealingly unexpected twist of harmony to suggest a creative mind of increasing resourcefulness. One or two of the carols may be familiar to English listeners, especially no 8, a variant of the one known as Infant Holy, Infant Lowly [listen -- track 8, 0:00-0:53].

Both Olga Pasichnyk and the women of the Polish Radio Chorus sing with fresh, eager tone, unaffected directness and, where appropriate, an infectious feel for the music's dance rhythms, in which they are fully supported by the players of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Continue >>

Copyright © 17 December 2005 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


 << Music & Vision home      Recent CD reviews       Helsinki Strings >>

Download a free realplayer 

For help listening to the sound extracts here,
please refer to our questions & answers page.