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<<  -- 2 --  Mike Wheeler    EXPRESSIVE WARMTH


The three-and-a-half-minute Lacrymosa is all that survives of Lutoslawski's 1937 diploma submission to the Warsaw Conservatory [listen -- track 21, 0:00-1:30]. It's an expressive setting, rising to a climax that is dramatic without being disproportionate to the work's brief duration. All the virtues noted in the carols apply here, too, though a hint of a slide from Pasichnyk just takes the edge off the attack on the final 'Amen'; it would have benefited, too, from a longer pause following the previous track.

The Five Songs are later (1957), and show the explorations of new techniques (which Lutoslawski had to keep well away from public gaze) already breaking through. Jadwiga Rappé invests the controlled free-wheeling of the vocal lines with expressive warmth and Lutoslawski's brilliantly imagined orchestral responses to the poems' varied imagery is conveyed with both sensitivity and incisiveness, as here, in the first song, about rivers flowing to the sea [listen -- track 22, 0:00-1:10].

Recordings are vivid with natural perspectives and clear textures. Texts and translations are not provided but can be downloaded, minus the Polish of the Five Songs (copyright problems?) from Naxos's website.

Copyright © 17 December 2005 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


Lutoslawsky: Twenty Polish Christmas Carols

8.555994 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 54'22" 2005 Naxos Rights International Ltd

Olga Pasichnyk, soprano; Jadwiga Rappá, alto; Polish Radio Chorus, Kraków; Wlodzimierz Siedlik, chorus master; Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (Katowice); Antoni Wit, conductor

Witold Lutoslawsky (1913-1994): Twenty Polish Christmas Carols for soprano, female choir and orchestra (assembled 1946); Lacrimosa for soprano, choir and orchestra (1937); Five Songs for female voice and 30 solo instruments (1957)


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