Choral music by
Poland has been the source of some of the most startlingly fresh musical ideas over the last fifty years, like an artistic phoenix rising from a dark depression that might well have daunted a lesser nation. Above all it has preserved a religious vitality which has flourished in its output of sacred music since the establishment of a stable democracy in 1989.
Among the younger composers to shine a bright musical light is Pawel Lukaszewski, born in 1960, and following in the footsteps of older figures of a generation earlier like Henryk Górecki and Arvo Pärt. Lukaszewski's choral music has an appealing transparency. There are neatly balanced repetitions within its textures, and lively buoyancy to its metrical arrangements, as in the three Beatus vir settings, each with a recurring Alleluia and dedicated to a different saint.
Listen -- Pawel Lukaszewski: Beatus vir, Sanctus Martinus
(track 3, 2:01-2:56) © 2008 Hyperion Records Ltd
In this varied and superbly performed recital, there is a setting of Psalm 102 (Bless the Lord, O my soul) completed in 2003; a sequence of seven Advent Antiphons written over four years from 1995 that have a remarkably expressive quality, dividing the singers into eight and twelve parts, and a remarkably beautiful setting of Ave Maria, for double choir -- dating from 1992 the earliest piece on the CD.
Listen -- Pawel Lukaszewski: Ave Maria
(track 6, 0:01-1:10) © 2008 Hyperion Records Ltd
The most recent music is a setting of Nunc dimittis written last year especially for Stephen Layton and his choir, a piece which closes in an atmosphere of pure magic.
Listen -- Pawel Lukaszewski: Nunc dimittis
(track 15, 3:21-4:14) © 2008 Hyperion Records Ltd
Beautifully performed and recorded, this is music that should be on every seasonal gift list.
Copyright © 31 January 2009
Patric Standford, Wakefield UK
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CD INFORMATION: CHORAL MUSIC BY PAWEL LUKASZEWSKI
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