Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Monday, November 2, 2015

More excellent music-making from Warsaw

From June 24, 2015:


Thirty-five years separate the first work on this new Naxos disc, the Magnificat from the mid-1970s, and the 2009 Kadisz. During that time Penderecki made a major stylistic shift, from an avant-garde international style to a more emotional and personal tonal one. But both works share some typical Pendereckian traits: an intense expressionism and a focus on instrumental and vocal colour.

Antoni Wit has put together an impressive string of CDs for Naxos in the past few years, conducting the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonic Choir. Here is another. His soloists have character-filled voices, full of emotion but always musical. In the Magnificat Penderecki makes effective use of a choir of boys’ voices, and the Warsaw Boys’ Choir are excellent in this recording. Incidentally, it’s been interesting to hear how much children’s choirs can add to a work with a choral element. Just in the past month I’ve reviewed discs by Villa-Lobos and Honegger that also make good use of the special colour and extra-musical connotations of children’s voices.

We have Naxos to thank for their support for Wit the conductor, as he continues the great tradition of musical excellence in Poland. Keep ‘em coming!

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