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Penderecki: Magnificat; Kadisz / Warsaw PO; Antoni Wit et al.

Album Summary

>Penderecki, Krzysztof : Magnificat, for bass, 7 men's voices, boys' chorus, chorus & orchestra
>Penderecki, Krzysztof : Prosimy cie (Kadisz), for male chorus
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The two works on this recording are separated by 35 years, during which time Penderecki made a decisive break with the post-war European avant-garde. In the Magnificat, chilling instrumental clusters, spectral sounds and impassioned rhetoric unite with tonality and counterpoint to deliver a work of monumental emotional power. Written to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of the Jewish ghetto in Lódz, Kadisz is among the most distinctive of Penderecki's later choral works in the stark contrasts between drama and somber reflection of its individual sections.

The Guardian, 7th May 2015
His Magnificat dates from 1974, a crossroads between early-period astringency and the effusive neo-Romanticism he favoured from that point. It's a peculiar and gripping mix: clammy tone clusters and slithering violins cut to resounding diatonic chords and bellowing bass solos - a massive sound here from Wojtek Gierlach.

Gramophone Magazine, July 2015
When the Magnificat finally explodes into celebration, it does so in spectacularly emphatic fashion, and the ever-imperturbable Antoni Wit is in his element throughout, sustaining the tension in the quieter early stages and delivering maximum impact later on.

American Record Guide, November/December 2015
Christianity's Magnificat and Judaism's Kaddish are alike in that they call on us to magnify God's presence in the world. In Krzysztof Penderecki's hands, that's where the similarity ends. Penderecki's 20-minute exegesis on the Jewish Prayer for the Dead dates from 2009 and is a far more accessible work. The work - one of the composer's most affecting - concludes with a haunting evocation of the Kaddish prayer chanted with heartbreaking sincerity by Cantor Alberto Mizrahi. The Naxos engineers are usually on their best behavior for Maestro Wit, and that trend continues here. Notes, texts, and English translations are included in the deal.


Contemporary Magnificat and Kadisz
This recording by Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Warsaw Boys Choir, Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, and various soloists consists of two definitely contemporary works. The Magnificat was written in 1973-74, and the Kadisz in 2009. Mr. Penderecki was born in 1933, the two works are very different indeed.
The Magnificat was commissioned by Austrian Radio to commemorate the 1200th anniversary of the founding of Salzburg Cathedral, as indicated in the informative liner notes. This is definitely not a Magnificat for the lover of traditional harmonies the choirs interject, and sonorities exchange and intertwine in ways that are not necessarily sonically pleasing. The most approachable movement was the fifth of the six, with captivating decaying rhythms from the strings that recall patterns from the timpani. But the rest was difficult for me to want to continue to listen through.
The Kadisz, however, was much more appealing, particularly the third movement, featuring lovely choral blending amidst the sadness of the underlying text. And while the subject matter is sombre and speaks of resiliency, the music wonderfully conveys a sense of eventual solace.
The orchestra and choirs all do an amazing job here, and the liner notes are informative and contain the libretti of both works. If you are not a lover of contemporary music, then the first piece will definitely leave you cold. For me, the Kadisz was worth adding this recording to my collection, but I would definitely recommend listening to sound samples and making your purchasing decision from there.

Submitted on 08/03/15 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Penderecki, Krzysztof : Magnificat, for bass, 7 men's voices, boys' chorus, chorus & orchestra
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Ensemble: Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Witold Lutosllawski Concert Studio of Polish Radio, Warsaw (10/07/2010-10/11/2010)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1973-1974

>Penderecki, Krzysztof : Prosimy cie (Kadisz), for male chorus
  • Performer: Olga Pasichnyk (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Ensemble: Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland (10/22/2010-10/23/2010)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2009