Notes & Reviews:
Leo Janácek's dramatic Glagolitic Mass is set to a ninth century Old Church Slavonic text. With its highly individual synthesis of thunderous brass outbursts, rhythmic energy, radiant melodies and interludes of rapt contemplation, the work has established itself as a unique contribution to the choral repertoire. An avowed statement of his belief and patriotic pride in Czechoslovakian national independence, Janácek's Sinfonietta uses spectacular large-scale orchestral forces. Both of these works belong to the composer's last and most inspired decade, and represent his mature musical language at its most communicative. Antoni Wit, one of the most highly regarded Polish conductors, studied conducting with Henryk Czyz and composition with Krzysztof Penderecki at the Academy of Music in Kraków, subsequently continuing his studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. In 2002 he became managing and artistic director of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.
"These performances are every bit as fine as the classic recordings by Czech conductors... Truth be told, there are few organizations better equipped to deliver satisfying performances of large choral works than Antoni Wit and his Warsaw forces. The choir is excellent, top to bottom; likewise, the orchestra. They sing and play in a warm, ample space that lets the sound fill the room naturally, with excellent balances and plenty of clarity even in the most complex textures. Wit almost always chooses a fine lineup of vocal soloists, as here. Soprano Christiane Libor has a Slavic tang to her voice (i.e. vibrato), but excellent pitch and an attractive tone. Tenor Timothy Bentch copes with Janácek's often murderous tessitura very well indeed... This is, by any standard, a major release--a mandatory purchase for anyone who loves this music, or wants to get to know it." -Classics Today (10/10)
Antoni Wit's Warsaw Philharmonic forces plug directly into the emotional power of Janßcek's music, reacting like demons to the distinct undulations of its speech-inspired melodic lines and spanning a rich tonal spectrum all too often missing in performances of the Glagolitic Mass.
The original invoice in the exhibition is now considered among the greatest choral works of the 20th Century. They perform is not easy and it requires such a good staff, as they are gathered here to take action to comply with a musical level, as well as a sound engineer who knows how to arrange the musical layers properly. This is succeeded excellently. Several recording just have sinned with a stringent sound that made the music to be glistening cold. Here is the basic sound warm and full, Wit can color and Dynamiknuancierung effectively began. The transparent, perfectly balanced sound too impressive, show the quality of both the choir and the orchestra. Antoni Wits moderate tempos are also of benefit guarantee and the ensembles as well as the excellent quartet of soloists performed a comfort that affects profit. No doubt that is: this is in all respects outstanding recording of 'Msa Glagolskaja' on offer to settle in the very front-runners. The very colorful and exciting recording of the Sinfonietta would have benefited for my taste a bit more precise contoured, more direct sound.
Music & Vision
'... Wit and his Polish forces come out of it all extremely well indeed.
The increasingly great Polish conductor Antoni Wit... delivers the best digitally recorded version I've heard of the standard edition of the Glagolitic Mass.
the new contender is seriously competitive, both in terms of the quality of the musicianship and interpretation on display, as well as the recorded sound. ... this is a performance which is gripping from start to finish. The polished choral singing is a joy, with excellent pitching throughout, especially in the cruelly exposed unaccompanied entries. The orchestra's contribution is equally distinguished. How refreshing it is to hear such 'unhomogenised' clarinet- and trumpet-playing. The solo quartet also acquits itself favorably...
Classic FM Magazine
Wit's Warsaw Philharmonic forces plug directly into the emotional power of Janacek's music, reacting like demons to the distinct undulations of its speech-inspired melodic lines and spanning a rich tonal spectrum all too often missing in performances of the Glagolitic Mass. The rhythmic cripsness and sheer intensity of the conductor's interpretation return massive dividends in 'Veruju' ('Credo').
BBC Music Magazine
There are many attractive aspects to this performance, not least the heroic tenor of Timothy Bench and the full-throated singing of the sopranos and altos. Too often, however, the delivery of Janacek's motor rhythms seems mechanical...[In the Sinfonietta] Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic are more consistently convincing.
The Naxos label has done excellent work in bringing the music-making of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Antoni Wit (and its fine associated choir) to wider distribution. There are a number of fine recordings of Leos Janácek's Glagolitic Mass and the perversely named Sinfonietta...But this one, unusually well recorded on a couple of occasions at Warsaw's Philharmonic Hall, can stand with any of them. These are clear, confident interpretations that do justice to both of these late Janácek pieces, masterworks of the 20th century.
Liverpool Daily Post
Livelier choral music comes from Warsaw, where Antoni Wit leads his forces through Janácek's Glagolithic Mass, which I remember was greeted with cries of sacrilege when first heard at the Phil. Now we are used to this strange piece with its striking and difficult organ solo. It's coupled with the Sinfonietta with its fine 13 extra-brass in the fanfare. This is another Naxos release, and gains not only from brilliant performances, but also the excellent sound realised in Warsaw's new concert hall.
Wit conducts his Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir in the two outstanding concert works from Janácek's last decade. Both underline the Czech composer's blazing originality - the Glagolitic Mass through his ecstatic setting of a ninth century Old Church Slavonic text, the Sinfonietta through the fanfare-like role he gives the brass in a symphonic context. Both pieces receive crisp, radiant and transparent performances.
Janácek's two highly popular concert works performed with the virtuosity of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and its outstanding choir. In a musical language that is full of pungent colours, the Mass is unlike any other sacred work, and derives much from Janácek's operas in the taxing roles for four solo singers. Antoni Wit's performance of the Sinfonietta is unhurried, its much enlarged brass section bringing the requisite tingle factor to the fanfares of the outer movements. Recorded in a spacious and wide dynamic sound.
Antoni Wit excels as a Janácek interpreter, encompassing the vivid colours of the orchestration and drawing stirring singing from the chorus. The soprano soloist Christiane Libor has the ideal dramatic fervour for his music.
Recording information: Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland.
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Works DetailsLeos Janácek (Composer) (1854 - 1928) : Mass (Msa glagolskaja) for soloists, double chorus, orchestra & organ ("Glagolitic Mass"), JW 3/9
- Conductor: Antoni Wit
- Ensemble: Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
- Notes: Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland (04/26/2010-04/27/2010)
- Running Time: 37 min. 38 sec.
- Period Time: Romantic
- Form: Choral
- Written: 1926-1927
Leos Janácek (Composer) (1854 - 1928) : Sinfonietta for orchestra ("Military," "Sokol Festival"), JW 6/18
- Conductor: Antoni Wit
- Notes: Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland (09/29/2009-09/30/2009)
- Running Time: 22 min. 38 sec.
- Period Time: Romantic
- Form: Orchestral
- Written: 1926