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Slavic Heroes / Mariusz Kwiecien, Lukasz Bordwicz

Audio Samples

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Eugene Onegin, Op. 24
>     You wrote to me...Had I wished to be bound
>     Can it be the same Tatyana?
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Iolanta, Op. 69
>     Aria. Who can compare with my Mathilde
>Rachmaninov, Sergei : Aleko, TN 2/70
>     The camp is asleep / How tenderly she caressed
>Smetana, Bedrich : Certova stena, JB 1
>     122
>Moniuszko, Stanislaw : Halka
>     Aria. As sure as the wind sighs
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Mazeppa
>     Arioso. O Maria, Maria!
>Dvorak, Antonin : The Cunning Peasant, B. 67, Op. 37
>     Aria. Who can express in words
>Moniuszko, Stanislaw : The Haunted Manor
>     Who of my maidens whose heart
>Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai : Sadko
>     City of stone, mother of all cities
>Moniuszko, Stanislaw : The word of a nobleman
>     Come, let envigorating sun
>Borodin, Alexander : Prince Igor
>     No sleep, no rest
>Szymanowski, Karol : King Roger, Op. 46
>     Final scene, hymn to Apollo

Album Summary

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Eugene Onegin, Op. 24
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Iolanta, Op. 69
>Rachmaninov, Sergei : Aleko, TN 2/70
>Smetana, Bedrich : Certova stena, JB 1
>Moniuszko, Stanislaw : Halka
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Mazeppa
>Dvorak, Antonin : The Cunning Peasant, B. 67, Op. 37
>Moniuszko, Stanislaw : The Haunted Manor
>Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai : Sadko
>Moniuszko, Stanislaw : The word of a nobleman
>Borodin, Alexander : Prince Igor
>Szymanowski, Karol : King Roger, Op. 46
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien has won over audiences in many of the world's greatest opera houses with his powerful interpretations (not to mention his rugged good looks). For his fi rst solo recital recording and harmonia mundi début, Kwiecien employs his mellifluous and burnished voice to great effect in a fascinating selection of favorite Polish, Russian and Czech arias. The result is a winning collection of operatic gems, both familiar and rare. Kwiecien is accompanied by the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lukasz Borowicz on the first release from harmonia mundi's new production office in the United Kingdom.

"The basis for this recital is refreshing...Kwiecien really enters the spirit of [The Haunted Manor aria], his focused voice blazing forth in what was the composer's barely concealed encouragement of his countrymen after their unsuccessful uprising against the Russians in 1863...The final scene of King Roger, in which the orchestra holds sway for some while, finds the baritone releasing his sound to the fullest." -International Record Review

"The basic sound – a mix of grit and velvet – is immensely appealing, though there are moments of constriction in his upper registers, and an occasional pulse in his tone. On the plus side, he has a remarkable ability to colour his voice to suit each character, so that Borodin's Prince Igor, thinking of his wife on the eve of battle, sounds very different from Rachmaninov's Byronic Aleko, teetering on the edge of self-destruction." -The Guardian

"Your head might explode in the final track of Slavic Heroes. Bombarded by treacly tones and the lush eroticism of Szymanowski's Król Roger, this is heady stuff indeed. But it's just one of many such treats on Mariusz Kwiecien's new recording...The sheer lyrical arrogance of his dismissal of Tatyana breaks your heart. And, as if playing the opera for real, his Act 3 aria is palpably neurotic... I cannot wait to hear Kwiecien performing these roles live." -Entartete Musik

Classical Review
This thoughtfully planned recital holds several welcome discoveries, and Kwiecien's assured performances are an enticement unto themselves... Apart from passing traces of constriction on top, Kwiecien delivers everything robustly and sensitively, and receives fine, idiomatic support

Opera
Kwiecie± fields wide variety of dynamic and tone-colour to convey dramatic mood... he is greatly aided by the exceptional playing of Borowicz's marvellous orchestra, and indeed by his conducting, which raises this disc high above run-of-the-mill recitals. Their hair-raising account of the finale of King Roger is alone worth the price... .This is a lovely disc, thanks to both singer and conductor.

Sunday Times
His Onyegin... is close to ideal: lyrical, still youthful, attentive to nuances of notes and text. Roger's ecstatic Hymn to Apollo could hardly be bettered today.

BBC Music Magazine
[His signature roles] suggest a certain dashing Italianate quality that's refelcted in his voice: lighter, less rich and chocolatey than some Slavic rivals, for example Dmitri Hvorostovsky. But he also sounds more luminous and less thickly textured, with excellent diction and bel canto agility... Backed by an obviously committed Polish conductor, Kwiecien offers a seriously appealing recital, recorded in first-rate sound.

Gramophone Magazine
The programming fills a valuable niche... Invariably, Kwiecien gives vocally solid, passionate accounts of the music. His well focused (if not exceptionally glamorous) baritone gives a luxuriously clean sense of line... Kwiecien's Onegin is particularly nuanced.

The Independent
Like Tchaikovsky's hero, Kwiecien's programme vacillates between hauteur and abandon, contrasting various arias with no apparent strain. The Czech repertoire ("Certova Stena" and "Selma Sedlak") is on a more intimate scale, but "Hymn to Apollo" from Szymanowski's King Roger is divine.

The Arts Desk, 17th March 2012
There's a husky darkness to the voice. It's frequently beautiful, but highly expressive, especially when used with real restraint. The attraction of this well-produced aria disc is the repertoire...Play it at maximum volume and weep.

Katherine Cooper, 9th January 2012
If Kwiecien's robust delivery of the various set-piece arias make an immediate impact...he is also no slouch when it comes to psychological subtlety, and in the long term it's the more substantial monologues which stay in the mind after several hearings...The fine playing of the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra plays no small part in showcasing both singer and repertoire.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Polish Radio Witold Lutoslawski Concert Hall (09/2009/01/2011).



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Works Details

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Eugene Onegin, Op. 24 :: You wrote to me...Had I wished to be bound
  • Performer: Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Ensemble: Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Running Time: 4 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1877-1878

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Iolanta, Op. 69 :: Aria. Who can compare with my Mathilde
  • Performer: Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Running Time: 2 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1891

>Rachmaninov, Sergei : Aleko, TN 2/70 :: The camp is asleep / How tenderly she caressed
  • Performer: Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Running Time: 6 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1892

>Smetana, Bedrich : Certova stena, JB 1 :: 122
  • Performer: Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Running Time: 4 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1879-1882

>Moniuszko, Stanislaw : Halka :: Aria. As sure as the wind sighs
  • Performer: Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Running Time: 2 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1846-1847

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Mazeppa :: Arioso. O Maria, Maria!
  • Performer: Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Running Time: 5 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1881-1883

>Antonin Dvorák (1841 - 1904) : The Cunning Peasant, B. 67, Op. 37 :: Aria. Who can express in words
  • Performer: Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Running Time: 4 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 02/1877-07/1877

>Moniuszko, Stanislaw : The Haunted Manor :: Who of my maidens whose heart
  • Performer: Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Running Time: 3 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1861-1864

>Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai : Sadko :: City of stone, mother of all cities
  • Performer: Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Running Time: 4 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1895-1896

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Eugene Onegin, Op. 24 :: Can it be the same Tatyana?
  • Performer: Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Running Time: 2 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1877-1878

>Moniuszko, Stanislaw : The word of a nobleman :: Come, let envigorating sun
  • Performer: Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Running Time: 1 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1860

>Borodin, Alexander : Prince Igor :: No sleep, no rest
  • Performer: Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Running Time: 7 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1869-1887

>Szymanowski, Karol : King Roger, Op. 46 :: Final scene, hymn to Apollo
  • Performer: Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Running Time: 3 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1918-1924