Krzysztof Penderecki: A Polish Requiemby Antoni Wit
Given the circumstances of its composition, Krzysztof Penderecki might well have titled this work a Requiem for Poland rather than A Polish Requiem. Although it's not actually sung in Polish -- except for the appearance of the traditional hymn "Swiety Boze" near the conclusion -- several of its sections memorialize the trials that Poland suffered in the 20th century, including the Nazi occupation and the repression of the Solidarity movement. Yet Penderecki's music is as universal as any of the great Requiem masses in the repertoire, as dramatic as Verdi's and as moving as Britten's (if perhaps not quite as consoling as Fauré's). Composed mostly between 1980 and '84, the work reached its final state in '93 with the addition of the "Sanctus," and the style as a whole blends elements of Penderecki's early avant-garde experiments (which allow him to express vividly both the Last Judgment in the "Dies irae" and "eternal light" in the "Lux aeterna") and the more conventionally expressive neo-Romantic manner of his mature music. Along with the earlier St. Luke Passion, it's among the composer's most ambitious and imposing sacred works, with exceptionally powerful choral writing and equally striking parts for the four vocal soloists, from the sublime simplicity of the "Recordare Jesu pie" and "Lacrimosa" to the more impassioned solos -- especially those sung here by alto Jadwiga Rappé. With an all-Polish contingent of performers led by Antoni Wit, this important recording reveals the full stature of Penderecki's Polish Requiem, a searing work that meets the challenge of addressing -- and mourning for -- the traumas of its century.
- Release Date:
- Polish Requiem, for SATB, chorus & orchestra
Performance CreditsAntoni Wit Primary Artist
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