Krzysztof Penderecki: St Luke Passionby Antoni Wit
Most people probably consider the genre of the "Passion" to be synonymous either with J. S. Bach or Mel Gibson. But a few composers have proposed modern musical interpretations of the Crucifixion narrative, including Krzyzstof Penderecki in his St. Luke Passion of 1966. (Arvo Pärt's Passio is another late-20th-century essay in the form, and a vastly different one.) Penderecki is best known for the visceral sonic assault of experimental works such as his Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (1961), although time has progressively mellowed this Polish composer's style. What is still most striking about his Passion is how compellingly it blends avant-garde techniques -- especially Penderecki's innovative textures and hovering tone clusters -- with more traditional styles of choral and vocal writing. All of this contributes equally to the emotional resonance of music and story alike, and it's no wonder the Passion has become one of the composer's most renowned works, for its impact is both powerful and enduring. It has been recorded before -- once with Penderecki himself conducting -- but this new performance is as fine as any you're likely to encounter. The all-Polish forces, including a trio of commanding singers (plus actor Krzysztof Kolberger speaking the lines of the Evangelist), are led by conductor Antoni Wit in a thoroughly mesmerizing reading of the challenging score, and there's not a weak link to be heard. Just as important, the recorded sound is brilliant, marking out a richly resonant acoustic space but also capturing details of great subtlety. Making this disc even more irresistible is the price tag: As it so often does, the Naxos label makes adventurous listening such a bargain that there's no excuse to pass it up.
- Release Date:
- St. Luke Passion (Passio et Mors Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundum Lucam), for 3 voices, narrator, choruses & orchestra
Performance CreditsAntoni Wit Primary Artist
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >