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David Olds
The WholeNote, November 2013

…Naxos has collected its existing recordings and issued a 10-CD box LutosÅ‚awski—Symphonies; Concertos; Choral and Vocal Works…featuring the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (and others) under the direction of Antoni Wit. Containing virtually all of the larger works it is a comprehensive set of thrilling performances in glorious sound. © 2013 The WholeNote Read complete review

David W. Robinson
Positive Feedback Online, November 2013

Positive Feedback’s 10th Annual Positive Feedback Writers’ Choice Awards for 2013 – The Best of the Best!

Listening to this generous treasure trove of music by Polish modernist composer Witold Lutoslawski…affords a marvelous opportunity to hear twentieth century music evolve in the hands of one of its most brilliant composers. Naxos is both wise and fortunate to have allied themselves with Wit and the Polish National…Naxos’ presentation of these two major modernist composers is a huge cultural gift to the world. © 2013 Positive Feedback Online Read complete article

David Hurwitz, September 2013

At the heart of this collection lies the work of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra under Antoni Wit, a largely unsung but truly great conductor who is completely in his element here. He plays all of this music with idiomatic flair, but also a passion and intensity that is very special. In the concertos and vocal works, Wit is joined by a stellar selection of talent both familiar and local, but no less accomplished: soprano Olga Pasichnyk, tenor Piotr Kusiewicz, baritone Adam Kruszewski, pianist Bernd Glemser, violinist Krzystof Bakowski, cellist Andrzej Bauer, and several others. Lutoslawski, throughout is life, enjoyed the advocacy of the best and most famous artists in their respective media, but none of Wit’s associates need fear comparison to them.

The fact is that these performances are, on the whole, finer than the composer’s own, and the engineering is excellent too…this is a landmark set, and a major accomplishment by any standard. © 2013 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2013

The centenary of the birth of Witold Lutosławski is being offered little recognition by the record industry, but I guess no other label has the depth and quality to offer. Here we have his complete symphonies and concertos linked with his remaining orchestral works and choral scores, the boxed set amounting to almost twelve hours of music plus a bonus disc of the composer conducting his last concert before his death in 1994. I will not attempt to give you a resumé of the performances from the Polish Radio Orchestra and their estimable conductor, Antoni Wit, as they will all go down as the absolute guide to the composer’s output. That said I could not resist dipping into my favourite tracks that begin with the gorgeous voice of Olga Pasichnyk singing the Chantefleurs et Chantefables, a group of nine songs much influenced by Debussy. Then onto the naughty Paganini Variations with the pianist, Bernd Glemser, revelling in the work’s fun, before the baritone, Adam Kruszewski, takes us on an uneasy journey through Les Espaces du sommeli. Music of a more modern nature, that reminds us of Lutosławski’s time and place in the advent of music, comes with the atonality of Livre pour orchestra, here preceding one of the greatest 20th century Cello Concertos. It is as if one human voice had descended into a world of conflict, that voice here superbly played by Andrej Bauer. His most frequently performed work, the Concerto for Orchestra returned Lutosławski to the mainstream of Prokofiev and Bartók in their most hard-hitting mode. Twenty years later Mi-parti plays with less tangible threads, though becomes increasingly fascinating the more you hear the work. We turn the clock back again to 1955—contemporary with the Concerto for Orchestra—to savour the delights of Dance Preludes for clarinet and orchestra, set beside the unexpected turmoil that greets the Double Concerto for Oboe and Harp, one of his strangest scores. Then, almost as a ‘sweeping up’ final disc, we have the innocent voices of children and the return of the soprano, Olga Pasichnyk, in the beauty of 20 Polish Christmas Songs. I don’t think any composer could have hoped to find an orchestra and conductor who would serve him with such total dedication. The recorded sound is excellent, and the booklet is highly detailed, the whole package coming in slipcases in a robust and colourful box. Recommended without reservation of any kind. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

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