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Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, November 2001

This work gets its power from tonality…the music ascends into the brightest sunshine…These Polish performances, by musicians who have proven their worth many times over, seem definitive to me, superseding the competition. © 2001 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Anastasia Tsioulcas, September 2001

"You might remember Polish composer Henryk Gorecki's best-known work for voice and orchestra, 1976's Third Symphony ('Symphony of Sorrowful Songs'). ...It might be tempting to understand Gorecki by that singular success; in the case of the Second Symphony and Beatus vir, you wouldn't be too far off base. The Symphony No. 2 "Copernican" was written four years before the Third Symphony; Beatus vir was written in 1979. Both works call for voice and orchestra (as well as mixed choir). By the late 1960s, the composer already had settled into a signature aesthetic that many came to know in the Third Symphony: a lone voice floating over a murmuring pulse, thunderous blows of percussion, massive blocks of orchestral chords, and religiously oriented texts. (The Beatus vir text comes from the Psalms; the Second Symphony, following the work's subtitle, uses the astronomer's own words in praise of God, taken from De revolutionibus orbium coelestium.)

"For better or worse (depending on your response to the Symphony No. 3), Gorecki's compositional language in these two pieces will be quite familiar. If you find Gorecki a compelling artistic voice--and I do--then these performances will be a worthy addition to your library, if not quite as emotionally harrowing an experience as Symphony No. 3. The ethnic connections on this Naxos release run deep: Copernicus was Polish, Beatus vir was commissioned by the Polish Pope, John Paul II (when he was still Cardinal of Cracow), and these artists, uniformly first-rate, are Polish as well. Baritone Andrzej Dobber turns between despondency and strength as the psalms call for, and soprano Zofia Kilanowicz has an appealingly warm tone. Antoni Wit has an admirable track record with Naxos, and this recording is another win for him. The sound is excellent: very focused and rich."

Michael Stewart
Gramophone, June 2001

"Gorecki's transitional Second Symphony and Beatus vir benefit from fine performances...I can thoroughly recommend this disc to anyone wanting to expand their appreciation of Gorecki beyond the Third Symphony. The Copernican Symphony more than justifies the price of the disc alone and the performances and recorded sound throughout are exceptionally fine."

Nicholas Williams
BBC Music Magazine, June 2001

"Few more potent symbols of Polish pride can be imagined than the uplifting baritone solo at this work's heart, resonantly sung by Andrzej Dobber. This, and the sonorous choral writing, beautifully realized, will pleasantly surprise any listener."

Raymond Tuttle

"The work was a phenomenal success at its premiere, and there's no reason why it shouldn't remain so...I strenuously urge you to put your prejudices aside and to hear this new CD. It's Want List material for sure."

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