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Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, March 2013

The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, whether they are conducted by Wit or someone else, can be depended upon to bring authenticity and fire to Penderecki’s music…I really have no reservations about these performances. In fact, this Canticum Canticorum Salomonis is the most impressive I’ve heard, eclipsing the composer’s own recording on EMI. (Wit’s slower tempos emphasize the music’s sensuality.) I am looking forward to hearing what Wit does with the Magnificat. © Fanfare Read complete review

James A. Altena
Fanfare, March 2013

…Antoni Wit and the forces under his command provide exemplary performances of these works, and all three vocal soloists and the narrator discharge their duties ably…Naxos provides them with well-defined recorded sound. If this repertoire appeals to you, then you definitely will want to add this disc to your collection. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Steve Holtje
Culture Catch, January 2013

Best New Classical Albums of 2012: #19

Naxos’ Penderecki series is the most important and impressive ongoing project in classical music right now…My favorite is the a cappella “Song of the Cherubim”…which has an attractive purity of focus, though the murmuring beginning of Canticum Canticorum Salomonis…is also a striking a cappella moment. The superb engineering required to make the denser works, such as Canticum Canticorum Salomonis, come through the speakers with such crystalline clarity is a major contributor to the impact of this album and Naxos’ whole Penderecki series. Of course, Antoni Wit is a extremely talented conductor who understands these works as well as anyone besides the composer, but Penderecki himself had already conducted recordings of many of the works Naxos has recorded; it’s how much better they sound here that makes this series indispensable. Who needs audiophile labels when this mid-price label’s sound is state-of-the-art? © 2013 Culture Catch

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2012

Performed here in the reverse order of composition, the disc takes us back through choral works composed by Penderecki over the past forty years. Opening in his new world of tonality that here returns to music of the late 19th century for the Hymne an den heiligen Adalbert, the short work paying tribute to the 18th century Bishop of Prague who lost his life in an effort to convert the people of the Baltic countries. The Song of the Cherubim from 1986 also looks back to the days of chant and polyphony, but seen through the eyes of a 20th composer with some unusual harmonies. It shares the previous work’s brevity before we arrive at the disc’s two extended works, the Canticum Canticorum Salomonis and Kosmogonia, both dating from the 1970’s. At the time Penderecki was still the darling of those at the cutting edge of modernity, the Canticum fashioned from sound-bites rather than a musical score that traditionalists will recognise. For the singers it is extremely challenging, the task of pitching isolated notes a difficult task. It has a major and colourful role for percussion that carries over into Kosmogonia, a work commissioned to mark the 25th anniversary of the United Nations, and includes solo parts for soprano, tenor and bass, its general texture more readily assimilated. Throughout the disc the music’s complexities must have required considerable preparation, and I extend my gratitude to the soprano, Olga Pasichnyk, conductor, Antoni Wit, the Warsaw forces involved, and to the sound engineers for the immaculate recording. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, October 2012

In this, the latest release in the impressive ongoing Naxos series of recordings covering most of Krzysztof Penderecki’s output, conductor Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra bring together some of Penderecki’s most diverse and captivating choral works.

These rarely recorded vocal works go a long way in exemplifying Penderecki’s steady and methodical development from the sparse and experimental Strophen to the richly textured and neo-romantic Hymne an den heiligen Adalbert, a work of unusually uplifting power for 1997. The harmonically haunting lines of Song of the Cherubim, combining chant-like drones with highly evocative choral writing leaves an odd impression, as if remnants or vestiges of ancient Orthodox ceremonies echoing through the mists of time. Both Kosmogonia and Canticum Canticorum Salomonis are filled with passages of inspired writing, ranging from extremely subdued and mysterious filaments of sound to cataclysmic outbursts of fearsome power.

Krzysztof Penderecki manipulates the human voice just as effectively as orchestral instruments, and in the process achieves some truly mesmerizing effects. Superb singing and playing from everyone involved, captured…in a first rate recording. © 2012 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review

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