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Steve Holtje
Culture Catch, January 2016

Best Classical Albums 2015

Naxos’ invaluable Krzysztof Penderecki project continues to bring us conductor Antoni Wit’s impeccable renderings of the Polish composer’s complex and challenging music, especially excelling in the choral works, as here. © 2016 Culture Catch

James A. Altena
Fanfare, November 2015

Naxos provides excellent recorded sound, and texts in both the booklet and online. Definitely recommended to Penderecki aficionados for the Magnificat, and to the completist collectors among those for the Kadisz. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Alain Steffen
Pizzicato, August 2015

Antoni Wit coordinates his ensemble superbly in both of these rather complex works by Krzysztof Penderecki and he never fails to rise to the composer’s inspiration. © 2015 Pizzicato

Arnold Whittall
Gramophone, July 2015

…the ever-imperturbable Antoni Wit is in his element throughout, sustaining the tension in the quieter early stages and delivering maximum impact later on. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, June 2015

Soprano Olga Pasichnyk as soloist [in Kadisz] is quite effective, as is Alberto Mizrahi in the tenor role. The Warsaw Philharmonic Male Choir and the Warsaw Philharmonic create a moving tapestry of lament and protest fitting to the dark history of genocide that the music laments.

This is Penderecki in very good form, performed with sympathy and insight. © 2015 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Steven A. Kennedy
Cinemusical, June 2015

Penderecki fans could not hope for a better conductor for this music than Antoni Wit who has proven himself time and again as one of the great interpreters of this music. The Magnificat is a powerful piece and this performance captures that very well. The choirs are also well captured and balanced throughout the performance with the boys’ choir settling in after their first couple of entries. This is indeed quite difficult music so the end results here create what may be one of the finer recordings of this music. The Kadisz is an equally powerful work in the style that the composer has landed on these last couple of decades blending traditional writing with the sensibility and drama afforded him in more avant-garde styles earlier in his output. This is a fascinating release of two modern choral masterpieces. © 2015 Cinemusical Read complete review

Bruce Reader
The Classical Reviewer, June 2015

This is a very welcome addition to the catalogue bringing works of great power and emotion in very fine performances from Antoni Wit and his forces. © 2015 The Classical Reviewer Read complete review, June 2015

The works are abrasive enough in sound and intense enough in expression to be somewhat difficult to hear, especially back-to-back, but their emotive qualities are undoubted—and are very well brought forth by Antoni Wit through the vocalists and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, which plays them with stylistic familiarity and a sure sense of understanding. © 2015 Read complete review

Kate Molleson
The Guardian, May 2015

Soprano Olga Pasichnyk is ardent and lyrical in her solos; Daniel Olbrychski provides cartoonishly lurid narration. © 2015 The Guardian Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2015

By the close of the 1950’s the Polish composer, Krzysztof Penderecki, had established a reputation as one of the most radical composers of the 20th century. But then in the early 1970’s a change began to take place with a move towards a more traditional and populist style of composing, the Magnificat from 1973 finding him at those cross-roads, still unable to leave the musical world that had brought him to international prominence, and yet too early to embrace pure tonality. Commissioned to mark the 1200th anniversary of the founding of Salzburg Cathedral, the musical canvas he gave himself was large, employed extensive forces, and uses many of the techniques we find in his St. Luke Passion from 1966, where he first brought his avant-garde sounds into a wide public by virtue of their unusual sonorities. To follow that with the Magnificat, where tonality at times slithered to the surface, found it in no-man’s-land and much in need of this outstanding recording that delves deep into its complex details. The booklet includes the text which makes us aware how Penderecki uses words to shape music, a fact particularly true in the extended sixth and final section. I am not sure that it was fair to couple it with Kadisz from 2009, for here Penderecki had fully reached a style of listener-friendliness. It is a highly emotive score marking the 65th anniversary of the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto in Lodz. Though of the 21st century, it will be far more approachable to conservative audiences, its four movements using words of biblical/Jewish import, the opening a long and hugely taxing soprano solo excellently performed by Olga Pasichnyk. For the words from the Lamentations of Jeremiah that follow we have the gravelly voice of Daniel Olbrychski, the work ending in quiet prayer for peace. I doubt that either work will receive a more compelling account, the Warsaw Philharmonic confirming its status among Europe’s top three orchestra. The recorded quality is superb. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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