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Steve Schwartz, June 2017

The chorus is fine, the soloists okay, if not spectacular. However, Antoni Wit pulls together a magnificent account, true to the rawness and bleakness of Tuwim’s and Weinberg’s vision. Wit has largely flown under the radar, but I consider him one of the best conductors now working, and Naxos gives him to you for a bargain price. © 2017 Read complete review

Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, July 2013

…Antoni Wit’s conducting is nothing short of miraculous.

…under such inspired direction the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir play and sing with fervent commitment, and I’m thrilled to say that his vocal soloists are all first-rate, particularly tenor Bartmiński…He has a typically bright Polish tenor…and his powers of interpretation are simply marvelous. Soprano Dobrowolska and alto Marciniec are not to be slighted—their contributions are equally telling, and equally well sung…

This is a very deep, emotional, and involving work that you will certainly be caught up in and not forget. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, July 2013

Here we have an important work by an important composer whose reputation has been steadily increasing since his death in 1996, and it is a world premiere recording to boot.

…I was very impressed with this symphony…

…this performance seems like a total success. Tenor Bartmiński…has a sweet and appealing voice that nevertheless can put across the score’s more painful sections. The soprano and the alto are very strong as well. As one expects from this ensemble, the choral work is superb. The chorus sings with real versatility…I’ve never heard a bad recording from Wit…I can’t imagine how this could be better.

…it is clear that this is a powerful, strongly communicative work, and it is passionately realized by the Polish performers. Don’t hold back! © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Roger Hecht
American Record Guide, July 2013

This first commercial recording of [Weinberg]’s Eighth Symphony in the West is terrific from all quarters, including the sound.

I cannot recommend this magnificent work and this recording of it highly enough. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Erik Levi
BBC Music Magazine, May 2013

It was a masterstroke on the part of Naxos to use Polish forces. Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra already have a wonderful track record in releases of large-scale choral works, and deliver a performance of searing intensity. © 2013 BBC Music Magazine

David Hurwitz, April 2013

Antoni Wit and his Warsaw forces are almost always at their best in choral music...The chorus sings with the right purity and, where called for, intensity. Tenor Rafal Bartminski has a pleasing timbre and makes a very effective soloist. Both women handle their small parts as well as anyone could ask, and the whole production is very well recorded. This is a very fine release of music by an elusive but tremendously sincere and worthy composer. © 2013 Read complete review

Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, April 2013

As always, in this ongoing Naxos coverage of Weinberg’s symphonic output, every aspect of this production is of the highest calibre. Tenor Rafal Bartminski, soprano Magdalena Dobrowolska, alto Ewa Marciniec, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir and conductor Antoni Wit all come together to fully realize this work’s potential and to convey its profound emotional weight. © 2013 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, March 2013

We have out now…the World Premier recording of [Weinberg’s] Symphony No 8 “Polish Flowers” (1964)…an ambitious score for full orchestra, choir (the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir) and soloists (Rafal Bartminski, tenor, Magdalena Dobrowolska, soprano, and Ewa Marciniec, alto) all for this recording under the direction of conductor Antoni Wit.

…there is enormous dramatic power in this work and that comes across very well in this recording. The Naxos edition is impeccably produced. I for one am quite glad it has been made available to us. © 2013 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

MusicWeb International, February 2013

Polish Flowers is an expressive, melodic work of considerable elegance and power, its climax tantalisingly hopeful.

…the three vocal soloists and the choir are very impressive…Antoni Wit keeps everyone and everything together masterfully. Sound quality is worthy of the performances. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2013

For the Polish-born composer, Mieczyslaw Weinberg, the 1960’s was a highly productive period that saw the birth to seven symphonies including the Eighth. For Russia it was a period of artistic freedom following on from the death of Stalin, writers and composers expressing the bitterness and resentment that had been smouldering for years. In Weinberg it generated a vocal score using the words of Julian Tuwim’s epic poem, Polish Flowers, where common everyday events, such as the Gust of Spring, became a cryptic comment on life in Poland, and reflected the suffering of its people through the war and into the Communist era. It was to be Weinberg’s first wholly choral symphony…and uses a tenor soloist in six of them and a duo of soprano and alto in the fourth movement. Weinberg had been much encouraged and, to some extent, influenced by Shostakovich, though he never possessed those bitter tones that colour the older composer’s scores, and comparing the two composers would be unfair. What we have is a very striking score, often turbulent, as is Warsaw Dogs, a disturbing poemwhere cruelty dealt out to dogs is equated to that inflicted on Polish people. For the tenor the score offers a challenge, with passages that require a heroic quality mingling with those of liquid beauty. In Rafal Bartminski we have both in equal quantity, his clear diction no doubt delighting those who speak Polish. Over the years Antoni Wit has been one of the great champions of Polish composers, and he draws impassioned singing from the chorus, and exceptionally fine playing from his great orchestra. Superb sound quality. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, January 2013

This sensational recording was produced, engineered and edited by Andrzej Sasin and Aleksandra Nagórko of the Polish label CD Accord.

Another major entry in the Weinberg catalogue. The picture continues to emerge and with each instalment we can start forming our own appraisal of this music and the man behind it. Certainly multi-faceted, very humane and un-attracted by fashionable modernism, here is a composer who still sees and acts on the impulse to communicate with audiences beyond academe, beyond factions. His writing is fascinating for what we know and intriguing in the mass of music we have yet to hear.

All in all, this is another major and very personal entry in the catalogue. It is one that should also fascinate adherents of Shostakovich’s symphonies of the 1960s. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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