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Peter J. Rabinowitz
Fanfare, May 2012

If you’re looking for sonic blockbusters to show off the newest technology—especially if you’re looking for something more intellectually respectable than the 1812 Overture and more mainstream than Aho’s Symphony No. 12—you can’t do much better than these two explosive products of Janáček’s final years. And Naxos rises to the occasion with engineering that’s thrilling but not garish, with realistic instrumental timbres, solid (but not aggressive) bass support, and a superior sense of acoustic space.

What marks this music is its raw power…there’s a superb sneer on the muted solo trumpet calls that begin at measure 35 in the “Věruju,” and the woodwinds in the Sinfonietta’s second movement are suitable acrid.

Still, anyone who buys this release will get plenty of interpretive rewards: in the soulfulness of the “Gospodi pomiluj,” in the drive toward the end of the “Slava,” in the inevitability of the throbbing bass line in the first section of the “Svet.” The soloists are generally good (I especially appreciate the heroics of tenor Timothy Bentch in his strenuous part), and the chorus…is surely well prepared. Recommended for those wanting to explore the new medium. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

James A. Altena
Fanfare, May 2012

Like the entry of Janáček’s mature operas into the standard repertoire of major houses worldwide, the burgeoning of recordings of this extraordinarily idiosyncratic but endlessly fascinating score signifies the recognition the composer has gained as one of the seminal figures of the early 20th century.

All four soloists are quite capable (the soprano being the most important); and, while not native Czechs, the choral forces from neighboring Poland have the requisite Slavic timbre and perform ably, as does the orchestra. As he almost invariably does with any piece he takes in hand, Antoni Wit turns in a finely tuned, incisive account of the score. Naxos does have the advantage of being the only budget-priced offering of this work…which makes it an inexpensive but commendable way to introduce this work to a friend who is unfamiliar with it.

Much the same can be said of the supplemental Sinfonietta offered here—a very good performance…Recommended then…as a supplemental version at a bargain price. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Christopher Dingle
BBC Music Magazine, May 2012

LANCINO, T.: Requiem (Grant-Murphy, Gubisch, Skelton, Courjal, Radio France Choir, Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, Inbal) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0020
JANÁČEK, L.: Glagolitic Mass / Sinfonietta (Libor, Marciniec, Bentch, Gierlach, Malanowicz, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Wit) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0026
SCHUMANN, R.: Scenes from Goethe’s Faust (Warsaw Boys’ Choir, Warsaw Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, Wit) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0015
SCHUBERT, F.: Overtures (Complete) (Prague Sinfonia, C. Benda) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0019

Naxos’s commitment to audio-only Blu-ray is serious. In addition to the recordings reviewed here, and in July 2011, the steady stream of releases not only includes natural fare for the surround-sound format, such as Mahler’s Eight Symphony or the Szymanowski Symphonies, but also one of the best recent accounts of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

That Naxos invests in its catalogue in major-label style is most apparent in the appearance of Thierry Lancino’s Requiem on CD and Blu-ray . Even in stereo, the Blu-ray version leaps out of the speakers with greater immediacy than CD. In surround, the experience is exhilarating when the chorus and sizeable orchestra are given full rein, but there is also the frisson that comes from hearing so many people singing and playing in a whisper. Moreover, this music is worth hearing. Lancino adds two characters, the biblical David and the Sibyl of Greek myth, amid the Requiem text. Such interspersing of texts brings to mind Britten, but his absorbing exploration of notions of mortality is also rooted in Honegger, Stravinsky and Penderecki, and bears repeated hearing in this compelling performance from Radio France ensembles under Eliahu Inbal.

After Lancino’s spectaculars, it is not too great a leap to Janáček’s exuberant Glagolitic Mass, led by one of Naxos’s stars, Antoni Wit. This is a strong performance, and the Blu-ray opens out the choral sound so that the balance of Janáček’s rich textures is more natural, without softening its edges. © 2012 BBC Music Magazine

Robert Benson, April 2012

JANÁČEK, L.: Glagolitic Mass / Sinfonietta (Libor, Marciniec, Bentch, Gierlach, Malanowicz, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Wit) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0026
VERDI, G.: Ballet Music from the Operas (Complete) (Bournemouth Symphony, Serebrier) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0027

these Naxos Blu Ray Audio disks are a treat for audiophiles. You will hear some of the cleanest sound possible thanks to state-of-the-art processing and the fact that original recordings were expertly engineered.

Serebrier’s Verdi collection gives us the opportunity to hear a rarity—22 minutes of ballet music for the seldom-performed Jerusalem. This and the other Verdi ballet music all receive spirited performances from Serebrier and his British forces. Antoni Wit and his fine Warsaw forces continue to impress…

The masses of sound in the Glagolitic Mass have been superbly captured, with soloists, chorus and orchestra well-balanced…splendid, full-bodied performances that do total justice to the music, beautifully recorded. Let’s have more, Naxos! © 2012 Read complete review

Gramophone, February 2012

If ever you need to hear what audio-only Blu-ray can do, look no further than the stunning DTS-HD surround of Naxos’s Janáček Glagolitic Mass © 2012 Gramophone

Malcolm Riley
Gramophone, January 2012

JANACEK, L.: Glagolitic Mass / Sinfonietta (Libor, Marciniec, Bentch, Gierlach, Malanowicz, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Wit) 8.572639
JANACEK, L.: Glagolitic Mass / Sinfonietta (Libor, Marciniec, Bentch, Gierlach, Malanowicz, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Wit) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0026

the new contender is seriously competitive, both in terms of the quality of the musicianship and interpretation on display, as well as the recorded sound. …this is a performance which is gripping from start to finish. The polished choral singing is a joy, with excellent pitching throughout, especially in the cruelly exposed unaccompanied entries. The orchestra’s contribution is equally distinguished. How refreshing it is to hear such ‘unhomogenised’ clarinet- and trumpet-playing.

The solo quartet also acquits itself favourably…

As a bonus, the new Sinfonietta recording easily supplants Ondrej Lenárd’s 20-year-old recording for Naxos with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra. The balance is first-rate and no tiny detail is overlooked. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2011

Janáček’s two most popular concert works make ideal candidates for the high definition Blu-ray audio discs with their wide dynamic range. In its CD format it was reviewed in my November column when I commented on the large orchestral and vocal resources that are required and the fact that ‘this new release from Wit has the benefit of the superb Warsaw Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra in stunning form.’ That is made abundantly clear in the detail that a Blu-ray format can impart…

John Sunier
Audiophile Audition, November 2011

There are many competing recorded versions of both Janáček works, but this is the first in hi-res multichannel. The 1990 recording of both pieces with the London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas was what I had on hand, and is very good. But the sonics of this new audio-only Blu-ray are so superior (in both options) I found it difficult to make a comparison. Antoni Wit has conducted his Warsaw musicians in a number of excellent recordings for Naxos and other labels. Read complete review

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