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Lukaszewski: Choral Music / Layton, Cambridge Trinity College Choir


Release Date: 09/09/2008 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67639   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Pawel Lukaszevski
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College ChoirCambridge Trinity College Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



?UKASZEWSKI Beatus vir: Sanctus Martinus; Sactus Paulus; Sanctus Antonius . 2 Lenten Motets . Ave Maria. O Antiphons . Psalm 102. Nunc dimittis Stephen Layton, cond; Cambridge Trinity College Ch HYPERION 67639 (66:22)


Stephen Layton is arguably the finest choral director working today in the U.K., a country seemingly bursting with musical talent. The Read more choruses with which he has worked—the Netherlands Chamber Chorus, Danish Radio Chorus, Polyphony, The Holst Singers, and this group, the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge—have produced a stream of recordings of unfailingly high quality. This CD is no exception. Layton’s choral scholars sing this technically challenging music, with its dazzling polytonal clusters, complex chords, and nontraditional progressions with absolute purity of tone, perfection of intonation, and depth of feeling. That is enough reason in itself to acquire this, but there is more than virtuosity to commend this recording.


We live in a renaissance of sacred choral music, epitomized by the highly expressive, intensely devotional compositions of Pärt, Tavener, Górecki, MacMillan, Lauridsen, and others. It hardly seems reckless to predict that this will one day be regarded as a golden age. And on the strength of this program, the first major release devoted to his work, it is clear that Polish composer Pawe? ?ukaszewski (b. 1968) belongs in this company of titans. Any listener to the works of the composers listed above, especially the first three, will know, basically, what to expect. The intensely rapturous building of climaxes, the unerring amplification of the text, the use of tonality in non-standard ways—“renewed tonality,” as ?ukaszewski calls it—are all shared attributes. But ?ukaszewski is more inventive harmonically than any of them and, seemingly unwilling to repeat himself, explores new expressive means in every one of these 15 a capella works. I found myself amazed at each subtle harmonic surprise, at each stunningly apt underlining of a phrase. My notes for this review are a mess, as time and again I simply stopped writing, frozen in place by the sheer otherworldly beauty of what I was hearing.


These works are a prospectus of his compositional career, ranging from an already characteristic student composition, a double choir Ave Maria , to the recently completed, achingly beautiful Nunc dimittis dedicated to Stephen Layton. Centerpiece to the collection is a seven-movement set of Advent antiphons, settings of seventh-century devotional texts. Written to be performed separately, they function admirably as a single work, tracing a penitent’s prayers for salvation from the agitated invocation of Wisdom (“O Sapienta”) with its Reichian motoric ostinato, to the darkly anguished call from spiritual prison (“O clavis David”) with its whispered moments of awed insight, to the concluding celebratory song of praise to the Savior (“O Emmanuel”) with its dramatic glissandos and ecstatic suspensions. And I haven’t even mentioned the deft characterization of the three saints in the Beatus vir selections, or the dramatic setting of Psalm 102. Do not hesitate.


FANFARE: Ronald E. Grames
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Works on This Recording

1.
Beatus vir by Pawel Lukaszevski
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir,  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 8 Minutes 20 Secs. 
2.
Lenten Motets (2) by Pawel Lukaszevski
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir,  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1995; Poland 
Length: 8 Minutes 0 Secs. 
3.
Ave Maria by Pawel Lukaszevski
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: 1992.
Composition revised: 2003. 
4.
O Antiphons by Pawel Lukaszevski
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Poland 
Length: 33 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Poland (1995 - 1999). 
5.
Psalmus 102 by Pawel Lukaszevski
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Written: Poland 
Length: 7 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Poland (2002 - 2003). 
6.
Nunc dimittis by Pawel Lukaszevski
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Written: 2007; Poland 
Length: 4 Minutes 23 Secs. 

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