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Choir Music From Poland & Belgium

Elsner / Franck / Polish Radio Choir / Engels
Release Date: 04/10/2012 
Label:  Phaedra   Catalog #: 92072   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Józef ElsnerCésar FranckJules Van NuffelVic Nees,   ... 
Performer:  Andrzej BialkoAndrzej Zawisza
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CHOIR MUSIC FROM POLAND AND BELGIUM Herman Engels, cond; Polish R Ch, Cracow PHÆDRA 92072 (71:14 Text and Translation)


Music by ELSNER, FRANCK, PENDERECKI, VAN NUFFEL, NEES, TINEL, KILAR, VAN DER ROOST, DOBRZYNSKI, GÓRECKI


The rationale behind this disc seems to be that a Flemish conductor leads a Polish choir on a Belgian label. The time covered by this anthology spans most of the 19th to the 21st century, with Read more the latter pieces firmly looking backward to tradition. Its hold on our time does not include much of its major musical movements.


Thus, the first surprise on the disc is the motet by Krzysztof Penderecki, O gloriosa virginum , a surprise because it is almost completely tonal, something not always associated with those works of Penderecki we mostly know. Most of what we know comes from before the 1970s, during which decade his style began to shift toward a greater use of tonality as its organizing principle. The notes give no dates for most of the music on this disc, but this item comes from 2009. This is a side of Penderecki’s music of which we are seldom aware. In this sense, it is coherent with the Trois complaints (2007) of the Belgian composer Vic Nees, a work that completely eschews 20th-century modernism and adopts a mildly chromatic use of tonality.


The major piece on the recording is Contemplations (2003), by the contemporary Belgian composer Jan van der Roost. Despite occasional organ ruminations in distant keys, and a few choral tone clusters and ostintos, the piece for soloists, chorus, and organ is in the tradition Americans might most easily recognize from the music of, say, Morten Lauridsen.


It is a pleasure, then, to report that the most radical piece on the disc is the last one, by Henryk Górecki, Euntes ibant et flebant (They Wept as They Walked) from 1972, the same year as his Second Symphony. Dissonant responses to the text alternate with passages of simple diatonic harmony, all in a slow web of sound.


It is also a pleasure to report that the Polish Radio Choir is in good shape here. The choice of music does mean, however, that slow contemplation is the dominant musical expression and listening to this recording end to end would bury every piece but Górecki’s, especially as the choir is wrapped in a slightly cavernous acoustic. The texts have no translations.


FANFARE: Alan Swanson
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Works on This Recording

1.
Ave Maria for chorus & organ in E flat major by Józef Elsner
Performer:  Andrzej Bialko (Organ)
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840 
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
2.
Domine non secundum, M 66 by César Franck
Performer:  Andrzej Bialko (Organ)
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; France 
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 3 Minutes 52 Secs. 
3.
In convertendo Dominus, for chorus & organ by Jules Van Nuffel
Performer:  Andrzej Bialko (Organ)
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 7 Minutes 52 Secs. 
4.
Trois complaintes, for mixed choir a cappella: A Furnes by Vic Nees
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 3 Minutes 12 Secs. 
5.
Trois complaintes, for mixed choir a cappella: Jardin des olives by Vic Nees
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 4 Minutes 14 Secs. 
6.
Trois complaintes, for mixed choir a cappella: Les vierges sages by Vic Nees
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
7.
Psalm 150, for male chorus & organ by Edgar Tinel
Performer:  Andrzej Bialko (Organ)
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 4 Minutes 38 Secs. 
8.
Agnus Dei by Wojciech Kilar
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993/1997; Poland 
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 6 Minutes 47 Secs. 
9.
Modlitwa Panska, for chorus by Ignacy Feliks Dobrzynski
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 
10.
Euntes ibant et flebant, Op. 32 by Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; Poland 
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 9 Minutes 9 Secs. 
11.
O gloriosa virginum, for mixed choir a cappella by Krzysztof Penderecki
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Period: Modern 
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
12.
Contemplations, for soloists, mixed choir & organ: A Hymn to God the Father by Jan Van der Roost
Performer:  Andrzej Bialko (Organ), Andrzej Zawisza ()
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 7 Minutes 11 Secs. 
13.
Contemplations, for soloists, mixed choir & organ: Bring us, O Lord by Jan Van der Roost
Performer:  Andrzej Bialko (Organ), Andrzej Zawisza ()
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 5 Minutes 53 Secs. 
14.
Contemplations, for soloists, mixed choir & organ: Thou will keep Him in Perfect Peace by Jan Van der Roost
Performer:  Andrzej Zawisza (), Andrzej Bialko (Organ)
Conductor:  Herman Engels
Venue:  Church of St. Augustine and St. John the 
Length: 6 Minutes 45 Secs. 

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