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Polish Carols


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1. Angels To The Shepards Came
2. Hey! Rejoice Now
3. When Christ To Us Is Born
4. Just After Midnight
5. God Is Born
6. Our Lovely Lady
7. Hurrying To Bethlehem
8. In A Manger
9. Jesus There Is Lying
10. We Are Shepards
11. Lullaby, Jesus
12. Hey, On This Day
13. Jesus Lovely Flower
14. Hey La, Hey La, Shepherds There You Are
15. What To Do With This Child
16. Hey, Hey Lovely Lady Mary
17. This Is Our Lord's Birthday
18. Shepherds, Can You Tell
19. Infant So Tiny
20. Holy Lady Mary (Wandered Through The World Wide)
See all 26 tracks on this disc

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Marvelous! Dec 9 2005
By W. Harwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Marvelous production on all fronts. The carols themselves are the heart and soul of the Polish religous and Christmas spirit. The arrangements recast traditional and beloved kolendy in modern adaptations, reflecting Lutoslawski's ample skills as vocal and orchestral arranger. The notes give the background a newcomer to the genre needs, and those already familiar with the songs will learn more. The cover art is wonderful. The singing and orchestral accompaniment are beyond reproach. Downloading the lyrics, in Polish and English, will take 23 pages, but that's a small price to play to appreciate this examplary release. Wspaniale to all concerned. Buy it!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Odds and ends, but still glimpses of a fine composer at work Dec 14 2010
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This Naxos disc, released in 2005, is something of an appendix to the label's long series of Witold Lutoslawski's orchestral works. The three pieces here are not major parts of the Polish composer's output, but Lutoslawski was nonetheless fond of them. Antoni Wit leads the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

NOTE! This is a classical music CD! It is not a general holiday album for people following Polish Christmas traditions, and the low average rating of this CD as I write this review is sadly due only to prior customers not researching what they are buying.

Now, in 1947, Lutoslawski made an arrangement for voice and piano of twenty classic Polish Christmas carols from various 19th century collections of carol melodies. In 1986 he arranged the work again for the much larger forces of soprano solo, female choir and orchestra, and this is the version we hear on this disc. While the first carol is presented in a fairly simple manner not far from its folkloric basis, the set quickly becomes more ambitious. The complex harmonization of the folk material is comparable to the composer's Concerto for Orchestra of the same era. Now, I feel that Lutoslawski's best music was the high modernism of approx. 1960-1980, and so the 20 Polish Christmas Carols don't really call me back, but we still have one of the 20th century's finest writers for orchestra at work here, and there's a wealth of instrumental detail to enjoy.

The 5 Songs on Poems by Kazimiera Illakowicz for 30 solo instruments (1956-57) represent a considerably more mature composer. Turning away from folk inspiration, Lutoslawski now pursued mid-century modernism and introduced his own brand of atonality through the use of 12-tone chords. Far from making his music grey and emotionless, the weird tone clusters mesh well with the expressive features of Illakowicz's poetry. The orchestration of what was originally a piano line is inventive. I love, for example, the use of harp over a woodwind drone in the first song, or the opposition of piano and celesta in the fourth song. Lutoslawski was to make even greater strides in his next work, "Funeral Music".

The disc also contains the "Lacrimosa" for mixed choir and orchestra (1937), the only surviving movement of a Requiem that Lutoslawski worked on in the mid-Thirties. It has the French touch of very early Lutoslawski, though considering it's less than four minutes long, it's essentially a choral fanfare and leaves little lasting impression.

The booklet doesn't contain the sung texts, but there's a link to a PDF on Naxos' site that contains the Polish original and English translation of the Carols, the Latin and English of the Lacrimosa and an English translation of the 5 Songs. Naxos doesn't provide the Polish text of the Illakowicz songs, I assume for copyright reasons.

Again, the music here is fine but very minor in Lutoslawski's total output. Furthermore, the disc is only 54 minutes long and Naxos could have packed another work or two in here, such as one of the fanfares hitherto left out of the label's Lutoslawski collection. Still, I'd recommend the entire Naxos series of Lutoslawski orchestral works to anyone who loves 20th century music, and as this disc here would be an economical further purchase, it's hard not to recommend it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An excellent departure from the norm Aug. 31 2011
By Andrew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
While we do enjoy a vast treasury of Christmas carols in English, there are several other cultures which have their own traditions of carols - and the Poles are undoubtedly one of them. If you are a Polish American, you already know this because chances are that you have 2 or 3 albums of amateur-, church- or folk-sytle "Kolendy" (Polish Carols) from your grandma or aunt that you play during Christmas time each year. Lutos'awski's arrangements of these tunes, however, are far more complex, with beautiful and moody orchestral accompaniments, and wonderful alternations of melody singing between a women's chorus and a soprano.

If you are new to kolendy - consider this cycle a Polish version of Britten's Ceremony of Carols: each are a bit esoteric, but wonderful, and a reflection of the carol traditions of the cultures they come from.

For those who are interested in the actual titles of the songs, here they are, in order:

1. Anio' pasterzom mówi'
2. Hej, weselmy si'
3. Gdy si' Chrystus rodzi
4. Pó'noc ju' by'a
5. Bóg si' rodzi
6. Gdy 'liczna Panna
7. Przybie'eli do Betlejem
8. W ''obie le'y
9. Jezus malusie'ki
10. My te' pastuszkowie
11. Lulaj'e Jezuniu
12. Hej, w dzie' narodzenia
13. Jezu, 'liczny kwiecie
14. Hola hola, pasterze z pola
15. A có' z t' dziecin'
16. Hej hej, lelija Panna Maryja
17. Z narodzenia Pana
18. Pasterze mili
19. Dziecina ma'a
20. Naj'wi'tsza Panienka po 'wiecie chodzi'a

Tracks 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 17 will be known by anyone familiar with kolendy, tracks 10 and 18 you may have heard before - and the rest you will probably never have heard before.
Simply delightful! Dec 14 2014
By Terrance Aldon Shaw - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Those only familiar with Lutoslawki's more acerbic avant-garde compositions of the '60s and '70s, will be pleasantly shocked and delighted by what they find on this charming album. Like his near-contemporary Ligeti in Hungary, Lutoslawski (Poland's greatest composer between Szymonowski and Penderecki) began his career very much under the influence of Bartok and the folk music movement, which, though sometimes exploited by authoritarian governments for questionable ideological purposes, resulted in some truly lovely, surprisingly imaginative, and highly accessible music. These arrangements of hauntingly tuneful Polish Christmas songs are lithe, lively and luminous, warm and spirited, cleverly orchestrated and, here, beautifully sung by committed native speakers. Those in search of something different will certainly find it on this record--simply a delight, and not to be missed.
2 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Very non Xmas Carols Feb. 6 2010
By Al Jablonski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD sounds like a group of harpies attempting to lure Polish sailors onto snow covered rocks. There is none of the warmth and love that these beloved carols usually convey. There seems to be a battle being waged between the singers and the orchestra. I tossed it in the trash barrel where it belongs.....Polish Insult


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