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St. Luke Passion

Penderecki , Wit Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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1. O Crux Ave
2. Et Egressus
3. Deus Meus
4. Domine, Quis Habitabit
5. Adhuc Eo Loquente
6. Ierusalem
7. Ut Quid, Domine
8. Comprehendentes Autem Eum
9. Iudica Me, Deus
10. Et Viri, Qui Tenebant Illum
11. Ierusalem
12. Miserere Mei, Deus
13. Et Surgens Omnis
14. Et In Pulverem
15. Et Baiulans Sibi Crucem
16. Popule Meus
17. Ibi Crucifixerunt Eum
18. Crux Fidelis
19. Diidentes Vero
20. In Pulverem Populus
See all 27 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Penderecki' St Luke Passion takes as its model the Passions of Bach, the events leading up to the Crucifixion related in an ongoing sequence of narratives, arias and choruses. Its stark simplicity and directness attracted worldwide attention and it was qu

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An old-fashioned Passion. April 5 2004
Format:Audio CD
Old-fashioned-- Penderecki? Well, this is no trip to the movies; it lacks the shock value of violent imagery, floods of blood on a widescreen, hammers hitting in surround sound.
Penderecki handles the Passion the Bach way. And how moving and beautiful it is! There are a few moments similar to the Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, but nothing too outlandish or noisy. The twentieth century techniques available to Penderecki add to the spiritual impact: the tolling bells, the choir shouting "Responde!"
The description of Jesus being crucified is accompanied by a rather gentle flute solo, creating a stirring contrast.
The soloists are strong, particularly the soprano. And Wit continues to show he is the best conductor of Penderecki outside the composer himself. This all-Polish group presents the classic work with a love that is evident in every note.
I recommend this musically redemptive experience over a ticket to a recent movie.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Penderecki's Choral Masterpiece - The St. Luke Passion March 20 2006
By Shota Hanai - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Krzystof Penderecki has become one of my favorite composers ever since I listened to some of his most radical works, including the "Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima", the two "De Natura de Sonoris", and the "St. Luke Passion", his musical depiction of the last hours of Christ.

This is one of the most graphic, most intense pieces of music the world has to witness. The work is divided in two parts. In Part I, The ominous introduction, with the chorus singing "Hail the Cross", already invites doom. Christ's prayer on Mt. Olives begins somberly, but leads to a teffifying climax as the chorus sings "I am crying", before dying down to near silence. In the capture scene, once can vision the approaching Roman legion, with a series of nasty brass sounds and stampede of percussion. The mocking of Jesus is equally violent, as the entire orchestra and chorus seems to laugh at Him. Sinister monophonic notes rip the air as the chorus shouts "Crucify Him!"

Part II begins with Christ's carrying of the cross. The cruficixion scene features one of the most excrutiating tone clusters the chorus ever produced, as overwhelming as the pain Jesus witnessed with pins hammered to His hands and feet. In the "Stabat Mater", when the Virgin Mary watches her dying Son, the music becomes relatively calm, but the avant-garde sound is still prevalent. The music becomes violent again when Christ utter his last words, before the music dies away, along with Christ's spirit. The concluding call for redemption begins dark, but ends in a glorious major chord, unachieved within the previous 75 minutes.

Penderecki's rendition of Christ's last hours is as shocking, disturbing, and powerful as the controversial Mel Gibson movie. A music like this should have a "Parental Advisory" label (and I am being a little sarcastic).
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modernistic Passion July 3 2008
By Robin Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Although he has returned to a neo-romantic compositional style, Kryzstof Penderecki (b. 1933) first became known as an avant-guarde modernist composer. His monumental "St. Luke Passion", first performed in 1966, has become, in its intensity and emotionality, one of the few overtly modernistic compositions to attract a wide audience. This work is heavily indebted to the passion music of Bach but in a style that is uniquely modern. Penderecki uses the letters of Bach's name, B-A-C-H, as the basis for many of the tone rows in the work.

The St Luke Passion is scored for a massive orchestra, including a large percussion section, chorus and boys chorus, soprano, baritone, and bass soloists, and an Evangelist. The work sets texts from the Gospel of St. Luke as well as from other biblical and liturgical sources.

The St. Luke Passion reflects the composer's own devout faith, but one does not need to be a believer to respond to this score. The music is almost entirely atonal. At only two points, at the end of the piece and it the conclusion of the climactic "stabat mater" does Penderecki resolve the music into a chord in the major key. Virtually the entire work is sad and somber. Within its frame, their is a great diversity of music. Penderecki uses the form of ancient chants, in the chorus singing a capella in hushed tones. In portions of the work, such as the scene before Pilate (track no 13) or the scene where Jesus is mocked on the cross (track no 22) the chorus hisses and shouts in a strong cacophony of sound. The soloists have moments of almost mystical intensity. And the spoken part of the Evangelist alternates effectively with the choral and solo passages. The music makes frequent use of a gong, which reminded me of the extensive use of that instrument in the more accessible music of the American composer, Alan Hovhaness.

This recording of the St Luke Passion dates from 2004 and received a deserved rating of 10/10 on Classics Today. Antoni Wit conducts the Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra and the Warsaw Boys Choir. The recording is part of a continuing series of Penderecki's major works on the budget-priced Naxos label. It makes a compelling case for this passionate music. The CD includes detailed liner notes and the complete Latin text and translation of the Passion. Izabella Klosinaska is especially impressive in her soprano solos.

The St Luke Passion opens with an expansive prayer, set for organ, orchestra and large chorus. It follows, in Part I with a series of recitifs, solos, and choruses of the events leading to the arrest of Jesus. The admonition "Jerusalem, Jerusalem turn again to thy God" is repeated twice, the first time for chorus the second time for soprano solo.

The second and longer portion of the work describes the Crucifiction in anguished music with frenetic writing for the chorus. The climactic moments of the work include the long chorus "Popule meus" (track 16), the "Stabat mater" (track 24) which incorporates Penderecki's setting of this text in 1962, and the final chorus (track 27) which ends in the major key with the words Into thy hands I commend my spirit/ for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, thou God of truth."

The St. Luke Passion is difficult music with an emotional force that cannot be denied. Listeners who are willing to see that modernistic music can have an almost visceral appeal will love this music of passion and religious devotion.

Total Time: 76:24

Robin Friedman
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars St. Luke's review July 11 2009
By Dean Book - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
We are used to the brilliance of Bach and his music, but this is one from the country over and a few centuries in the future. Penderecki offers us great choral music and Naxos a great recording. If you like the clips, then you will enjoy the entire piece of music.
I learned about his music from a Frank Zappa interview, since he feels Penderecki was doing interesting things that were current. This piece is a prime example.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent recording of an excellent 20th-century masterpiece July 13 2009
By Eric S. Kim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I pretty much can listen to almost every sort of classical music, from the classical and romantic eras (R. Strauss, Beethoven, Wagner, Berlioz, Rachmaninov, Elgar, etc.) to the 20th century and the present day (Stravinsky, Messiaen, Respighi, Holst, Lauridsen, Glass, etc.). I listen to only one composer from the Baroque period, and that's J.S. Bach (Baroque isn't very interesting to me, anyways). While the music of the Classical Period are absolutely and extraordinarily timeless, I'm more for the music of the Romantic/20th century. Respighi, Sibelius, Debussy, Bruckner, Tavener, and many others have created such extravagant works (like "La Mer" and "The Firebird"). They're also more diverse than anywhere else (Stravinsky with his neo-classical forms, Debussy with his impressionistic orchestrations, Schoenberg with his 12-tone serialism, etc). As the maestro Michael Tilson Thomas once said, Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven can never be conquered, as they are legendary and unmatched. That I can understand fully, but the later composers I still prefer. And now, here's yet another 20th-century composer that's part of my CD collection . . .

The first time I've heard music from Polish-born composer Krzysztof Penderecki was from the Kubrick horror classic, The Shining. It grew on me, and I just had to hear more from him. So I bought the St. Luke Passion on Amazon (actually from Newbury Comics, an Amazon seller, but anyway), played the CD, and 76 minutes later, I was completely hooked. This is not gentle Mozart-like music. This is more in the likes of Ligeti's "Atmospheres" and "Requiem." This is a very powerful work that requires a very large orchestra and a very professional choir. These two requirements are due to the fact that St. Luke Passion is full of raw emotion and power.

Penderecki is a very religious man, and his strongest beliefs are expressed here. St. Luke Passion tells of the mockings against Christ as he is about to be crucified. We all know how disturbing his death is described in the Bible. Well, just imagine how it is expressed through music: Penderecki has created some of the most violent (and some of the eeriest) music that's ever been heard in the 20th-Century. Full of harsh strings and percussion, loud woodwinds and brass, and ghostly choral techniques, this is a large-scale work that probably shouldn't be played with the lights turned off.

Upon listening to it, you can tell that this is certainly very hard to perform. Perhaps that's why it's rarely recorded. In this particular 2002 recording, however, Antoni Wit and the Polish forces have covercome this sort of challenge by playing it almost perfectly. Everything is set off without a hitch. The strings have that right amount of madness that's required, while the brass and woodwinds manage to achieve the nightmarish requirements with the fewest mistakes. The Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir and the Warsaw Boys Choir have done an excellent job: they were able to pull it off by becoming Penderecki experts. Wit, especially, knows the score very well. He is able to bring out the fullest qualities that are needed for this sort of work. Credit should be given to him and his forces for performing this complicated choral work.

Naxos has released a series of Penderecki works, and continues to release more to this day. I'm looking forward to all of them, as Penderecki has quickly become one of my favorite 20th-century composers.

Grade: A+
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! Highly recommended May 13 2005
By dm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Penderecki is able to merge the traditional form of religious chant and choral work with modern orchestration techniques, and it works out wonderfully. The sound, choral work, orchestration, and production are all wonderful on this disk.

This is probably one of Naxos' finer offerings (really, the poor Naxos discs are much more the exception than the rule...my own feeling is that you can't really go wrong with Naxos.)
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