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Product Description

Penderecki' Utrenja was inspired by the Orthodox liturgy for Holy Saturday with its focus on the lamentation of Christ' death and the Easter Sunday morning service commemorating the Resurrection. The composer remarks that 'Utrenja is a combination of p

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Iwona Hossa, soprano - Agnieszka Rehlis, mezzo-soprano - Piotr Kusiewicz, ténor - Piotr Nowacki, basse - Gennady Bezzubenkov, basso profondo - Chœur et Orchestre de Varsovie Warsaw Philharmonic - Antoni Wit, direction

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sonic Spectacular! April 30 2009
By J. Wright - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
If you like thorny and extravagant High Modernism, then you must hear this. I used to love this piece (circa 1970 when it was written), but no recording has been available for decades. Now comes a new recording from modest little Naxos, and it is a stunner - with a huge dynamic range and excellent work from the Warsaw Philharmonic and conductor Wit, who seems to specialize in these enormous choral works.

The chorus sings, shouts, chants, and whispers in sliding atonal clusters of sound, surrounded by great dramatic outbursts from the orchestra (there is a big part for the bass drum and something that sounds like an anvil!). Better yet are the several Basso Profundos who sing demented church-style chants. Interspersed are a number of quieter sections that recall, alternatively, Palestrina, Slavic folk songs, and Orthodox church music. It all builds repeatedly to gargantuan, even frightening, climaxes (your neighbors will hate you). Charles Ives used to boast the he didn't write music for "sissies" - neither did Penderecki.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Liberating sound beyond tradition" May 12 2009
By Tym S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Krzysztof PENDERECKI, "Utrenja"

"All I'm interested in is liberating sound beyond all tradition," declared the young Penderecki, who in the 60's formally undermined Communist control of Poland by using mostly textures and tones in avant-garde compositions, and flaunting catholic sources under an athiest state. His two-part "Utrenja" is a challenging and emotional evocation of the "Entombment" (I) and "Resurrection" (II) of Christ. This 1971 duo carried deep metaphorical resonance for the generation chafing under the post-'68 crackdown, and propelled Penderecki's international support.

These are mainly choral pieces, led by three male and two female soloists, backed by a ephemeral choir and very percussive orchestra. They use the voice for emotional textures, not as angelic arias, to convey the anguish of the death of Jesus and astonishment at his return. Voices declare, argue, whisper, and lament. They shift between dissonant thickets of babble, chanted recitations, transcendent tones, penitent solos, fragmented murmurs, alarmed clarions, and white noise. It is intense and strangely beautiful. Sharp, bold orchestral rapids direct the flow of vocals like a rocky stream. This is a music of deep drama and complex emotional range, an epic story played out through a sonic landscape. Far from an aloof exercise, it is breathless, eerie, and alive.

Penderecki's use of driving percussion, dissonant or alien choirs, and tense silences made him a natural for edgy film scores; many of his works have been used to classic effect in such films as Friedkin's "The Exorcist", Kubrik's "The Shining", Lynch's "Wild At Heart" and "Inland Empire", and Cuaron's "Children of Men".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another choral masterpiece from Penderecki! Feb. 22 2010
By Eric S. Kim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
St. Luke Passion was the first classical piece that I have ever heard from composer Penderecki, and about halfway through, I became an admirer. Krzystof Penderecki, a famous 20th-century composer, has created dozens of compositions that belong to the modernist genre. Most of his works rely on bizarre textures and orchestrations, resulting in some hauntingly scary music that you would normally hear in horror films. While not all of his works are strictly avant-garde, he has created some truly stunning pieces nonetheless. Utrenja is a great example of his genius, as it is full of passion and drama. Created from 1970 to 1971, this choral composition about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has been given a very positive response since its premiere, and it's pretty simple seeing why. Unusual orchestral and vocal effects dominate throughout: plucking strings, whispering choir, etc. It's very complex music, but strikingly mesmerizing at the same time. This CD from Naxos shouldn't be too hard to ignore. It has some wonderful performances from the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra, as well as from maestro Antoni Wit & the soloists. You can tell that these people have put a lot of effort into this recording just by listening. No lack of emotion, no wrong notes, no mistakes in timing, it's an almost perfect recording. In conclusion, I would call this an ideal desert island CD, and the purchase was well worth it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utrenya by Krzysztof Penderecki is a gem of polysemic possibilities Aug. 23 2011
By Danuta Z. Hutchins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
In his two partite work "Utrenya" Krzysztof Penderecki surpassed his former compositions, at the same time, returning to his "Trenody to the Victims of Hiroszima". Drawing upon the Old Church Slavonic "dwuglos", or double voice tradition, the composer expanded its possibilities by adding assonance and series of contrapuntal vocal passages; in which the male voices signal their roles in missal ceremonies. The female voices, prominent in the first part of this composition, add tonality and color, as they lead into the issuing conversations between the strings and percussive elements that shock by their adumbrative values. Celebrating Christ's ressurrection, part two unveils many novel approaches to Penderecki's musical language. The fact that this composition, while created at the Western neighbors' request, had been written during a very trying period in Poland's history, (the martial law period and the rise of the "Solidarity" movement) makes it a polysemous creation where several layers of meaning blend to elevate this work to larger secular and religious significance. Penderecki's genius never ceases to excite the connoisseurs of modern music.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you love this piece try to get the earlier versions May 9 2009
By I. Zopen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is certainly a worthwhile recording of this monumental piece, and I would recommend it; however, serious Penderecki collectors will want to stick with the 1973 Polskie Nagrania recording also by the Warsaw Philharmonic. If you are a particularly fortunate record hunter, you may someday see the 1971 Eugene Ormandy Philadelphia Orchestra recording (only on LP). If you see it, buy it. The only drawback is that it is only of Part I of the piece and not Part II. In my opinion, the Ormandy is the best. Another collectors note: The Polskie Nagrania recording was also once published in the form of a Phillips Box Set (2LP's). That would be the 'holy grail' collector's item.

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