St. Luke Passion
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|10. Et Viri, Qui Tenebant Illum|
|12. Miserere Mei, Deus|
|13. Et Surgens Omnis|
|14. Et In Pulverem|
|15. Et Baiulans Sibi Crucem|
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|19. Diidentes Vero|
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See all 27 tracks on this disc
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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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).
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
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.
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.)
If you don't know anything about this work excerpts of it were used in the famous horror movie "The Shining." If it wasn't for the fact that Penderecki is a devout Catholic I swear that this work is Satanic. It probably would be great music for Halloween. Those who are used to 19th century classical music might get there ears singed from this piece.
Enough about the piece. This performance is played and sung very well to the best of my understanding. What I mean by that is that is sung in a language other than English which I don't understand and to the best of my knowledge just on the sound of the voice is very good. Orchestrally I don't think I've heard better. The Poles seem to have great orchestras even in the smallest places. This being the Warsaw Philharmonic... they have no problem at all. Wit is great interpreter of Penderecki. If this piece interests you after you get it and you want to try something purely for orchestra may I suggest Wit's rendition of the 3rd symphony of Penderecki. All in all no reservations about this piece or performance five stars all the way around. Before I end I should say the Naxos sound is very well engineered also.