PAWEL LUKASZEWSKI (b.1968): Advent Music for String Orchestra (Baltic Neapolis Orchestra; Tomasz Tomaszewski), Responsoria Tenebrae for Vocal Sextet (proMODERN Contemporary Vocal Sextet), Daylight Declines for Mixed Choir (Cantatrix; Geert-Jan van Beijeren en Henegouwen), Prayer to the Guardian Angel for Female Choir, Piano and Chinese Bells (Musica Sacra Warsaw-Praga Cathedral Choir; Pawel Lukaszewski), Lenten Music for 6 Saxophones (Morpheus Saxophone Ensemble).

Catalogue Number: 01Q067

Label: Dux

Reference: 1135

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: This exceedingly beautiful program of sacred music by a composer who, in his own words 'breathe[s] this kind of music' begins with his exquisite settings of the prayers for the last three days of holy week, the gathering shadows prefacing the Crucifixion. Łukasewski's brand of tonality is a very individual one, with unexpected configurations of chords and added-note harmonies lemding the music a strange, unearthly beauty, at once invoking Renaissance polyphony and sounding entirely new. Lenten Music consists of the same pieces in instrumental guise; the surprising ensemble of six saxophones, which in this context sound like a rich, warm-toned chamber organ. Advent Music is a similar exercise; a transcription for string orchestra of the composer's antiphons for Advent week. These works, solemn and based on the forms of Gregorian chant are serious, ardent prayers celebrating the mystery of the Messiah, intense and expectant, with no trace of the picturesque Christmas carol about them. The other two choral pieces are prayers for protection from evil, the one based on material from a Renaissance composition, in Łukaszewski's expanded polyphony, with its unexpected and daring dissonances, the other, accompanied by an etherial haze of high-pitched bells and a constant sustained background chord, sets the text, as a series of repeating chordal statements, creating a sense of timelessness and profound, rapt devotion. Texts and translations included.

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