Pawel Lukaszewski, Tenebrae, Nigel Short - Daylight Declines

Published Monday 4th June 2018
Pawel Lukaszewski, Tenebrae, Nigel Short - Daylight Declines
Pawel Lukaszewski, Tenebrae, Nigel Short  - Daylight Declines

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Signum Classics SIGCD521

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

If one heard this music without having seen the cover or indeed the composer's name one would immediately place it in Poland or possibly further east but nevertheless somewhere with a Catholic rather than an orthodox heritage. The names Lutosławski and Penderecki might come to mind, or perhaps Górecki or Pärt. Paweł Łukaszewski was indeed born in Poland, in the southern city of Częstochowa, famed as a site of pilgrimage. He studied at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music, where he still teaches, and is now the Artistic Director and Conductor of Musica Sacra Cathedral Choir in Warsaw. While the references to the composers named above are relevant, Łukaszewski has his own voice and has had his compositions recorded more than 100 times. Indeed, if Nigel Short thinks his music is worth recording we know we are on safe ground as Tenebrae is one of the world's leading vocal ensembles. Most of the texts are Latin, with translations supplied in the CD booklet, although the title track, "Daylight Declines" is segued with two Shakespeare Sonnets, "Like As The Waves" and "Weary With Toil" and is thus in English. The main event is a setting of the popular "Responsoria Tenebrae" followed by "Lamentationes". These are inevitably sombre and reflective but in the appropriate liturgical context can also be both moving and uplifting and when sung by a choir as proficient as Tenebrae they can also be appreciated as performance pieces. The programme concludes with "Beati", the Beatitudes from the Sermon On The Mount although here again sung in Latin. These words are not often set to music - Arvo Pärt's version is probably best known - but here they make a fitting close to a contemplative series of works that all deserve to be heard.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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