Composer: Krzysztof Penderecki
Performer: Iwona Hossa, Aga Mikolaj, Ewa Wolak, Rafał Bartminski, Remigiusz Łukomski, Warsaw Boys’ Choir
Orchestra: Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Antoni Wit
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Size: 260 MB
01. Credo in unum Deum
02. Qui propter nos homines
03. Et incarnatus est
05. Crucem tuam adoramus Domine
06. Et resurrexit tertia die
07. Et in Spiritum Sanctum
08. Confiteor unum baptisma
09. Et vitam venturi saeculi
10. Cantata in honorem Almae Matris Universitatis Iagellonicae sescentos abhinc annos fundatae
Described by USA Today as ‘one of Penderecki’s most colorful and extroverted [pieces]’, the Credo is a sweeping, lavishly scored and highly Romantic setting of the Catholic profession of faith.
Its use of traditional tonality alongside passages of choral speech, ringing brass and exotic percussive effects marks it as a potent Neo-romantic masterpiece.
Composed more than 30 years earlier, the short avant garde Cantata recalls the sound world of Ligeti and celebrates the survival, over 600 years, of the Jagellonian University near Kraków.
Religious music has been a significant part of Penderecki’s output from early in his career, and his St. Luke Passion of 1966 was a key work in establishing his international reputation as an iconoclast with an original and arresting musical vision. Since turning his back on the avant-garde in the 1970s he has devoted even more energy to religious music, creating a number of large pieces, some of which are among his most significant works in his mature post-Romantic style. Penderecki’s essential perspective — earnest, dense, and darkly dramatic — has remained constant throughout his career, though, and is on full display in his 50-minute 1998 setting of the Credo, a part of the Mass most of which is devoted to optimism and affirmation. The composer’s setting of the central section asserting belief in the crucifixion and death of Jesus is appropriately grim, but even the more traditionally positive sections sound anguished and angst-ridden, as if every aspect of the composer’s faith were very serious business indeed. There are a few moments of brightness, including parts of the first movement and the end of Et in Spiritum Sanctus, but even the concluding Alleluia is almost entirely in a bleak minor mode until the final major cadence. The brief Cantata in honorem Almae Matris, written to honor the Jagellonian University, which Penderecki attended, comes from 1964, the height of his experimental period. Its sinister mutterings aren’t out of character with his music of that era, but it hardly sounds celebratory. Led by Antoni Wit, the Warsaw Boys Choir, Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, and Warsaw Philharmonic perform the difficult scores with passion and intensity. Some of the soloists are very fine, and some less so, but all are reasonably effective. The sound is about as clear as could be expected given the textural and harmonic density created by the massed choral and orchestral forces.