Magazine article Gramophone


Magazine article Gramophone


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The Covenant (orch Janczak)

Katarzyna Laskowska sop Cappella Corale

Varsaviana Choir; London Symphony Orchestra /

Lee Reynolds

Warner Classics (F) 9029 58459-4 (44' * DDD * T/t)

It's not every day you encounter a piece that has been 225 years in the making. Composer Michal Lorenc might only have started work on this large-scale choral cantata in 2015 but the work's origins stretch back significantly further.

Premiered at the opening ceremony of Warsaw's Temple of Divine Providence, The Covenant was commissioned from one of Poland's most celebrated film and television composers to mark the fulfilment of a vow made in 1791--to build a temple as gratitude to a God who had 'delivered Poland from foreign aggression and internal chaos'. Wars, invasions and partitions intervened, and it wasn't until 2016 that the building was finally completed.

Performed here by the London Symphony Orchestra and Warsaw's Cappella Corale Varsaviana Choir under conductor Lee Reynolds, this multi-movement work is very much an occasion piece, offering a sequence of atmospheric episodes that seem designed to function as soundtracks to meditation or procession. The first, and substantially the longest, is a hymn to the Virgin. A single male voice (Robert Pozarski) chants the lulling, repeating litanies to Mary, while in impossibly delicate increments the instruments of the LSO and a wordless chorus fill out the texture beneath the hymn. …

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