has not always been the beaming face
of contemporary Polish music. In the
mid-1970s his works bore the sterner
impress of Penderecki. The choral and
orchestral work Bogurodzica is
an example of something closer to the
forbidding face of dissonance and fragmentation.
In the Mass recorded here Kilar
has profundity in his sights but his
language, shaped by the universality
of his subject matter, is tonal and
communicates without barrier.
has always been there. Kilar's Missa
Pro Pace is ambitious in scale and
message. Like the recently heard Vasks
String Quartet No. 4 the music seems
to look back over the twentieth century
knowing its slaughters, pogroms and
obdurate heartlessness. Rather than
despairing the Mass finally sings a
reconciling song - sorrowful yet triumphantly
Missa is in five meaty sections
each allocated its own substantial track.
There is no further sub-division although
some of the sections are clearly in
scene is set by a stern-tense adagio
where the radiant opulence of Barber-like
strings meets the seething tension of
a Shostakovich adagio-meditation. There
is an unaccompanied Kyrie eleison
where the soloists enter in a meditative
duet. The following Gloria in excelsis
deo (tr.2) tests the massed choirs
with pummelling motorism as the singers
spit out the words. The echo is inevitable:
Orff. The solo voices return in an idyllic
intertwining duet like that in Delius's
Once I passed through a populous
city. Martellato writing for the
choir closes the Gloria.
centre-point comes in the third track
where the undulating movement of Russian
Orthodox spirituality is heavy with
the fragrance of incense. The choir
produce a consistently joyous velvet
and auburn glow in the singing of the
Crucifixus (tr 3 10.02).
sweetly-toned voice of Zofia Kilanowicz
who has recorded Gorecki's Third Symphony
leads the listener through the Sanctus.
It is not to be taken as a criticism
if I mention that it has a touch of
Rutter about it. This section begins
with awed expectation conjured by harp
and with a quietly breathing string
ostinato. The quartet of singers is
strong overall although Rappé
is strained. The inter-twining of voices
is Monteverdian in the ensemble at 7.53.
Magical moments include, at 13.02, the
semi-chorus singing a distanced Dona
this work there is nothing of the stage.
The music has none of the barbaric thrumming
of Bogurodzica. The gentler profile
of Kilar's score for the film The
Ninth Gate is a more relevant reference.
takes the Brucknerian way of the sincere
head-bowed composer, the servant of