One of the most grown-up review sites around

52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

WYASTONE releases

The Birth of Rhapsody in Blue
A superlative recreation

such a success

An outstanding performance

make acquaintance without delay

Violin Concerto
This is an impressive disc

Strong advocacy
for a British composer

Piano Music - Martin Jones
agreeably crafted

Piano Music 5CDs

Consistently fine

Rare and interesting repertoire

An excellent introduction

A Celebration on Record

An issue of importance

A splendid disc

both enlightening and rewarding
additional review


Support us financially by purchasing
this through MusicWeb
for Ł16 postage paid world-wide.

Rafał AUGUSTYN (b. 1951)
Sub Iove
Three Roman Nocturnes for mixed choir [12.13]
Missa semibrevis for choir and organ [21.49]
Od Sasa, Sounds-rests-events for mixed choir [7.55]
Vagor ergo sum, small cantata to words by Zbigniew Herbert, Emperor Hadrian and Italian National Railways for mixed choir and gongs [22.02]
Agnieszka Drożdżewska (soprano)
Monika Michaliszyn (mezzosoprano)
Joanna Rot (contralto)
Julian Gembalski (organ)
Jarosław Jędraś, Jacek Muzioł (percussion)
Cantores Minores Wratislavienses/Piotr Karpeta
rec. Jan Kaczmarek Concert Hall, Radio Wrocław, February 2013
CD ACCORD ACD212-2 [64.52]

Rafał Augustyn is a composer whose name was not wholly unfamiliar, but this was the first time I was conscious of listening to any of his music at length. It was certainly worth the effort, and will appeal to anyone who would wish to explore music which has a simplicity and beauty (artfully constructed) in the spirit of composers such as Pärt or Gorecki.

Augustyn was born in Wrocław (formerly Breslau – Klemperer was also born there), studied there (under Ryszard Bukowski) for three years, and subsequently (1975-1977) at the State Higher School of Music in Katowice, where his composition teacher was Górecki. In addition to Augustyn’s work as composer, pianist and music critic, he is a distinguished philologist, working at the institute of Polish Philology at Wrocław University since 1979. Little of his music has been recorded, apart from his Music for and with String Quartet (CD ACCORD ACD 165-10) from 2010. No-one, as far as I know, has attempted to record his ‘Symphony of Hymns’ which lasts 100 minutes and requires an orchestra of 170: perhaps an enterprising company will take it up. On the evidence of the current CD, his is music which deserves to be heard.

Each piece on the current CD has its own character. The Three Roman Nocturnes use pieces, by Ennius, Catullus and Seneca, each strongly characterised by shifting perspectives and each distinctive, with very subtle use of the small choir.

The Missa semibrevis is perhaps the most immediately appealing work. It is a substantial Mass setting, which, in addition to the expected five parts (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus/Benedictus, Agnus Dei), most unusually begins with a Confiteor, normally used liturgically as a personal confession of sin and plea for repentance, conventionally simply spoken at the beginning of Mass. The idiom of the Missa semibrevis has shadows of Eastern European liturgical chant and Latin plainsong, while being unabashedly modern, perhaps with hints of Bartók. The clarity of enunciation and pinpoint choral accuracy are both telling.

Od Sasa is a fascinating piece. The first section, ‘Epistles’ is not Biblical but a till receipt for smoked fish, the second movement is a song for basketballers, the third, ‘Autumn Malady’ is a brief list, apparently connected with a bad stomach, and the final part, ‘Production Line’ concludes with the cry “I’ll be a Polish intellectual – Hurrah!”.

The final work, is longer, but no less eclectic in its sources. I cannot think of another composition which uses railway announcements to frame more serious pieces of text. The announcements include an arrival, a delayed arrival, and a cancellation as a result of industrial action, which is perhaps a little too familiar to listeners like me who travel on Southern trains… But it’s a fascinating and rewarding piece.

Performances are obviously carefully prepared, precise and splendidly clear. Recording quality benefits from both exceptional clarity and depth – this is demonstration class.

This is one to enjoy and revisit – both fascinating and lovely.

Michael Wilkinson



We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

a vibrant slice of life

stylistically assured

About Every Hill and Valley
Swedish Songs

Hallberg and Dente
interesting and most welcome

An inspired partnership
additional review

A valuable document

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger