One of the most grown-up review sites around

50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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

Some items
to consider

Brahms Symphony 4 Dvorak Symphony 9
Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano"
IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra

Sinfonie Concertanti for two flutes and orchestra



A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review

an inspirational performance

An indispensable acquisition

The finest we have had in years

bewitching sound

Simply amazing

A splendid addition

One of the most enjoyable

quite superb!

utterly essential

A wonderful introduction

An outstanding CD


One of the finest versions

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing
this through MusicWeb
for £13.50 postage paid world-wide.

Support us financially by purchasing
this through MusicWeb
for £13.50 postage paid world-wide.

Otton Mieczysław ŻUKOWSKI (1867-1942)
Opera Omnia Religiosa 5 & 6 - Christmas Carols
Marta Wróblewska (soprano); Paweł Pecuszok (tenor); Mikołaj Zgódka (tenor); Robert Kaczorowski (baritone); Przemysław Kummer (bass-baritone); Urszula Iżbicka (piano)
rec. 4-6 July 2016, Hall of the Paderewski Combined Schools of Music, Byalystock, Poland. DDD
ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0368/9 [55:07 & 49:57]

These two discs of Christmas carols are part of Acte Préalable's Żukowski Edition. The previous volumes are AP0288; AP0343; AP0347 and AP0354. Żukowski's songs are sincere and plain-speaking. They are not art-songs. Their draw will be felt especially by Poles everywhere, who, I suspect, in many cases will feel a connection through childhood and upbringing. Robert Kaczorowski, one of the five singers, provides the notes and invites the listener "to kneel at the foot of the manger and be allowed to be filled with faith, hope and love for the time that lies ahead." This simplicity and faith extends to the music which has, for the most part, one voice singing accompanied by piano. Each disc plays for about an hour and contains twenty-one songs. These are best taken in short incremental groups. Acte Préalable did well in opting for five voices and the songs are configured to make the best use of such variety. These unaffected carols are the antidote to seasonal dazzling lights, glamour, bathos and caramel sentimentality.

I don't have a great deal to say about the songs individually but note that several on volume 6 are laid out for piano and two voices, man and woman, but these are in a very small minority. Some have a calypso tendency such as Narodził się Jezus Chrystus. Others have a delightful Mozartean accent: Ach witajże pożądana; A cóż z tą dzieciną and Pasterze mili; the latter featuring alternating soprano and male voices. Marta Wróblewska is bell-clear and is well suited to this material as are all the voices here. A few of the songs ring out like Stanford ballads, as in case of Bracia patrzcie jeno where the bass-baritone Przemysław Kummer is oaken and sturdy. Some songs are glum and lugubrious while others are artlessly blithe such as Cieszmy się i pod niebiosy and Hej bracia czy śpicie. Mędrcy świata has the tone of a national anthem. Others, such as Przy onej górze, are fragrant with the scents of mountain pastures.

The booklets are in Polish only so far as the sung words are concerned although the extensive background note is in Polish and English.

Simple, sometimes sing-song carols, given a forthright recording, which are most likely to have attractions for Polish audiences everywhere.

Rob Barnett

Volume 5: Anioł pasterzom; Ach witajże pożądana; A cóż z tą dzieciną; Anielski chór; A wczora z wieczora; Ach ubogi w żłobie; Bóg się rodzi; Cieszmy się i pod niebiosy; Bracia patrzcie jeno; Dzisiaj w Betlejem; Gdy się Chrystus rodzi; Hej bracia czy śpicie; Hej w dzień narodzenia; Jakaż to gwiazda; Jezus malusieńki; Jezusa narodzonego; Król wiecznej chwały; Lulajże Jezuniu; Mędrcy świata; Mesyasz przyszedł; Na kopie siana

Volume 6: Narodził się Jezus Chrystus; O gwiazdo Betleemska; Pan z nieba i z łona; Pasterze mili; Pastuszkowie ze snu; Pasterzu; Pójdźmy wszyscy; Pospieszcie pastuszki; Przybieżeli do Betlejem; Przy onej górze; Słyszę z nieba muzykę; Śliczna Panienka; Tryumfy króla; W dzień Bożego narodzenia; Wesołą nowinę; Witajże dzieciątko; Wiwat dzisiaj; Wśród nocnej ciszy; W żłobie leży; Z narodzenia Pana; Zjawiło się nam



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger