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Customer Reviews

The organ, man!!! The organ!!!

The huge orchestra, the organ, the singers, everything is just perfect. I absolutely love the sounds that utter from this orchestra and chorus. Oh and SPOILER: The final chord of the entire piece is loud, and is played by everyone. I absolutely love this!

A terrifyingly beautiful masterpiece

For those who only know of Penderecki through his "Threnody For The Survivors Of Hiroshima", his Passion will be nothing short of a revelation. While still adhering to the same kind of emphasis on texture, Penderecki creates a fascinating, haunting choral work that is both atonal (in that it has no tonal center) and tonal of its own strange kind of logical accord. Starting with the opening chords of "O Crux Ave", listeners know this will not be a typical choral event. The choir screams, shouts, hisses, wails, and erupts unexpectedly while also producing some distinctly compelling chords (but only two major chords, including the final moment of the last track). Alternating between the sonic force of a full choir, a mournful soprano, an emotional baritone, and a commanding narrator, the piece constantly demands your full attention. The choir is backed up by a full orchestra, including a mass of strings and a powerful organ.

Penderecki is a very devout Catholic, and the strength of his faith shines through the music. It is stark and frightening in its power, but also pure in its reverence. Even if the listener isn't a Christian, it's impossible to deny the compelling authority of the work, a rumination not only on Christianity's most sacred myth but also of the darkness (and light) inherent in the human animal and the world at large.

This is a masterpiece, one of the finest choral works of the 20th century (or possibly any century). It is terrifying in its beauty and shocking in its power.

Gripping! Electrifying!

Any recording of this work will grab your emotions just because of the very nature of the composition. But, this PARTICULAR rendition on the Naxos label I find to be extraordinarily gripping and electrifying. (Compare the available samples of Part 1: XIII Et Surgens Omnis.) A great recording.

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Customer Ratings