Totus Tuus Henryk Górecki
This disk is available at £11.00 from the NYCGB office. Please email email@example.com to order your copy.
I would guess that readers of this magazine are sharply divided between those who find the minimalist compositions of such as Gorecki, Part and our own John Tavener slow, repetitive and boring, and those who find great beauty and spiritual depth in these men's music. To those readers in the second category, this disc is warmly recommended: it contains a sizeable bouns in the world premiere recording of Lobgesang (Hymn of praise) and the lengthy Salve, Sidus Polonorum (Hail, star of the Polish people). The singing is uniformly excellent and the increasingly popular Totus Tuus (I am wholly yours, O Mary) from which the CD takes its name is (for once) not taken too slowly, thereby gaining in urgency...
If you are sure you wil like it, add this fine CD to your collection.
Royal School of Church Music: Church Music Quarterly
The National Youth Choir of Great Britain is many times larger than most choirs whose discs are reviewed in CMQ[Church Music Quarterly]; and their weight of tone is ideally suited to the monumentality of the choral music of Henryk Górecki. The disc opens with Euntes ibant et flebant: a largely static, very atmospheric, trance-like setting of verses from psalms 125 and 94.Lobesgesang (‘Song of Praise’) follows, highly intense and with a glockenspiel part. Totus Tuus, Górecki’s best known and perhaps most approachable choral piece comes next, followed by Salve, Sidus Polonorum, which is close on half an hour in duration. The programme concludes with Amen, whose eight minutes’ duration sets just one word. This is profoundly spiritual music that demands much of the performers. The National Youth Choir of Great Britain delivers.
6th April 2012
Gorecki may not be a minimalist in the strict sense of the term, but his choral works, in these beautiful interpretations by the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, are all about deriving maximum impact from minimal material. This is most evident in the ingenious simplicity of 'Euntes Ibant et Flebant', the forest of harmonies growing from a basic three-note seed: it's performed with a consumate poise which allows this sublime sound to float heavenwards. The minimalism reaches its apogee in the final section of 'Salve, Sidus Polonorum', where he demonstrates the ability to derive momentum from the repetition of the single word 'Alleluia'. Breathtaking.
1 April 2012
Was Henryk Gorecki's reputation limited by the worldwide impact of his Symphony No 3? A figure of great integrity and private passion, the emotional range of his music was very wide: this group of choral pieces ranges from the intense 1970s simplicity of Euntes Ibant et Flebant and Amen (that word the only text of the piece), to the massive acclamations of Salve, Sidus Polonorum of 2000, with its bells and piano that sometimes support yet also undermine the music. The fresh, full-throated voices of the massed National Youth Choir of Great Britain... are wonderfully affirmative and extrovert.
31 March 2012
Henryk Gorecki's majestic, slow, sacred music is sung with great control and technique by the massed voices of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain...
Epic moments such as the thrilling cries of 'Maria! Maria!' at the start of Totus Tuus, or the chord that seems to go on for ever under a glockenspiel tinkle at the end of Lobgesang are superbly sustained. The clarity of the textures, the security of the pitching: both are impeccable. The only drawback is a slightly anodyne approach to dynamics and colour, which makes Gorecki's mystic minimalism sound even more unvaried than it is.
18th June 2012
Henryk Gorecki's love of the folk music of his native Poland and his fervent Roman Catholic faith has inspired some of his most compelling choral music. Totus tuus is the title of Gorecki's most popular choral work and lends its name to the exquisitely sung album of sacred works featuring the National Youth Choir of Great Britain (NYCGB).
Since his "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" made such a huge hit in the early 90s, Gorecki has been lumped in with "holy minimalist" composers like Paert and Tavener. Certainly the long unadorned lines, chant-like passages and repetition of text put Euntes ibant et flebant in that category. Gorecki's first unaccompanied choral piece, this 1972 setting of verses from psalms 126 and 95 displays the skill of this remarkable choir. The NYCGB are as convincing in the music's hushed stillness as they are in its full throttle passages.
The balance of the program is equally strong. Lobgesang, (a German language piece honoring Johannes Guttenburg) and a setting of Amen get passionate, perfectly shaped and shaded performances from the NYCGB. The NYCGB's incadescent singing in Totus Tuus is so moving it brought me back to 1987 when I first heard the piece while working for Gorecki's publisher. The three-movement Salve, Sidus Polonorum, (extracted by Gorecki from a larger oratorio about Poland's St. Wojciech), touches the heart like the revelatory Totus tuus. Gorecki's sublime use of old chant, judiciously placed dissonance and dramatically shifting dynamics makes this work deserving to be better known.
Brewer's NYCGB is a large ensemble and the full-voiced splendor they bring to Gorecki's ecstatic passages are thrilling. Cue up the second movement of Salve, Sidus Polonorum or the rousing cries of "Maria!" from Totus tuus for some goose bump-raising moments. But the NYCGB sings with clarity and precision that belies their bulk. Of course it helps that Delphian engineer (and founder) Paul Baxter has presented the NYCGB in clean, natural sound. Fans of Paert and Tavener will love this album, but if you like Whitacre and Lauridsen you wil like this too.