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Requiem for my Friend

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Varsov Chamber Choir, Elzbieta Towarnicka
  • Orchestra: Sinfonia Varsovia
  • Conductor: Jacek Kaspszyk, Ryszard Zimak
  • Composer: Zbigniew Preisner
  • Audio CD (12 Oct. 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Erato
  • ASIN: B00000I3XG
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,446 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 11 Dec. 2000
Format: Audio CD
I have been very inspired by this unusual collection of work. The composer has an excellent ear for the female soprano and choral music in general. There is a refreshing mixture of styles to listen to, but there is a powerful melancholy thread linking all the pieces together. The first choral works are beautifully simple if not slightly surreal and mysterious. The two long organ pieces which follow tend to have a monotonous and very sorrowful feel, no doubt intended. The style seems to be a mixture of modern and early influence. There is definite evidence of the polish renaissance, and at the same time, some instrumental tracks (particularly track 11) fall into a more modern, film score style, James Horner's Braveheart comes to mind on this track, especially with the reverberant wind instrument (unknown) mixed with long wavering string lines. Later there is the unexpected introduction of a saxophone which adds a clever contemporary and almost warming slant, working excellently well with the stark tones of the chorus. The dominantly male choruses return with full power towards the end as an unsettling climaxical atmosphere occurs through several very 'orff' like pieces.
This is certainly worth the purchase, it is very original and although extremely melancholy considering the composers motivation, haunting and extremly inspirational in its intentions.
Comment 32 of 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
This CD was given to me by a friend as a birthday present - was he trying to tell me something?

Zbigniew Preisner is a film composer. His Requiem is his first large-scale classical work and is written in two parts. The first, the requiem proper, is 31 minutes in length; the second, the life, is 36 minutes. It is dedicated to the film director Krzysztof Kieslowski, who died in 1996.

Part one features six soloists, a string quintet, an organ and percussion. It was recorded in Warsaw Cathedral and in a church in Krakow, so there is a great atmospheric echo. It is meditational in feel; there are large sections where only the organ plays, and then the music is slow and lugubrious, note by note. The soloists (one soprano - the only female - and two angelic countertenors, plus two tenors and only one bass) emphasise the otherworldly feeling. The Dies Irae is anything but!

The strings enter at the Offertorium. A single bell maintains a mournful tone. The pace is slow and measured, quasi-Baroque with minimal counterpoint. The music can sound very beautiful and celestial, such as in the short Sanctus where voices, organ and bell combine. For what kind of film would this be a soundtrack? Perhaps one by Tarkovsky?

The Lux Aerterna has a folkloric quality; the Lacrimosa, the climax of the piece, is forcefully beautiful with the organ thunderously underpinning the soloists. The repeated riffs throughout this piece remind me of Gorecki's third symphony. Its soundworld is neither comforting nor damning. It is ethereal, ending with a simple organ meditation that suddenly slows and stops. The music can be enjoyed as music and can be recommended for someone seeking a thoughtful and minimalist (in terms of participants) interpretation of this musical-religious form.
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Format: Audio CD
I came across this work through ClassicFM and was so impressed by the one piece they played to buy the CD. Whilst familiar with some of the films he has scored he was otherwise unknown to me - I was not disappointed.

Whilst the circumstances of its creation are a little sad (the death of his friend the director Kieaelowski curtailing a bigger project), the result is a stunning work.

To quote two fellow reviewers there are pieces which genuinely make the hairs stand out on the back of your neck and at times you just have to stop and listen.

Whilst technicans may be able to pull the indiviudal pieces apart and comment on their construction etc, for me it is just perfect.

The voices are clear and the production atmospheric where it needs to be (part one was recorded in Warsaw Cathedral).

There are a variety of instruments (nice to see the alto sax get some credit) and beautiful voices, the music flows throughout. The two distinct halves complement each other from loosely familiar Sanctus, Agnus Dei and haunting Lacrimosa (I challenge you to play that quietly) to the stirring Apokalipsa sections which all show, I think, their comtempory roots.

Buy it. You will not be disappointed.

I will be exploring this composers other works very soon.
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By A Customer on 1 Aug. 2003
Format: Audio CD
I find much classical choral music to be a bit pretentious and too pleased with itself; this is different. The tracks are ruthlessly direct, the voices intense and pure and the effect is haunting. You know it's good when tracks retain their magic even after repeated playing. One listen on the radio and I just had to have it - I'm sure you'll be just as hooked.
5 out of 5 is a bit generous, as there are one or two slightly corny moments, but there's no provision for 4.5! It was good enough to get me to write this; I hope this is good enough to get you to buy it. Play it loud and feel the hairs on the back of your neck stick up! Fantastic.
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