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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melancholy, 11 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Requiem for my Friend (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.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BUY IT NOW, 1 Aug 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Requiem for my Friend (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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "To everything there is a season and a time", 5 Oct 2008
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Requiem for my Friend (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.

The second part, the life, appears to be the project on which Preisner and Kieslowski were working when the latter dies, although this is not explicitly stated in the accompanying sleeve-notes. Here we have an orchestra, choir, soprano and countertenor, with the players of recorder, piano and alto sax also separately credited.

It opens with a haunting sax solo. This part two is more is more in nature of a soundtrack; the inclusion of the choir in the opening piece gives it an epic quality, but there is still plenty of room for subtlety. It is well-arranged with interesting sound combinations; the music is warm and exotic. This time, perhaps an equivalent filmic feel would be one by, say Anthony Minghella.

But in the central section, we have sung an extract from Ecclesiastes, sung in Greek: "To every thing there is a season and a time." Now the warmth has gone, as the countertenor, choir and orchestra sound warnings. The phrasings toll like a midnight bell. It is very effective.

Apart from the final `prayer' (in Polish), the remainder of this part two is sung in Latin from the apocalypse of the Book of Revelations. Sounds of expectation become those of deadly certainty with male voices singing an ostinato reminiscent of marching soldiers. Preisner, no doubt using his experience as a film composer, skilfully twists the orchestra into producing sounds of menace and awe. But a choir of soloists offers salvation, and we are led into a repeat of the beautiful Lacrimosa from part one, the orchestra this time replacing the organ and with the choir in support too. Despite being an agnostic, I found it a very moving experience.

Sustained string chords and the prayer of a solo soprano bring this disc quietly and softly to a satisfying close.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 13 Sep 2009
By 
J. Lamb "." - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Requiem for my Friend (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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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lacrimosa is fabulous, 13 Mar 2000
This review is from: Requiem for my Friend (Audio CD)
A must for any collection of classical music. The Lacrimosa is fabulous. I have to stop whatever Im doing when I hear it because I can do nothing but let the music wash over my soul.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A requiem to be played at all funerals, 26 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Requiem for my Friend (Audio CD)
The intensity of feeling that this CD provokes is second to none. I heard an extract late one night on the radio and it took me three months to trace the album from the little I heard about composer and title.
I was in Dublin when I eventually tracked it down and it was worth every precious moment of the previous months. It is not music for everyone but if you want to reflect and are happy to have memories and moments of sadness amongst moments of such amazing excitment you must listen to this album. But make sure that the first time you play it you are on your own and have an hour and a half to spare, because once it begins you will not want to be interrupted! And make sure you are listening on some good equipment!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Requiem for my friend, 9 Nov 2009
By 
Mr. Nigel Warner "Tony Warner" (Shrewsbury UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Requiem for my Friend (Audio CD)
Hauntingly beautiful.
My 7 year old grand daughter said "Beautiful but a little sad"
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Epiphany, ahoy!, 29 July 2002
By 
P. Dunhill "suddick" (Newport) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Requiem for my Friend (Audio CD)
The previous patronising and somewhat pompous review fails to understand the second part of this recording. Preisner and Kieslowski (for whom the requiem was written) colloborated on various soundtracks and the second half of the disc - "Life" (ie Kieslowski's life) appears to be a deliberate attempt to blend their soundtrack background with the transcendance of the first. If any thing it reminds me of the minimalist composer David Borden and his Mother Mallard collective (check out his Counterpoint series). Best thing I've heard this year (apart from the Grateful Dead's Golden Road box set).
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4.0 out of 5 stars great, 14 May 2014
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This review is from: Requiem for my Friend (Audio CD)
Suggested by a friend, very nice with a lot of three dimensional spacing. It is a really bargainer for every music lover.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 8 April 2014
By 
G. van den Hof "folk.45" (Alphen a/d Rijn, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Requiem for my Friend (Audio CD)
This is the fifth time I bought this album, because I give it away to friends/family who lost a love one in the hpe it gives them some comfort (and I know they appreciate it). It makes me quiet all the time I listen to this music.
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Requiem for my Friend
Requiem for my Friend by Zbigniew Preisner (Audio CD - 1998)
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