WORKS: Stabat mater; Veni creator; Litany to the Virgin Mary; Demeter; Penthesilea
PERFORMER: Jadwiga Gadulanka, Barbara Zagórzanka, Roma Owsinska (soprano), Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa, Anna Malewicz-Madej (alto), Andrzej Hiolski (baritone)Polish State PO & Chorus/Karol Stryja
CATALOGUE NO: 8.553687 1988/89
Szymanowski’s orchestral songs are sheer enchantment. The songs disc (first issued on Marco Polo) is one of the glories of this Karol Stryja series. Beautiful, melismatic utterances from the tenor; a beguiling Roxana from Zagórzanka; rich insights in the early Kasprowitz songs from Malewicz-Madej. Stryja’s orchestra is superb. But don’t ignore Robert Satanowski’s all-female, iridescent Koch Schwann version. Texts are a problem: the latter offers German; Naxos offers none.
With the Stabat mater, one can shop around. Rattle and Antoni Wit (both on EMI) are both better, and Rattle too includes the lovely Litany to the Virgin Mary. But the exquisite Demeter, the strong Veni creator and the touching, crepuscular Penthesilea appear only here. So the Naxos is a sure bargain. Roderic Dunnett