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Kilar, who died on 29 December 2013, is better known for film work and only at home in Poland for his symphonic and choral music. The Angelus begins with spoken prayers which gradually take on musical cadence and tonality before dissolving in hammering orchestral chords; only then does Fabrello’s pure soprano emerge. It’s as intensely beautiful as Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s celebrated Symphony of Sorrowful Songs and Fabrello is comparable to Stefania Woytowicz for restrained but palpable emotion. The three works here come from the early 80s, a highwater mark of musical production before a period of relative silence. It is as if Kilar squeezed all of his creative understanding into an asymmetrical trilogy of works, unrelated except in their tone of elevated suffering and high promise; Exodus, with its ‘travelling’ theme, is the only one that seems overtly cinematic. Victoria is tiny in comparison to the others, but compresses virtually all of Kilar’s musical thinking into just four minutes. The Gdansk singers and orchestra let the music breathe and emerge at its own pace in exquisitely unforced performances.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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