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Polish composer Wojciech Kilar (1932-2013) was mainly known for his numerous film scores such as Dracula and The Pianist. His singular Missa Pro Pace, an outpouring of his Catholic faith, is a work of contrasts. The atmosphere is set with a dark, brooding orchestral introduction to the Kyrie. By contrast, the Gloria has fast, pounding rhythms and an operatic concept. The Credo, scored for a cappella chorus and soloists, is one of the most introspective movements of the Mass, rather monastic in its approach: Kilar’s minimalistic approach becomes like a mantra leading into a meditative state of mind. The Sanctus is a serene aria for solo soprano, two harps and strings, leading into an extended, dramatic Agnus Dei with many contrasted sections. The final ‘Dona nobis pacem’ appears as the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. The performers are excellent and give a thoughtful and committed expression of the music. Recommended and unusual.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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