Twenty Polish Christmas Carols
Polish Radio Chorus, Kraców, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (Katowice)
Listening to this blind, you might have trouble guessing the composer. But if you think of the sensuous harmonies and vocal writing in Les Espaces du Sommeil or Chantefleurs et Chantefables, it's easier to hear a line stretching forward from these arrangements from 1946. In the slower numbers there's a lushness in the expert orchestration (dating from the 1980s), offset by the clarity of the female chorus, occasionally joined by the fuller-toned solo soprano. The faster carols have the same sort of energy and modality that you find in Kodály, and here the harmonies are a bit more quirky, but they're still firmly tonal ... it's a lovely collection of pieces for dipping into, and they're affectionately performed and recorded.
Lacrimosa comes from even earlier in Lutoslawski's career, and is a passionate setting of part of the text of the Requiem.
Martin Cotton, BBC Music Magazine, 12/1/2005