Walewska i przjaciele: Najpiękniejsze pieśnie, arie i. piosenki

Intended, as
indicated in the liner notes, to demonstrate the connections between popular song and art music,
the recording also serves as a showcase for a number of notable voices from Eastern Europe. The
juxtaposition of the arguably subjective distinctions of musical style is mitigated through the fine
performances that unite the thirty-seven selections that comprise this recording.

Some of the folk songs included in this recording are probably less well-known in the
West, and hearing them helps to dispel the stereotypical image of Polish culture that focuses too
keenly on polkas, mazurkas, and other dance forms. The bonus track on the second CD of
“Laura i Filon” (“Laura and Filon”) is a fine example of the kind the more conventional folk
music found here.

Yet selections include a number of familiar pieces, including traditional opera arias like
the “Ave Maria” from Verdi’s Otello and similar pieces. The Polish-language version of “Some Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific reflects, perhaps, the more popular side of the recording, but most of the works are art songs that reside between the musical theater and opera. The pieces
by Rodrigo, Canteloube, and others are certainly familiar. As such, they are fine choices to
exhibit the skill of this generation of Polish singers, but when sung in Polish, the pieces can be
somewhat jarring to those familiar with the original languages. The opening of the first CD,
Rodrigo’s “Czekalam wieczność” is well sung by Walewska herself, yet it is difficult not to hear the Spanish lyrics. Unfortunately the recording does not include the texts, both in the original
language and in Polish translation, to assist the listener. At times, language does not seem to
matter, as in the fine performance of one of Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne, the “Bailero,” as sung here by Anna Bajor.

As to the other performances, the recording has music to offer. In addition to Walewska,
the performers include the classically trained singers Zbigniew Macias (baritone), Dariusz
Stachura (tenor), Ewa Gawrońska (soprano), Wiesław Ochman (tenor), Artur Ruciński
(baritone), Anna Bajor (soprano) Bogusław Morka (tenor), Adam Zdunikowski (tenor), Jolanta
Radek (soprano), as well as Stanisław Jopek, a popular member of the internationally recognized
Mazowsze group that brings Polish culture to various places around the world. In fact, this
recording seems to serve a similar mission as that of Mazowsze in sharing Polish culture to an
international audience.

For those unfamiliar with modern Polish singers, this recording is an excellent
introduction. While the balance is tipped, perhaps, more toward male voices, the selections given
to the women are quite effective, especially those sung by Walewska herself. Those familiar with
some of the recent selections from the Naxos label may have heard some of his soloists, and the
musicians represented on this Dux recording supplement the sonic image of modern Polish
culture. The voices may be unfamiliar in the West, and they are certainly deserving of more

James L. Zychowicz

image_description=Walewska i przjaciele: Najpiękniejsze pieśnie, arie i. piosenki
product_title=Walewska i przjaciele: Najpiękniejsze pieśnie, arie i. piosenki (The Best Polish Singers Singer Arias & Songs)
product_by=Anna Bajor, Ewa Gawro?ska, Stanis?aw Jopek, Zbigniew Macias, Bogus?aw Morka, Marcin Na??cz-Niesio?owski, Wies?aw Ochman, Dariusz Stachura, Jolanta Radek, Artur Ruci?ski, Ma?gorzata Walewska, Adam Zdunikowski
product_id=Dux 0500/0501 [2CDs]
price=39,99 z?