Irrepressible energy and boundless curiosity seem to animate every project undertaken by Jakub Józef Orliński. His fourth album is no exception, with the breakdancing Polish countertenor diverting away from his previous fascinating journeys into Baroque music by joining pianist friend Michał Biel in an hour-long recital of art songs from their native Poland. 

Jakub Józef Orliński

Traversing the last century and a half of turbulent Polish history, the program not only explores the important role of folksong in the nation’s musical psyche, but displays the unique inventiveness of generations of Polish composers in approaching a wide gamut of lyrical texts.

Undoubtedly the best-known composer here is Karol Szymanowski, whose Songs from Kurpie, Volume I set folksongs from that Polish region with a level of haunting mastery reminiscent of Britten’s canny framing of songs from the British Isles. The Kurpie songs, with their mixture of simplicity and artfulness, provide Orliński with a wonderful opportunity to display the suppleness and sensuous bloom of his voice, especially with their use of expressive devices such as glissando and humming.

By contrast, Farewells