A few months ago I mentioned that one of the most powerful choral experiences I have ever had was during a visit to my school of the choir from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. They gave an impromptu concert in the student center. I stood right in front of them and heard them sing powerfully and skillfully in a beautiful, challenging arrangement: “Kyrie, eleison! Kyrie, eleison!” It was very moving: these people my age, most of them almost certainly far from God, were crying out, “Lord, have mercy!” without any idea on their usually expressive faces of what they were saying. I did try to speak with some afterwards; they stayed only a short time.
I just discovered that my wife was only a few feet from me during that concert. I don’t even think I knew who she was then.
Well, here they are on YouTube singing that song! The recording quality isn’t so great, but you’ll get a good idea. Eastern European choral groups seem to have a full-throated way of singing, and this the UAM choir has what I would call a pleasing tinge of that style.
Adam Mickiewicz is the most famous Polish poet. If you’ve ever tried to read or sing any Polish like I have, you will feel just what I do about Adam Mickiewicz.