In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
We have over the many years been able to collect some of the best mixed-voice choir CD recordings from around the world. Many of the CD recordings are not available thru the usual distributors and in many cases we are the sole distributor of the titles.
Displaying 751-768 of 768 items.
Review: Fire Burning in Snow, the third volume in Ex Cathedra's series of Baroque music from Latin America, is strong testimony to the vitality of the musical scene in South America in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The bulk of this album is devoted to the sacred and secular choral music of Juan de Araujo (1648-1712), who was born in Spain, but whose family moved to South America when he was a child. He lived in Peru and Panama, but spent most of his adult life in La Plata, Bolivia, where he was the organist at the cathedral. The music recorded here is notable for its almost Monteverdian range of styles and expressiveness. This selection of Araujo's strongly rhythmic work includes a rigorously polyphonic motet for triple choir; a simple, lovely lullaby for women's voices; and many stylistically diverse choral villancicos. The standout work on the CD, though, is Hanacpachap cussicuinin, a 20-verse Peruvian hymn in the Quechua language that was the first example of choral polyphony published in the Americas in 1631. It's broken into four sections of five verses each, and performed with ensembles of differing sizes and varying accompaniments. The anonymous hymn has a startling grandeur, and even with 20 verses it's so compelling that it never wears out its welcome. Ex Cathedra Consort and Baroque Ensemble sing and play with high spirits and polish. Conductor Jeffrey Skidmore is to be commended for bringing this repertoire, much of which has never been recorded, to light, and for delivering such lively realizations and energetic and full-bodied performances. This SACD should be of strong interest to anyone who loves Renaissance and Baroque polyphony and fans of choral music with a Latin flavor.
Songlist: Hanacpachap cussicuinin (verses 1- ), Dixit Dominus, Silencio, Dime, amor, A, del la region de luces, Hanacpachap cussicuinin (verses 6- 10), A, del cielo, Fuego de amor, En el muy gran Padre Ignacio, Hanacpachap cussicuinin (verses 11- 15), Salga el torillo hosquillo, Dios de amor, A, del tiempo, Hanacpachap cussicuinin (verses 16- 20)
Review: All the conductors who have worked with the Flemish Radio Choir, or VRK, have no hesitation in ranking it along side the other two great European chamber choirs, Accentus and the RIAS Kammerchor. Its technical confidence, expressive capacity and profound knowledge of the repertoires, as well as its enormous vision and originality in putting together its programs, are the key factors that have led to the inclusion of this elite group in Glossa's selection of artists. Composed during the Second World War (most of it at a Budapest monastery) and completed in 1944, Missa Brevis was first performed in 1945, just after the end of the war, at the Budapest Opera House (where Kodaly and his wife had been forced to seek refuge during the final days of the conflict). In fact, it was actually performed in the dressing rooms, these apparently being the only part of the building that had not been damaged by the constant air raids on the city. It is one of his most notable choral pieces and subliminally conveys the suffering and uncertainty of that endless time during which Kodaly risked his own life on more than one occasion. While all of this certainly helps to explain its powerful emotional and intensely dramatic qualities, more than anything else Missa Brevis is a hymn to hope, a musical poem of extraordinary transparency written in praise not only of the divinity that governs the destiny of humanity and nations but also, rooted as ever in the popular, of religious feeling, as manifested in believers for comfort and strength in the most difficult of circumstances.
Songlist: Introitus, Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus, Ite Missa est, Psalm 121, Psalm 114, Jezus es a kufarok, Szekely Keserves (Piano solo), Szekely Keserves (Choir), The Musicmakers, Norveg Leanyok
Review: This superb group of singers once again brings forth their signature sound under the direction of Paul Halley-music filled with spirit, nuance, and freshness of expression. Recorded by Tom Jung for his widely respected label, DMP Records, the CD beautifully combines the clarity of sound for which Jung is known with the rich acoustic of this collegiate gothic structure. The realism and immediacy of the performance is documented in a way which truly brings these classic choral pieces to life.
Songlist: Beati quorum via, O Vos Omnes, Ubi Caritas, Justorum Animae, Coelos Ascendit Hodie, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, O Sacrum Convivium, Ave Verum Corpus, Hail Gladdening Light, Ave Maria, Pater Noster, Crucifixus, O Sacrum Convivium
Review: Choral music is a genre rarely associated with Edvard Grieg, but this CD reveals him as a composer with distinctive gifts for choral writing. He composed about 50 choral works, and this CD includes about half of them, including his final work, an a cappella setting of four Psalms. The pieces are notable for their musical variety; they include children's songs, folk-song arrangements, and music for liturgical use, and while many are recognizable as Grieg's work, several have an eccentric quirkiness that sheds new light on his musical personality. "Kvalins halling," for men's chorus and bass solo, a traditional Norwegian fiddle dance to which the composer sets nonsense syllables, is the most wonderfully odd; it has a kind of rocking, proto-minimalist pattern sporadically interrupted by bursts of late-Romantic harmonic effulgence. The collection contains one familiar work, a choral arrangement of "Varen" (Last spring), perhaps his most famous solo song. The Psalms are models of expressive, harmonically rich Romantic vocal writing. The CD includes pieces for mixed voices as well as men's and women's choruses. The works presented here offer a wealth of attractive choral music that deserves to find a place in the repertoire of choirs interested in venturing beyond the standard literature. The Norwegian ensemble Grex Vocalis, conducted by Carl Hogset, sings with a warm, ringing tone; excellent intonation; and a beautiful blend. The soloists make a strong contribution; tenor Magnus Staveland sings with passion and sensitivity and bass-baritone Daniel Oskar Danielsson's boisterous performance adds to the rollicking fun of "Kvalins halling."
Songlist: Children's song, Farmyard-song, Halling, Good-night song for Dobbin, Kvalin's Halling, The Ocean, The Christmas Tree, It is the greatest follishness, Springdans, Young Ole, Fisherman's song, Fairest among women, The great white host, The Gipsy lad, Retnams-Knut, The Norwgian mountains, I I lay down so late, Fatherland hymn, Little Toro, Last Spring, Whitsun Hymn, Ave, Maris Stella, How fair is thy face, God's son hath set me free, Jesus Christ our Lord is risen, In Heav'n above
Review: Fredrik Malmberg, conductor and artistic director of the ensemble, is one of the most sought-after of choral conductors in Sweden today. Harmony Of Voices was formed in the autumn of 2003 and rapidly established itself as one of the most exciting vocal ensembles in Sweden. The repertoire of this album is concentrated on Early Music and the ensemble's capacity to combine historical authenticity with creative interpretation has won it considerable renown. This disc is an ideal demonstration of the superior clarity, detail and coherence of the SACD Medium.
Songlist: Zefiro Torna, Chiome D'oro, Non Havea Febo Ancora, Non Havea Febo Ancora: Amor (Lamento Della Ninfa), Non Havea Febo Ancora: Si Tra Sdegnosi, Sonata Duodecima Per Due Soprani E Trombone, Apritevi, Inferni: Recitativ, Apritevi, A Chi Dio: Aria, Sonata Undecima Per Due Violini E Trombone, Vanitas Vanitatum, Vanitas Vanitatum: Hinc Mortales, Symphonia Tempro la Cetra
Review: Although he writes in all genres, Rene Clausen is today one of America's most popular choral composers, and for more than twenty years he has been the conductor of the internationally acclaimed Concordia Choir of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. On this release, choral works by Clausen are performed by the Kansas City Chorale, another choir of great international renown, whose recording, with the Phoenix Chorale, of Grechaninov's Passion Week won a Grammy award in 2008, in the category Best Classical Recording, Engineering. 'Set me as a Seal' is arguably the composer's best-known work, and has long been popular at weddings, funerals, and in the concert repertoire. Clausen has described the work as 'various kinds of discussions between God and humans, both from the human aspect and from the God aspect, so a lot of variations... of love, of disappointment, of anxiety, of doubt'. All that hath life and breath is one of Clausen's earliest works, and a favourite of choirs across the world. The Mass for Double Choir was commissioned by the Kansas City Chorale. The composer, who had never written a mass before, looked on it as an 'interesting challenge'. In the work emotions ebb and flow kaleidoscopically, taking the listener from the strength of the unison writing at the opening, to the sorrowful falling lines of the Crucifixion of Christ and the bubbling, dancing figures for the Resurrection. Expressions of praise spill forward atop one another in the Sanctus, a choir of angels too exuberant to be contained.
Songlist: All that Hath Life and Breath Praise the Lord, O magnum mysterium, The Tyger, The Lamb, Mass: Kyrie, Mass: Gloria, Mass: Credo, Mass: Sanctus, Mass: Agnus Dei, Magnificat, Prayer, O vos omnes, A New Creation: Set me as a seal
Review: Nordic Voices have put together a unique collection of pieces by sixteenth-century composers associated with the courts of Emperor Charles V, a great musical enthusiast. Superbly sung by these Norwegians, the works draw attention to a highly varied group of sought-after composers, whose careers often followed a colourful course. During the first half of the sixteenth century, there was no greater a ruler than the Emperor Charles V, whose court was lavishly supplied with music by composers of high talent. Charles had a personal enthusiasm for music, and his chapel was more or less in constant attendance on his travels. It is small wonder, then, that a number of the greatest composers of the age had some connection with him, including the Franco-Flemish composers Manchicourt, Cristobal de Morales and Nicolas Gombert. Complementing these composers are the perhaps less well-known Guerrero and Jacobus Clemens non Papa. This superb collection confirms these composers as major figures of their era, and will serve as a perfect introduction to the music of the period. Their performance is smart and stylish, employing a playful yet sophisticated approach that enhances their already remarkable singing.
Songlist: Reges terrae, Regina caeli, Laudate Dominum, O magnum mysterium, Hei mihi, Domine, Ego sum qui sum, O Virgo virginum, Exaltata est sancta Dei Genitrix, Agnus Dei (from Missa 'Reges terrae')
Review: Finnish composer Jaakko Mantyjarvi (b. 1963) writes some of today's more innovative choral music. It's not only creatively interesting but it also maintains the qualities of tonal/harmonic accessibility and text-centered immediacy that allows it to register with a broad spectrum of listeners. His collections of Shakespeare Songs, More Shakespeare Songs, and No More Shakespeare Songs show a composer at once in love with his subject and fully in tune with his audience - and one clearly in possession of a sense of humor! On this recording we hear a profoundly serious work, in memory of the victims of a terrible Baltic Sea tragedy in September, 1994, in which the luxury ferry Estonia sank in a storm, killing 852 passengers. Canticum Calamitatis Maritimae incorporates elements of Psalm 107 ("They that go down to the sea in ships...") with news accounts of the disaster (taken from a Latin-language Finnish radio broadcast), employing dramatic, rich-textured choral utterances (including the whispered prayers of the opening and closing bars) along with chant-inspired passages and an occasional folk-song-like melody, all of which culminates in an extended passage of beautiful and often surprising harmonies, ideally defining the text at the end of the Psalm: "He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still..." This is a moving and memorable work, one that these choirs perform with care and confidence under Charles Bruffy's artful direction. Frank Martin's Mass for double choir has been recorded many times--and mostly very well--and this is another fine rendition of a work that seems to register its "classic" credentials more impressively every time you hear it. Rene Clausen's In pace, cut from the same vibrant-colored harmonic cloth as the Ticheli, is another work that deserves repertoire status, and again, Bruffy's singers perfectly capture its nuances of texture and dynamics and give full measure to the big sonorities. The complementary acoustics of Camelback Bible Church in Paradise Valley, Arizona, expertly recorded for this hybrid SACD, complete a program that should have strong appeal to all choral music fans.
Songlist: Cabticum Calamitatus Maritimae, There Will Be Rest , In Pace, Messe Pour Double Choeur
Review: Founded in 1958 as the Bach and Madrigal Society, the Choir originally focused on Renaissance and baroque period music, but today is equally dedicated to the creation and performance of new music. They are conducted by Charles Bruffy, one of the most highly respected choral conductors in the US. The CD features 23 songs, beginning with 7 cuts from Matthew Harris' "Shakespeare Songs," and 5 "Songs of Ariel from Shakespeare's 'The Tempest.' Steven Sametz' lovely "When He Shall Die," Jaakko Mantyjarvi's "Four Shakespeare Songs," Nils Lindberg's minor-key "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day," Dominick Argento's "Sonnet No. LXIV," Alan Murray's "O mistress mine," and the CD finishes strong with Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Three Shakespeare Songs." The Choir beautifully takes us into the drama, moodiness, pathos, romance and celebration of these songs, most of which are new to our ears. A worthy project, and a winning CD for Bruffy and his talented Phoenix Bach Choir! Extensive, colorful liner notes.
Songlist: Shakespeare Songs , The Tempest , When He Shall Die , Four Shakespeae Songs , Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? , Sonnet No. LXIV , O mistress mine!, Three Shakespeare Songs
Review: The Grechaninov 'Passion Week' is a setting of thirteen pieces with texts in Church Slavonic meant to be sung individually over the period of Passion Week, the days leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. The Russian Orthodox Church has a tradition of morning and evening services during Passion Week when the passion week's events are recalled almost in 'real time.' The music itself is generally slow, meditative, largely monophonic and almost trance-like. One notices that the usual number of singers in these two choirs has been supplemented by several additional basses, no surprise considering the long legato lines required of that section. Their low C's and even B's resound like the tolling of great bells throughout the work. One could almost surmise, if one didn't know, that this was the singing of a Russian choir, so noted for their deep basses, except that the blending and rounding of the choral tone is so very much more subtle than is generally heard from Russian choruses. The work is entirely a cappella and there are occasional soprano, tenor and baritone solos which consist mostly of chants sung against the main body of massed sound.
Songlist: Behold, the Bridegroom, I see Thy bridal chamber, In Thy Kingdom, Gladsome Light, Let my prayer be set forth, Now the powers of heaven, At Thy mystical supper, The wise thief, Thou who clothest Thyself, The Lord is God... The noble Joseph, Weep not for me, O Mother, As many of you... Arise, O God, Let all mortal flesh
Review: 'The massed forces of the Phoenix Bach Choir and Kansas City Chorale 'make a formidable choral machine' (BBC Music Magazine) and the choirs under the baton of Charles Bruffy here present a collection of unaccompanied sacred choral works by Josef Rheinberger. The disc includes the only available recordings of his Oster-Hymne for double chorus and Four Six-part Motets, op.133. The Oster-Hymne is a setting of two ancient Easter texts, particularly the famous sequence Victimae paschali laudes. During his lifetime, Rheinberger was lauded as a talented performer, prolific composer and masterful teacher. He observed that his primary consideration in music 'is that it shall be beautiful; music that does not sound beautiful has no attraction for me'.
Songlist: Oster-Hymne, Op. 134 for Eight Voices (Double Choir) for Church and Concert, Vier sechsstimmige Motetten, Op. 133 for Church and Concert, Mass, Op. 109 in E flat major for Double Choir, Drei geistliche Gesange, Op. 69 for Mixed Choir
A Spotless Rose
Review: 'Choral singing just doesn't get much better than this. When it comes to purity of tone, daunting precision and superfine blend, Charles Bruffy's remarkable Phoenix Chorale have it all - and then some!' - Gramophone Magazine. Praise indeed for this multiple Grammy nominated recording. Unified by its Marian idea, the program mixed classic British and contemporary American pieces in a novel way, and it provides an excellent window for the world on the vigorous tradition of a cappella choral music that has evolved independently of academic trends and their strictures. All the music here exploits, to a greater or lesser degree, the acoustic effects possible with an a cappella chorus in a large space, and Chandos, turning its engineers loose in an Arizona desert megachurch called the Camelback Bible Church, achieves spectacular results. The standout is perhaps the final four-movement Electa, by Kansas City composer Jean Belmont Ford, with its intense passages of overlap between a solo soprano tone and the choir and its haunting use of solo timpani and bass drum, the only instruments heard anywhere on the disc. Both the Ford work and the Two Marian Pieces by Spanish-born Javier Busto are world premieres, and both are likely to be eagerly adopted by other choirs. The singers shine equally in the subtle dissonances of the first of Busto's pieces and in the tricky artlessness of Benjamin Britten's A Hymn to the Virgin. This is a triumph of engineering, of choral singing, and of conducting on the part of Charles Bruffy, a protege of fabled American choral conductor Robert Shaw, who, like his mentor, has achieved impressive, sensuously irresistible results in a city without a deeply ingrained tradition of classical singing. Booket notes are in English, French, and German.
Songlist: Splendid Jewel, A Hymn to the Virgin, Ave, Regina, Ave, Maria, Regina Caeli, A Spotless Rose, Ave, Maris Stella, Ave, Maria, Fair in Face, I Beheld Her, Beautiful as a Dove, Rise up, My Love, My Fair One, De Profundis, Asperges me, Domine/Credo, Ave, Dulcissima Maria, Magnificat anima mea
Review: The Grammy-award-winning Phoenix Chorale explores the magnetic music of New York-based, Norwegian-born composer Ola Gjeilo, Northern Lights contains five world premiere recordings and three choral pieces which were either commissioned, composed, or dedicated to the Phoenix Chorale. When he first heard Gjeilo's Ubi caritas, Charles Bruffy was instantly hooked, finding the music refreshing and magnetic. Bruffy brought Gjeilo's music to the Chorale and its audiences, and the response was immediate. Soon after, Gjeilo was invited to be the Chorale's first Composer-in-Residence. Phoenix, a setting of the Agnus Dei, is dedicated to Charles Bruffy and the Phoenix Chorale in honour of its fiftieth anniversary. When Gjeilo first visited the choir in Arizona, he had never been to the desert before, and the 'quiet beauty and barrenness of the landscape' moved him deeply. He describes Phoenix as 'symphonic in nature... one of those pieces where the text is very much the servant of the music, not the other way around'. In contrast, Northern Lights takes its inspiration from Gjeilo's homeland, Norway, and the 'terrible beauty' of the natural phenomenon that may be observed there. The music reflects the powerful and electric quality of the northern lights, which must have seemed both mesmerising and terrifying to people in the past when no one knew what they were, and superstition prevailed.
Songlist: The Ground , Serenity, Ubi caritas, Northern Lights, Dark Night of the Soul, The Spheres, Tota pulchra es, Prelude, Phoenix, Unicornis captivatur, Evening Prayer
Review: Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Stile Antico returns with its second recording for harmonia mundi. Heavenly Harmonies juxtaposes the highly expressive Latin motets of William Byrd (c. 1540-1632) with the austere, homophonic psalm tunes of Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585) in a performance notable for the British group's "staggeringly beautiful singing" (The Sunday Times) and recorded in a fittingly majestic acoustic. At the heart of the religious disputes which ravaged 16th-century England, the towering figures of the Catholic Tallis and Protestant Byrd embody two opposing tendencies. What is sometimes overlooked is how much the motets from Byrd's Cantiones sacrae I and II (1589 and 1591) owe to the concise and expressive language pioneered by Tallis a generation earlier, when he also contributed the nine psalm tunes to a new psalter by Archbishop Matthew Parker (1567) - printed but regrettably never offered for sale. The program also includes Byrd's Mass Propers for Pentecost from his Gradualia of 1607.
Songlist: 9 Psalm Tunes for Archbishop Parker's Psalter, Motets:, Third Tune: Why fum'th in Flight, Vigilate, Fifth Tune: E'en Like the Hunted Hind, Ne irascaris Domine, Second Tune: Let God arise, Exsurge Domine, Sixth Tune: Expend, O Lord, Infelix ego, Eighth Tune: God grant with grace, Laetentur Coeli, First Tune: Man blest no doubt, Quis est homo, Veni Creator: Come Holy Ghost, Introit: Spiritus Domini, Offertory: Confirma hoc Deus, Communion: Factus est repente, Seventh Tune: Why brag'st in malice, Tribulationes Civitatum, Fourth Tune: O Come in One to Praise the Lord, Laudibus in Sanctis
Review: When composing for choir, Sven-David Sandstrom (1942 ) does not hold back in terms of expression or technical demands. This contributes toward a powerfully emotional tonal language, to which the Nordic sound of the Swedish Radio Choir is perfectly suited. Composer and choir have worked together for years and their close relationship is evident in the excellent performances heard here. Channel s usual superb multi-channel recording provides the perfect ambience to allow the music to speak.
Songlist: Lobet den Herrn, Ave Maria, Hear my prayer, O Lord, Est ist genug, A new song of love, Laudamus Te, Agnus Dei, Singet dem Herrn: I, Singet dem Herrn: II, Singet dem Herrn: III
Review: Creator Spiritus is the latest collaboration between GRAMMY Award winning conductor Paul Hillier and celebrated Estonian composer Arvo Part. The disc features a carefully selected collection of Part's choral and instrumental chamber music, drawn from different periods in the composer's career. Leading his celebrated vocal ensembles Theatre of Voices and Ars Nova Copenhagen and joined by the NYYD Quartet and long-time collaborator organist Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, Hillier produces another powerful recording of ethereal sacred music.
Songlist: Veni creator, The Deer's Cry, Psalom, Most Holy Mother of God, Solfeggio, My Heart's in the Highlands, Peace upon you, Jerusalem, Ein Wallfahrtslied, Morning Star, Stabat Mater
Review: With the 1968 Paris premiere of his Stimmung, Karlheinz Stockhausen (b. 1928) exploded the very definition of vocal performance. This musical tour de force, made up of an unbroken sequence of 51 sonic models - entirely built on the overtones of B-flat and presented in every possible voice combination - experiments with new compositional techniques and deconstructs the mechanics of speech and song. Paul Hillier, a champion of early and contemporary vocal repertoire, leads Theatre of Voices in his newly created "Copenhagen version" of a milestone of 20th-century music that today remains as relevant as ever. Hillier's life-long relationship with Stimmung began in the 1970s when he performed it as a member of Singcircle with the composer at the controls. The serene but highly charged aural landscape of the work has its roots in Stockhausen's assimilation of global musical currents as he traveled the world in the 1950s and 1960s - from mystic experiences in Mexico to Tibetan overtone singing. Surprisingly, this is one of Stockhausen's most accessible compositions: spiritual yet humorous, mystical yet worldly and erotic in its poetry. Following the performances Theatre of Voices gave in the UK, the Times of London called them "mesmerizing" and The Daily Telegraph described the event as "evoking a feeling of ritual and tranquility." This SACD-only release is a demonstration-quality recording that is certain to wow the most exacting of audiophiles.
Review: Co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall especially for Paul Hillier and Theatre of Voices, David Lang's The Little Match Girl Passion was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Setting Hans Christian Andersen's fable in the format of Bach's St Matthew Passion, Lang elevates the suffering of the little match girl with poignant, evocative music. Lang's piece is scored for four voices and a few percussion instruments, played by the singers. They sing the sad story of a little girl who freezes to death selling matches on the street during a cold winter's night. In notes Lang wrote to accompany the Carnegie Hall premiere last October, he says he was drawn to Andersen's story because of how opposite aspects of the plot played off each other. "The girl's bitter present is locked together with the sweetness of her past memories," Lang says. "Her poverty is always suffused with her hopefulness. There's a kind of na•ve equilibrium between suffering and hope."
Songlist: Come, Daughter, It Was Terribly Cold, Dearest Heart, In an Old Apron, Penance, Patience!, Ah! Perhaps, Have Mercy, My God, She Lighted Another Match, From the Sixth Hour, She Again Rubbed a Match, When it is Time For Me to Go, In the Dawn of Morning, We Sit and Cry, For Love is Strong, I Lie, Evening Morning Day, Again (After Ecclesiastes)
Choral Music - Home