May 19, 2005

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir - Rachmaninov

The period from 1880 to 1917 marked a renaissance in Russian choral music. Previously, Russian choral music had been dominated by German and Italian influences. Now composers returned to old Russian chants as the source of their works, thus creating a thoroughly Russian choral style. Although Sergei Rachmaninov wrote only few choral works, they are among the finest example of Russian choral music ever written. Of those works, the All-Night Vigil (more commonly referred to as the Vespers) stands as his crowning achievement and is widely regarded as the pinnacle of the Orthodox church music as a whole. Composed in 1915, the All-Night Vigil is comprised of texts for services of Vespers, Matins and Prime. In writing the work, Rachmaninov employed a system known as "choral orchestration," which requires singers to make use of a wide range of complex vocal techniques. But for all the innovation and technical prowess evident in Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil, it is the work's intense emotion and deep spirituality that stays with the listener. 7784 CD 16.98

Posted by acapnews at 11:06 PM

May 17, 2005

Anuna - Essential Anuna

Since their first, self-titled debut CD in 1993, Irish mixed-voice choral ensemble Anuna has created an additional four excellent CDs in their quest to explore their Celtic heritage and develop and discover their own sound. Their connection with Riverdance, which began with the recording of their hit "Cloudsong," exposed millions to the group's music. "Essential" is right there with the group's program, haunting, surreal soundscapes. There are 19 songs, many of our favorites are pieces written by group founder Michael McGlynn, the moody "The Wild Song," "Wind on Sea," the soaring "Kyrie," "Blackthorn," "Victimae," the sublime "Pie Jesu" and "Hymn to the Virgin," the dance tune "The Rising of the Sun" and the fast-moving a cappella "Dulaman." Where the piece is Medieval Irish like the powerful "Cristus Resurgens," or traditional Irish like "The Flower of Maherally" and "Siuil, a Ruin," McGlynn arranges it, where the words are not his, as in "Behind the Closed Eye" and "August," whose lyrics were written by Francis Ledwidge, McGlynn writes the music. The result is a lovely, seamless collection whose beauty touches us once again on so many levels. We expected no less! Some light accompaniment. 7686 CD 15.98

Posted by acapnews at 1:28 AM