Albums

1980 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest and filtered by Sacred Vocal Music
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 30, 2018 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet
Today, only three remain out of the nine Leçons de ténèbres that François Couperin has seemingly written. Composed for the “Religious Ladies” who belonged to the Order of the Poor Clares in the Abbey of Longchamp, near Paris, which was completely destroyed during the French Revolution, these Leçons represent the height of Baroque pietism from the end of Louis XIV’s reign, still completely permeated by the Jansenism from the previous century. As the abbey was open to the public, it became usual to give these Leçons de ténèbres not at night, but on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. This was a society event that the Parisians came to attend. Very popular in the second half of the 17th century, these lessons of darkness became a genre very sought-after by many composers, among whom Marc-Antoine Charpentier who composed at least thirty of them, but of those very few survived to the present day. If François Couperin covers this slightly archaic genre at the beginning of the 18th century, he managed to breathe into it a new form by blending the proper austerity and a very Italian expression of pain which give his pieces a troubling sensuality. The Troisième Leçon (Third Lesson), for two voices, is particularly ornamented with coloraturas filled with affectation. Thanks to the genius of François Couperin, this exacerbated expression of pain isn’t very far from the opera, whose representations were forbidden during Lent. You could therefore follow the delicious spectacle of the most feverish and subtle human passions under the pretext of religion. The ensemble Les Ombres, co-headed by Margaux Blanchard and Sylvie Sartre, offers us this new album the Leçons de ténèbres and extracts from Couperin’s masses and motets, in a chiaroscuro mood which skillfully blends the French rigor spirit and the sweet Italian theatrics. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 15, 2018 | Art House Records

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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 9, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 26, 2018 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Diapason d'or
Michel-Richard de Lalande was the leading composer of sacred music at the French court during the 17th Century. His Grands motets – he composed 77 – dominated the repertory of the Royal Chapel during his lifetime and after, until the 1770s in the programmes of the Concert Spirituel in Paris. His works are marked by both expressive harmonic vocabulary and contrapuntal mastery, which is exemplary in this set. Edward Higginbottom (b. 1946) developed a particular interest in French baroque music and spent time in France (1970-1972), studying the organ with Marie-Claire Alain. His love of French culture has borne fruit in many recording projects featuring French music. He has been Director of Music at New College Choir Oxford from 1976 to 2014 with which he recorded the bestseller albums "Agnus Dei I & II". The French conductor and chorus master Olivier Schneebeli studied with Pierre Dervaux and Jean-Claude Hartemann. In 1987, on the occasion of the rediscovery of Atys by Lully, he created with William Christie the chorus of Les Arts Florissants. He has made it his specialty to rediscover French sacred masterworks of the 17th and 18th centuries. © Warner Classics
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Cantatas (sacred) - Released January 12, 2018 | Ediciones Singulares

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
An icon of French Romanticism thanks to the enduring popularity of his operas Faust and Roméo et Juliette, Charles Gounod competed three times for the prestigious Prix de Rome between 1837 and 1839. Thus he composed three unpublished cantatas for soloists and orchestra, including Marie Stuart et Rizzio and La Vendetta, which he never had the opportunity to hear in performance. Revealed for the first time, these three cantatas, fine examples of French Romanticism, show a young composer with a remarkable flair for opera. In the end Fernand won him the coveted prize, carrying with it the privilege of a three-year stay (from 1840) at the Villa Medici in Rome. While there he produced several sacred compositions, which have also remained unknown until now. His splendid Messe vocale for unaccompanied choir, written in a neo-Palestrinian style, deserves a place on the programme of every vocal ensemble. © Palazzetto Bru Zane
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 6, 2018 | Zauberwald Records

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released December 22, 2017 | profimusic

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released December 22, 2017 | profimusic

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released December 10, 2017 | First Love Media

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released December 8, 2017 | BENDEZ RECORDS

Hi-Res
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released December 1, 2017 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
We can only welcome the appearance of new recordings of Bach's Motets: these unique works which defy classification are also often difficult to date accurately. The common factor shared by those Motets which have survived to the present day (because many were lost) appears to be the purely choral conception of the musical discourse, from end to end, the absence of instrumentation - if they are played with instruments, the latter only back up the choral parts (excluding the BWV118, initially believed to be a cantata as it was written with a small musical accompaniment, but the form remains that of a short motet, hence the uncertainty about which classification to give it) - the deliberate archaism  of the words, and the likely funereal purpose of most of the works. The Norwegian Soloists' Choir (Det Norske Solistkor) is one of the foremost Norwegian musical ensembles and one of the best chamber choirs in Europe. The choir is just as comfortable with the classical/romantic repertoire as with contemporary music and makes frequent forays into music derived from romantic national folkloric works. The ensemble was founded in 1950 by the composer Knut Nystedt, who led it for four decades. In 1990, he was succeeded by Grete Pedersen, and she now directs the group - with the help of the Allegria Ensemble, also Norwegian - for this fine recording. © SM/Qobuz
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released December 1, 2017 | profimusic

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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released December 1, 2017 | Alia Vox

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
This album, In excelcis Deo, with two religious works written at the time of the Spanish war of succession, presents the Missa Scala Arentina to four choirs by the Catalan composer Francesc Valls (1671-1747) and the Mass for Two Choirs and Two Orchestras by the French composer Henry Desmarest (1661-1741), each held up as a mirror to the other. These exceptional masterpieces are tightly connected in time, one dating from 1701 and the other from 1704. The Spanish war of succession raged from 1701 to 1714 and was the last of the major wars fought by Louis XIV of France: this terrible European conflict revolved around the succession to the Spanish throne following the death of the last Spanish Hapsburg, Charles II (he was epileptic, he contracted syphilis from his mother at birth- yes, that's a thing - and he was also infertile) and, through it all, political and commercial dominance in Europe. Finally, Spain lost more or less all of its European possessions - in Italy, the Netherlands, Sardinia, and even in Spain itself, with Gibraltar falling into British hands. The Bourbons would be installed on the Spanish throne (where they still sit today), while Barcelona was "recaptured", Catalonia having taken the side of Austria and the Austrian Hapsburgs... A can of worms was opened which is still squirming today! This album, musically very ecumenical thanks to the talent of Jordi Savall, juxtaposes the works of musicians who came from countries on opposite sides of the war, whose masses were held one in Barcelona, and the other in Versailles. It is up to the listener to form their own opinion as to whether the music of the very Catholic French and the very Catholic Catalans is so different after all! © SM/Qobuz
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 21, 2017 | Housemaster Records

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 17, 2017 | Embark Music