Accentus - Laurence Equilbey
Laurence Equilbey is best known as the music director and conductor of the popular ensemble Accentus Chamber Choir. She has led this Paris-based, 32-member group in both a cappella repertory and in orchestral/choral fare. But Equilbey has also branched out, especially in the new century, regularly leading operatic performances and also conducting such well-known orchestras as the Orchestre de Paris, Lyon National Orchestra, and the Orchestre National de France. In the orchestral/choral realm she has led performances of works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Fauré, and scores of others. In opera she has conducted Mozart as well as rarely encountered fare like Britten's Albert Herring, as presented at the Opéra Comique in 2009. Equilbey has also conducted many other well-known choirs, including the Berlin RIAS Kammerchor, Chapelle Royale, and the Collegium Vocale Ghent. Equilbey has made numerous acclaimed recordings, too, including a 2001 Naïve CD of Figure humaine and other works by Poulenc. In addition, she has expanded the repertory of Accentus to include transcriptions, offering such disparate fare as Wagner and Mahler lieder, Debussy's Les Angélus, Prokofiev's "Field of the Dead" from Alexander Nevsky, Barber's Agnus Dei from his famous Adagio, and many others. Equilbey's recordings are available from EMI, Naïve, and Virgin Classics. Laurence Equilbey was born in Paris, France, in 1962. She studied choral conducting with Erik Erikson at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and also had studies at the conservatories in Paris and Vienna. Among her later teachers was famed conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Active mainly as a choral conductor throughout the 1980s, Equilbey founded the Accentus Chamber Choir in 1991. Almost from the beginning the ensemble drew critical acclaim and its first a cappella recording, an Aria Music CD of works by Brahms and Schumann, appeared in 1995. 1995 was also the year Equilbey founded a second ensemble, the Jeune Chœur de Paris. In 2000 Equilbey was named Music Personality of the Year by the Syndicat Professionnel de la Critique. In November of that same year she took Accentus on an acclaimed 11-city debut tour of the U.S. In the new century Equilbey has been especially active with Accentus on records, often turning out rarely performed music to great critical acclaim, as with the 2007 Naïve CD of Liszt's Via Crucis. At the 2010 St. Denis Festival (near Paris), Equilbey led Accentus in an acclaimed performance of Fauré's Requiem, recorded live by Medici.
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released November 7, 2011 | naïve classique
Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
Conductor Laurence Equilbey continues to broaden the range of repertoire in which the choir Accentus excels. This album presents a sampling of some of Mendelssohn's (relatively) small-scale sacred choral works. Each of them demonstrates the sweet euphony characteristic of so much of the composer's writing. The single-movement cantata Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich, and the chorus from Christus, "Es wird ein Stern aus Jacob aufgehn" are especially lovely examples of the choral serenity Mendelssohn was so skilled at creating. Christus consists of six movements from the unfinished oratorio, with three movements devoted to the Nativity and three to the Passion. In the cantatas based on Lutheran chorales, O Haupt voll blut und wunden and Vom Himmel hoch, it's easy to hear the influence of J.S. Bach in the music's contrapuntal richness and the grandeur summoned in the choral passages. The soloists, soprano Sandrine Piau, tenor Robert Getchell, and basses Markus Butter and Laurent Slaars are all top-notch, singing with exceptionally pure, warm tone, and unmannered delivery. Accentus sings with its accustomed full, sumptuous blend; immaculate intonation; and shapely sensitivity to the music's nuances. Ensemble Orchestral de Paris capably matches the choir's subtlety and musicality. Naïve's album is beautifully engineered, with absolute clarity and spacious ambience. Highly recommended for fans of Romantic choral music.
Classical - Released March 19, 2012 | naïve classique
The title of the 2012 compilation, Accentus: Best 20, has a double meaning: it's a celebration of the choir's 20th anniversary and it includes 20 of the best tracks from its 18 albums made for the Naïve label. The ensemble has established itself as one of the world's most distinguished and versatile chamber choirs, excelling in the traditional repertoire as well as the work of avant-garde composers like Stockhausen, Manoury, and Dusapin. The group is perhaps most widely known for its best-selling albums of choral transcriptions of orchestral works, piano music, and solo song literature. The selections on this compilation are heavily weighted to the Romantic, post-Romantic, and early Modern eras. The Baroque is represented by a chorus from a Buxtehude cantata and a transcription of a movement from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, and the contemporary by Pascal Dusapin's Dona eis. The choir is joined by a number of distinguished ensembles, pianists, and vocal soloists. The sound throughout is consistently good: clean, balanced, and nicely ambient. This compilation of very diverse works from the choir's expansive repertoire is an excellent introduction to its versatility and finely-honed musicianship and should whet listeners' appetite for seeking out the complete albums.
Classical - Released October 13, 2017 | Warner Classics
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