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1973 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest and filtered by Sacred Vocal Music
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 27, 2020 | Claves Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
This recording was made in April 2019 at the Ernest-Ansermet Studio in Geneva, after five concerts in Switzerland during the preceding days. The desire to be as faithful as possible to the rhythm of the drama of the Passion and to the evidence of the musical sequences, which is easier to feel during a live performance than in front of the relative abstraction of the microphones, as well as a non-negligible time constraint (three and a half days in the studio for a work of 160 minutes), pushed the members of Gli Angeli Genève to record long takes, sometimes including up to 10 or 12 minutes of music, thus getting as close as possible to the feeling of a concert. In concert, with small vocal groups, Gli Angeli Genève systematically places the singers in front of the instruments regardless of repertoire, so as to give speech in music the most prominent place possible. When recording, since the audience’s crucial role cannot be replaced by the microphones, the musicians place ourselves in a large circle, all facing each other. They can see each other playing, singing, vibrating, breathing and reacting. The idea of reaction is central to this work where, when the action of the story is suspended, it is immediately replaced by emotion and poetic as well as musical beauty that Matthew’s story inspired in Bach and Picander. Airs as well as chorales. And within this circle they can react together, engage in dialogue, and see themselves feel the drama and powerful affects that mark the work relentlessly. And then they can share the pleasure and sometimes the awe - so beautiful is the music – of being able to live all this together. Forming a circle to make this music and observing the extraordinary musicians of Gli Angeli Genève at work led Stephan MacLeod (the conductor) to realise the extent to which The Saint Matthew Passion has structured the career and relationship to music of many of his colleagues. © Claves Records
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 23, 2020 | Ricordu

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 20, 2020 | HORTUS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released February 28, 2020 | Alpha

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Longstanding partners Sandrine Piau and Christophe Rousset have frequently performed the Stabat Mater, an emblematic work of the eighteenth-century Neapolitan repertory, both together and with other musicians. It was therefore a natural step for them to record this supreme masterpiece of sacred music. They are joined here by a relative newcomer to Les Talens Lyriques who has also become a regular partner with the ensemble, the American countertenor Christopher Lowrey. The programme is completed by a Beatus vir by Leonardo Leo (1694-1744), sung by Christopher Lowrey, and a Salve Regina for soprano (Sandrine Piau) by Nicola Porpora (1686-1768), two totally unknown works by two composers who were nevertheless very famous at the time – Porpora, for example, was Farinelli’s singing teacher and mentor to the youthful Haydn. Christophe Rousset finds in this music ‘an expression of very Mediterranean, very highly flavoured piety, in which one moves from tears to laughter quite quickly’. Sandrine Piau sees in Leo ‘an elegance of style, a certain distance in sorrow’. © Alpha Classics
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released February 14, 2020 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Cantatas (sacred) - Released February 14, 2020 | deutsche harmonia mundi

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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released February 7, 2020 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
“A great joy”: this is how Masaaki Suzuki considers this, his second recording of the St. Matthew’s Passion, made twenty years after the first one, in the Saitama Arts Theatre in Japan in April 2019 for the BIS label. A great opportunity to revisit the work, as in the elapsed time, the conductor and his orchestra have nearly completely recorded Bach’s choral music, including the complete masses and secular and sacred cantatas. As is his custom, Suzuki works with European soloists for this new recording, like the splendid young German tenor Benjamin Bruns, playing the stupendous part of the Evangelist. There are other familiar soloists that feature here, such as Carolyn Sampson, Damien Guillon, Makoto Sakurada and Christian Immler. There is nothing monumental about this new intimate and refined version, which follows the fateful narrative with great sobriety. There is nevertheless a fervent level of impulse, as well as a certain innocence within this resolutely pared back Lutheran perspective - there is never any real search for theatricality. The exceptional instrumental quality of the soloists of the Bach Collegium Japan and the soft touches of the two choral ensembles is also worth highlighting. © François Hudry / Qobuz
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released February 7, 2020 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Bach’s St. John Passion, with its famous opening chorus traversed by shadows and light, is a powerful musical and spiritual reflection. Dramatic, grandiose, complex, resolutely theatrical: there has been no lack of superlatives to describe this supreme masterpiece of western music. Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent present an accomplished reading that reflects their knowledge of the composer, based on extensive research and deepened by countless concerts. Soloists Krešimir Stražanac and Maximilian Schmitt demonstrate the breadth of their talents in the roles of Jesus and the Evangelist. © Phi
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 10, 2020 | Solo Musica

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released December 6, 2019 | Herald

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released December 2, 2019 | Marek Klein

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 29, 2019 | Cappella Romana

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Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia is the first vocal album in the world to be recorded entirely in live virtual acoustics. It brings together art history, music history, performance, and technology to re-create medieval sacred sound in the cathedral of Hagia Sophia as an aural virtual reality. With a stunning reverberation time of over 11 seconds, the acoustics of Hagia Sophia were measured and analyzed, and auralized in real-time on Cappella Romana’s performance by the Icons of Sound team at Stanford University (iconsofsound.stanford.edu). Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia presents more than 75 minutes of medieval Byzantine chant for the Feast of the Holy Cross in Constantinople, one of the greatest celebrations in the yearly cycle of worship at Hagia Sophia. © Cappella Romana
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 22, 2019 | ASC Records

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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released November 15, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Joseph Haydn composed around 15 masses between 1748 and 1802. The Missa Cellensis in honorem Beatissimae Virginis Mariae, presented here in this new release from the Akademie für Alte Musik and the excellent RIAS-Kammerchor Berlin conducted by Justin Doyle, is better known by the later name Missa Sanctae Caeciliae ("Mass for Saint Cecilia"). It's the most vast of Haydn's masses and his only mass-cantata in the solemn Neapolitan style, whose numbers alternate between arias, ensembles and choirs. It seems that Haydn had intended the composition of this mass to be a great coup: it is a deft mix of the "modern" writing of his day and the "baroque" writing of his predecessors. In his monumental biography of the composer, Marc Vignal notes correctly that Haydn's masses are first-rate, not only set against the production of his quartets or symphonies, but also when set against the religious music of his times. This recording, taken at a June 2018 concert at the Berlin Konzerthaus, completes a RIAS-Kammerchor discography which is already rich in choral works but which hadn't yet tackled Haydn's masterpieces. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 15, 2019 | Accentus Music

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
It would be a fool’s errand to look for foreshadowings of Bruckner’s future greatness in this Requiem, which he wrote at the age of 24. Copying from one’s models is a formative experience for young artists, who needs must pass through that stage in order to learn their own art and find their own vocabulary. Taking in various influences, including the clear mark of Mozart, this budding composer finds his way to a mysticism which would go on to be the motor of all his future works, especially his nine fabulous symphonies, all of which are monuments to divinity. Here is a Bruckner who is already finding his own path, brought to life by the soloists, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, and the splendid Berlin RIAS Kammerchor, with an inspired Łukasz Borowicz conducting; the programme is rounded off by a few isolated liturgical pieces. Note also the stunning Aeuqale, two short pieces for three trombones written by the young composer for the funeral of his aunt Rosalie Mayrhofer in 1847, and which anticipate the harmonic strategies that would become so typical of Bruckner’s writing for brass sections in his later great works. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released November 8, 2019 | Arcana

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason découverte - Choc de Classica
After rediscovering the music of Giovanni Croce, maestro di cappella at St Mark’s cathedral in Venice, Ensembles Voces Suaves and Concerto Scirocco take us to Salzburg and put the spotlight on the Verona-born composer Stefano Bernardi, a contemporary of Monteverdi. Bernardi reached the peak of his career in Salzburg, when he was appointed the first Kapellmeister of its newly constructed cathedral, a position he held from 1628 to 1634. Bernardi contributed greatly to the integration of the Italian nuovo stile in Salzburg, especially of features such as polychorality and the stile concertato, and may therefore be seen as the musical forefather of later, more famous Salzburg musicians. The outstanding stature of his music is clearly evident from his majestic Requiem, the manuscript of which is still preserved in the Salzburg cathedral archives. Particularly impressive is the Sequentia, which forms the core of the work and opens with an elaborate Dies irae section, based on the famous chant melody. The Requiem, as well as a number of Motets by Bernardi, is recorded here for the very first time. © Arcana
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released November 1, 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Composed in 1824 by Hector Berlioz at the age of twenty-one and premiered at the church of Saint-Roch in Paris in 1825, the Messe solennelle has come down to us following an eventful history. After Berlioz declared that he had destroyed the score, the mass was considered lost until it was rediscovered in Antwerp in 1992. This remarkable work helps us both to appreciate the development of Berlioz’s style – already revolutionary in his early years – and to understand what he owed to his contemporaries, notably Cherubini, whose monumental Requiem Hervé Niquet has already recorded (Alpha 251). Scored for three soloists (soprano, tenor and bass), chorus and orchestra, the work consists of thirteen movements, material from which Berlioz was to reuse in several later works, notably in the ‘Scène aux champs’ of the Symphonie fantastique, which quotes the ‘Gratias’. On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Berlioz’s death, Hervé Niquet, fascinated by this work – ‘There’s nothing he doesn’t know about dramaturgy and vocal style. At the age of twenty!’ – decided to programme it (the concert at the famous Berlioz Festival of La Côte Saint-André was a memorable occasion) and record it in the Chapelle Royale of the Château de Versailles. © Alpha Classics
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 1, 2019 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Giovanni Battista Colonna (1637-95) spent most of his career in Bologna as maestro di cappella of the basilica of San Petronio. Since he had at his disposal this imposing building with its two choir organs, well known to lovers of the instrument, and its very generous acoustics, Colonna wrote a large number of sacred compositions for imposing vocal and instrumental forces. But, in a more intimate vein, he also devoted two collections to the repertory of ‘small motets’. The pieces recorded here come from the 1681 set of Motetti a due e tre voci (1681). They display a wide variety of formulas, combining traditional elements and innovative aspects that were to be further developed in the following generations. These gems are highly representative of the style of small motets that heralds the stile concertante. They are characterised by various combinations of voices (from solo recitative to a mixture of vocal duets or trios in different scorings) and a broad range of formal structures bound up with the very nature of the texts. © Ricercar
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 1, 2019 | Carus

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During his lifetime Hans Fährmann was known as “the Richard Strauss of the organ.” Today the compositions of this composer and organist, who was born in 1860 in Beicha, Saxony, are largely unknown. Frieder Bernius has now devoted himself to Fährmann's sacred vocal works and has found the SWR Vokalensemble to be the ideal partner for these late romantic a cappella works, whose demanding harmonies also demand professional ensembles. The SWR vocal ensemble has mastered this challenge brilliantly. For Frieder Bernius, a conductor always on the lookout for exciting choral literature, Fährmann’s compositions represent “an indispensable and very welcome enrichment of the late romantic repertoire.” How true! © Carus-Verlag
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 1, 2019 | Decca

The first recordings of choral masterpieces by Britten, performed by the dedicatees and newly reissued in a unique compilation.At Christmas in 1958, Benjamin Britten went to hear the boys of the Westminster Cathedral Choir sing his Ceremony of Carols conducted by George Malcolm. He was so impressed by their voices that he wanted to write something for them. Malcolm suggested a short Mass for boys’ voices. The result is the Missa Brevis, composed, performed and recorded by Decca on the occasion of Malcolm’s retirement as organist and choirmaster in July 1959. During the previous decade, Malcolm had reformed the choir following a heritage of excellence established by his predecessor, Sir Richard Terry, while expanding the repertory, commissioning modern works from composers such as Britten and moulding the choral sound in the Continental style, learnt from his own Catholic training, which places much more emphasis than the Anglican tradition on chest voice. . He created a natural and throaty Continental sound – the sound boys make in the playground, as he put it – that suited the great Catholic polyphony choir, much emulated by other English choirs in succeeding generations. Eighteen months earlier, Malcolm had also played the organ for the composer’s own recording of Rejoice in the Lamb, which sets portions of a poem by Christopher Smart extolling the praise of God in terms as touching and quirky as the text. In 1961 he took charge of the first performance at the Royal Festival Hall of the Cantata Academica, another celebratory work written to honour the quincentenary of Basle University, and made this recording for L’Oiseau-Lyre soon afterwards. Here too is a geniality and variety of colour and a wealth of melodic invention, in no way compromised by the use of a twelve-note serial theme. Side B of the L’Oiseau-Lyre album reinforced Britten’s remarkable skill as a writer for unaccompanied chorus, with the Hymns to the Virgin and to St Cecilia, smaller-scale works but even more perfect in their way, and then the more recent Choral Dances in Elizabethan style from his Coronation opera Gloriana; Britten shared with Stravinsky an ability to recreate the past in terms of the present without any sense of pastiche or loss of individuality. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)