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Vox Luminis - Biber: Requiem

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Biber: Requiem

Vox Luminis, Freiburger BarockConsort, Lionel Meunier

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With an ever-increasing string of prestigious prizes to Vox Luminis's name – their various Gramophone Awards including winning the 2019 Choral Category for their Buxtehude Abendmusiken – it's impossible not to expect high things of each new offering from this Belgian early music vocal ensemble under the direction of Lionel Meunier. All the more so, though, for this latest exploration of the German Baroque repertoire they've made their calling card, because not only is it the first time they've taken the music of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (c1644-1704) into the studio, but this recording also marks the beginning of a collaboration with another internationally acclaimed period ensemble, the Freiburger Barockorchester, which appears here in its consort formation.

The good news is that the results are magnificent. Complementing and bookending the Biber are a handful of works by Christoph Bernhard (1628-1692), Johann Joseph Fux (1660-1741) and Johann Michael Nicolai (1629-1685), and it's Bernhard's Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener in Friede fahren that sits as the curtain raise – a luxuriously sighing beauty which gives us the pleasure of being introduced to the various artists one by one as it slowly blossoms out from its organ and solo violin opening. Before the voices even arrive, the luminous-toned and lucid-textured FBO have given us a profoundly soulful song without words, after which the gradual layering of fresh voices, everything wonderfully shaped and impeccably blended, is feeling so transcendental that you're almost wondering where they've given us the emotional peak too early, and left themselves nowhere further to go. But no. In fact, the intimate understanding of the texts, the warmed crystal purity of the voices (what a soprano sound....), the corresponding expression from the instrumentalists, the perfect balancing of all of these voices with each other, and the sheer freshness of the readings, don't dip for a second across the hour which follows. Further tutti highlights include the nimble, crisp articulation and urgent energy of the Biber Requiem's Dies Irae, a major-keyed movement more akin to jubilant dance than the sombre-toned hell and brimstone number that these words tends to bring to mind. Also the joyous, easy flow of the concluding Omnis terra adoret, K. 183 by Fux. Treats from the FBO alone meanwhile include the infectious playfulness with which the sweetly earthy-toned strings circle and bow to each other over Fux's Sonata a 6 in A minor; and throughout, the softly unobtrusive colour coming from the brass.

In short, this is feeling like the start of a beautiful relationship. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

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Biber: Requiem

Vox Luminis

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1
Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener
Vox Luminis
00:13:01

Freiburger BarockConsort, Orchestra, MainArtist - Christoph Bernhard, Composer - Vox Luminis, Chorus, MainArtist - Lionel Meunier, Conductor, MainArtist

2021 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2021 Freiburger BarockConsort & Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France

2
Tribularer si nescirem
Vox Luminis
00:05:40

Freiburger BarockConsort, Orchestra, MainArtist - Christoph Bernhard, Composer - Vox Luminis, Chorus, MainArtist - Lionel Meunier, Conductor, MainArtist

2021 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2021 Freiburger BarockConsort & Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France

3
Sonata a 6 in A Minor
Freiburger BarockConsort
00:07:36

Johann Michael Nicolai, Composer - Freiburger BarockConsort, Orchestra, MainArtist

2021 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2021 Freiburger BarockConsort & Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France

Requiem in F Minor, C 8 (Heinrich Biber)

4
Ia. Introitus
Vox Luminis
00:03:46

Heinrich Biber, Composer - Freiburger BarockConsort, Orchestra, MainArtist - Vox Luminis, Chorus, MainArtist - Lionel Meunier, Conductor, MainArtist

2021 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2021 Freiburger BarockConsort & Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France

5
Ib. Kyrie
Vox Luminis
00:01:53

Heinrich Biber, Composer - Freiburger BarockConsort, Orchestra, MainArtist - Vox Luminis, Chorus, MainArtist - Lionel Meunier, Conductor, MainArtist

2021 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2021 Freiburger BarockConsort & Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France

6
II. Dies Irae
Vox Luminis
00:08:25

Heinrich Biber, Composer - Freiburger BarockConsort, Orchestra, MainArtist - Vox Luminis, Chorus, MainArtist - Lionel Meunier, Conductor, MainArtist

2021 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2021 Freiburger BarockConsort & Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France

7
III. Offertorium
Vox Luminis
00:04:33

Heinrich Biber, Composer - Freiburger BarockConsort, Orchestra, MainArtist - Vox Luminis, Chorus, MainArtist - Lionel Meunier, Conductor, MainArtist

2021 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2021 Freiburger BarockConsort & Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France

8
IV. Sanctus
Vox Luminis
00:04:46

Heinrich Biber, Composer - Freiburger BarockConsort, Orchestra, MainArtist - Vox Luminis, Chorus, MainArtist - Lionel Meunier, Conductor, MainArtist

2021 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2021 Freiburger BarockConsort & Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France

9
V. Agnus Dei - Communio
Vox Luminis
00:06:58

Heinrich Biber, Composer - Freiburger BarockConsort, Orchestra, MainArtist - Vox Luminis, Chorus, MainArtist - Lionel Meunier, Conductor, MainArtist

2021 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2021 Freiburger BarockConsort & Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France

10
Sonata a 4 in G Minor, K. 347
Freiburger BarockConsort
00:07:16

Johann Joseph Fux, Composer - Freiburger BarockConsort, Orchestra, MainArtist

2021 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2021 Freiburger BarockConsort & Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France

11
Omnis terra adoret, K. 183
Vox Luminis
00:08:03

Johann Joseph Fux, Composer - Freiburger BarockConsort, Orchestra, MainArtist - Vox Luminis, Chorus, MainArtist - Lionel Meunier, Conductor, MainArtist

2021 Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France 2021 Freiburger BarockConsort & Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France

Descrizione dell'album

With an ever-increasing string of prestigious prizes to Vox Luminis's name – their various Gramophone Awards including winning the 2019 Choral Category for their Buxtehude Abendmusiken – it's impossible not to expect high things of each new offering from this Belgian early music vocal ensemble under the direction of Lionel Meunier. All the more so, though, for this latest exploration of the German Baroque repertoire they've made their calling card, because not only is it the first time they've taken the music of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (c1644-1704) into the studio, but this recording also marks the beginning of a collaboration with another internationally acclaimed period ensemble, the Freiburger Barockorchester, which appears here in its consort formation.

The good news is that the results are magnificent. Complementing and bookending the Biber are a handful of works by Christoph Bernhard (1628-1692), Johann Joseph Fux (1660-1741) and Johann Michael Nicolai (1629-1685), and it's Bernhard's Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener in Friede fahren that sits as the curtain raise – a luxuriously sighing beauty which gives us the pleasure of being introduced to the various artists one by one as it slowly blossoms out from its organ and solo violin opening. Before the voices even arrive, the luminous-toned and lucid-textured FBO have given us a profoundly soulful song without words, after which the gradual layering of fresh voices, everything wonderfully shaped and impeccably blended, is feeling so transcendental that you're almost wondering where they've given us the emotional peak too early, and left themselves nowhere further to go. But no. In fact, the intimate understanding of the texts, the warmed crystal purity of the voices (what a soprano sound....), the corresponding expression from the instrumentalists, the perfect balancing of all of these voices with each other, and the sheer freshness of the readings, don't dip for a second across the hour which follows. Further tutti highlights include the nimble, crisp articulation and urgent energy of the Biber Requiem's Dies Irae, a major-keyed movement more akin to jubilant dance than the sombre-toned hell and brimstone number that these words tends to bring to mind. Also the joyous, easy flow of the concluding Omnis terra adoret, K. 183 by Fux. Treats from the FBO alone meanwhile include the infectious playfulness with which the sweetly earthy-toned strings circle and bow to each other over Fux's Sonata a 6 in A minor; and throughout, the softly unobtrusive colour coming from the brass.

In short, this is feeling like the start of a beautiful relationship. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

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