Tomas de Torrejon Y Velasco
The Namur Chamber Choir is a popular Belgian vocal ensemble best known for its performances and recordings of early and Baroque choral music. This group, known in French-speaking Europe as the Choeur de Chambre de Namur, is made up of at least a dozen singers, or as many as 32, depending upon the repertory. Speaking of repertory, though the NCC has a decided preference for early music, particularly the works of Lassus, J.S. Bach, Handel, Charpentier, du Mont, Gossec, Fiocco, Gabrieli, Gretry, Gluck, and Pachelbel, members have also sung music by Haydn, Mozart, Fauré, and Franck, as well as works by contemporary composers like Henri Pousseur and Benoît Mernier, whose Missa Christi Regis Genitum (2000) the group recorded to great acclaim. The ensemble often performs with famous Baroque-style orchestras, such as Les Agrémens, La Petite Bande, Ricercar Consort, La Fenice, La Grande Ecurie, and the Chambre du Roy. The group's conductor since 2002 has been Jean Tubéry, but the ensemble often performs under the direction of a guest conductor, like such past luminaries as Roy Goodman, Philippe Herreweghe, Sigiswald Kuijken, Marc Minkowski, Simon Halsey, and a host of other maestros associated with early music. The NCC has made more than 25 recordings spread over several labels, including Ricecar, Virgin Classics, RCA, Naïve, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Erato, Astrée-Auvidis, and other labels. The Namur Chamber Choir was formed in 1987 by a Belgian musical organization, the Center for Choral Singing of the French-speaking Community of Belgium. The NCC receives funding from several governmental agencies, but has generally been successful in drawing large audiences and in the sales of recordings. Until 2002, when Tubéry became the NCC's conductor, the ensemble had a string of notable conductors that included Pierre Cao, Denis Menier, Olivier Opdebeek, and Patrick Davin. Initially, the group's repertory tended to favor the music of Walloon composers, such as Lassus and Gretry. But gradually the repertory expanded, as did the group's popularity. By the early years of the new century the NCC had become an internationally celebrated ensemble, for both its acclaimed concerts and prize-winning recordings. Indeed, they received a French Academy of Fine Arts Liliane Bettencourt Prize (2006), and for their recordings they were given numerous prizes, including Diapason d'Or and Grand Prix du Disque Charles Cros awards. Les Agrémens' later recordings include the 2009 Ricecar CD Bach: Christmas Cantatas, with Tubéry leading the ensemble.
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Choirs (sacred) - Released September 2, 2008 | K617
Full Operas - Released October 27, 2009 | Nuova Era Internazionale
A variety of claims have been made for the historical importance of La púrpura de la Rosa, including it being the first opera performed in the Americas, and the first opera composed in the Americas, but there is considerable scholarly debate about those claims, as well as uncertainty about who actually composed it. What's known with certainty is that Spanish composer and court organist Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco mounted a performance of it in 1701 in Lima, Peru. The only surviving copy of the score includes only the vocal lines, so its effectiveness largely depends on the skill of the musicologist or performer who creates a fully realized performing edition. The version by René Clemencic is more than an hour shorter than those of Andrew Lawrence-King and Gabriel Garrido, and fails to make an especially strong case for the work, especially when it is compared to the sophistication and inspiration of operas that had been produced throughout the previous century in Venice by composers like Monteverdi, Cavalli, Cesti, and Legrenzi. It has some lovely and charming moments, particularly the choruses, the inventive and beautifully structured ensemble, "Ay de aquel que en principio de celos," and Venus' lament, but it lacks the coherence, depth, and wit of the Venetian operas. The unevenness of the performances doesn't do the work many favors, either. Soprano Mieke van der Sluis as Venus, tenor Mark Tucker as Adonis, and bass Pedro Liendo as Marte sing with polish and professionalism, and some of the smaller roles are well taken, but some of the cast seems to be made up of amateurs. The Clemencic Consort plays with competence but without particular distinction. Ensemble Vocal la Cappella sings with grace and warmth. The sound is clear and nicely balanced, but a little thin. © TiVo