Albums

2360 albums sorted by Bestsellers and filtered by Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred)
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released November 1, 2013 | Warner Classics International

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released August 17, 2018 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Brought up in the French-Flamish tradition but fed with the milk of Renaissance Italian madrigalism since he was about eighteen years old, Jacques Arcadelt (1507-1568) left behind him many gems whose importance has been realized only recently. Let’s acclaim this magnificent album gathering the Chœur de Chambre de Namur, the ensemble Doulce Mémoire and the Cappella Mediterranea, to give us not the complete marigals, songs and motets by Arcadelt, of course, but a large selection of his most stupefying pieces. These are thus madrigals from his First and Fourth Books released during his Italian years around 1540, songs from the various Livres de Chansons (Books of Songs) released between 1550 and 1565 when he was living in Paris, and motets from various eras in his career—mostly Italian, a bit French too since he moved from court to court depending on the jobs, the political assassinations, the change in alliances and, generally, the implausible chaos between the various power players at the time. As a nod, we also hear an Ave Maria “according to Arcadelt”, in truth an imitation by Louis Dietsch, a composer from the 19th Century, and the comical Ave Maria d’Arcadelt … by Liszt, inspired by the Dietsch imitation, for solo organ, an exercise in returning to your ancient roots like people loved to imagine them during the Romantic era. We could even wonder if Saint-Saëns didn’t use the head of the main theme to recycle it into his ”Organ” Symphony, incidentally. © SM/Qobuz
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 21, 2018 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason

Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released February 16, 2018 | Accent

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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What a shame Graupner’s name is mostly remembered in conjunction with his contemporary, Johann Sebastian Bach: indeed the Leipzig authorities wanted to hire Graupner – whose employer at the time, the court of Hesse-Darmstadt, raised his salary, getting him to stay in this position for his entire life – as Thomaskantor after Telemann and three other musicians declined the offer. Then came a moment of immense administrative stupidity, as the city council decided to hire Bach, declaring: ”For important reasons, the situation is delicate and since the best men are not available, mediocre ones must be considered”. But this is not the point here: Graupner is far from mediocre himself, and his talent quickly comes through upon listening to these three cantatas (out of some 1,400 cantatas that have survived to this day!) and two orchestral works (out of over 200 ensemble pieces). His melodic and harmonic language is extremely rich, and he doesn’t hesitate to borrow from “old-school” resources to write his music, while often exploring the lyrical idiom of his time, particularly from Italy. Here, the delightful soprano Dorothee Mields is supported by the ensemble Harmonie universelle, led alternately on the violin by Florian Deuter and Mónica Waisman. © SM/Qobuz
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Vocal Recitals - Released August 17, 2018 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The French printer-publisher Christophe Plantin (1520-1589), who has lived in Antwerp more or less all of his adult life, is not just anyone. He is credited with some two thousand publications, an absolutely astounding number in this era in which everything was done by hand, including the press done page after page, and yet he’s managed to publish a new book approximately every week during his 34-year career, with more than a thousand copies for each—up to eight thousand copies for his Hebraic Bible. His workshop included sixteen hand presses, served by thirty-two printers, twenty typographers, three proofreaders and many servants of all kinds: a true company. His opus magnum is a Bible in five languages: Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaean and Syriac. He is also credited with works in the fields of medicine, botany, cartography, anatomy, mathematics, religion of course… And yes, also music! Because he published several major partitions, gathering contemporary sacred works from Jacobus De Kerle, Palestrina, Philippus De Monte, as well as several chansonniers gathering pieces from Andries Pervenage, Claude Le Jeune and colleagues. It is in this incredible stock that the beautiful Ensemble Huelgas drew, alternating between profane and sacred, choral and soloist, a sort of condensed musical Renaissance oscillating between ferocious Catholics (Antwerp was then under Spanish domination, and Philip II was very touchy about religion) and rebellious Protestants. © SM/Qobuz

Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released March 2, 2018 | Chandos

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Giulia Frasi is best known to posterity for having given the first performances of the principal soprano parts in Handel’s last oratorios – all of them containing vivid scenes of sentimental and spiritual drama that depict suffering women reacting to extremely distressing events with courage, dignity, and selflessness. This album explores her speciality: playing characters whose emotional journeys are charted with affecting pathos. However, the thirty-one-year career that Frasi enjoyed in London was broader, more complicated, and richer than being merely Handel’s last prima donna. Retracing her music making in different environments – not only operas and oratorio concerts in theatres but also music in numerous other contexts – reveals a perfect microcosm of the cultural and stylistic diversity of musical life in mid-eighteenth-century Britain. It is a story that has seldom been told, and has never before been presented through a cross-section of Frasi’s musical repertoire. Reputedly trained in Milan and having made her operatic debutin Italy, Frasi came to Britain to join Lord Middlesex’s Italian opera company in 1742 – not long after Handel had decided to stop composing and performing operas on the London stage. Initially allocated minor roles but gradually rising in importance to the company, Frasi participated in at least fourteen opera seasons at the King’s Theatre on the Haymarket between November 1742 and 1761. Her early London appearances in 1743 prompted this recollection by Charles Burney in his General History of Music: Giulia ‘Frasi was at this time young, and interesting in person, with a sweet and clear voice, and a smooth and chaste style of singing, which, though, cold and unimpassioned, pleased natural ears, and escaped the censure of critics.’ Burney praised the fact that, having come to this country at an early period of her life, ‘she pronounced our language in singing in a more articulate and intelligible manner than the natives.’ It seems that Handel’s attention was attracted by her determination to sing articulately in English – which coincided with her increasing usefulness to the topsy-turvy Italian opera company – and an emerging knack for conveying musical pathos. Soprano Ruby Hughes, who has chosen a large variety of works, not only by Haendel but also from all of Frasi’s London repertoire, from Arne to Smith, won first Prize and the Audience Prize at the 2009 London Handel Singing Competition, and is also a former BBC New Generation Artist. She made her debut at Theater an der Wien with René Jacobs, She has sung major roles at the Buxton International Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, London Handel Festival, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Musikfestspiele Potsdam, and Schwetzinger Festspiele, as well as at English National Opera, Garsington Opera, Scottish Opera among so many others. © SM/Qobuz
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released March 7, 2011 | Studio SM

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 1997 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

That explains why this putative survey of Pavarotti's career breaks off in the mid-'90s, prior to such blockbusters as the Paris 1998 concert and most of the various Pavarotti & Friends releases. And it also explains the dominance of popular or semi-popular material: Pavarotti, when this disc appeared, was at the height of his renown and was making moves in the direction of crossover stardom. One of the two discs is devoted to crossover material, mostly Neapolitan song but also including a duet on "My Way" with Frank Sinatra. From a perspective overlooking the great tenor's entire career, this somewhat overstates the importance of popular song in his output. He enthusiastically recorded it, and well, but he never focused on it the way even the other Two Tenors did. In general, though, the time frame of this album serves the listener well. The weaker final stage of Pavarotti's career is omitted, and the operatic selections included on disc one, going back as far as 1968, offer a good overview of the evolution of Pavarotti's voice and show his talents in works beyond the Italian standards: hear his irresistible "La fleur que tu m'avais jetée," from Bizet's Carmen (CD 1, track 15). The lack of any notes at all, even a capsule biography, is a disadvantage in the packaging, and one could easily have been provided: the tracklist insert unfolds to a large image of the cover logo that isn't big enough to be a poster and isn't really suited to be anything else. For a couple of hours of Pavarotti for the commute, however, this double disc, also available as an .mp3 download, will fill the bill.
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Vocal Recitals - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released October 26, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Two composers who in one way or another sang about the horrors of war, and two who lost their lives in it: Ian Bostridge's takes a successful gamble here, with masterful accompaniment on the piano by Antonio Pappano. The first two are from Kurt Weill with Four Walt Whitman Songs in which the poet laments over the soldiers who died in the War of Succession, and Gustav Mahler, three of whose Lieder(s) taken from Knaben Wunderhorn cruelly and repugnantly evoke the lives of poor young people, peasants and people who are barely through with their school years, sent to be torn apart on every possible and imaginable front. More directly concerned, if one may say so, are George Butterworth - who fell at the Somme in 1916, aged thirty-one, and whose A Shropshire Lad is without a doubt the greatest masterpiece here. Rudi Stephan fell at the Galician front in 1915 aged twenty-eight. His cycle Ich will dir singen ein Hohelied is a climax of unsettling eroticism... Would the fate of German music have been different if this genius had been able to act as a counterbalance, for example, to the emerging dodecaphonic music? Bostridge gives it his all here in this sad centenary of the end of the “war to end all wars”, which we know was tragically not the case. © SM/Qobuz
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 7, 2018 | Sony Classical

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released March 2, 2018 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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With "Siface: l’amor castrato", countertenor Filippo Mineccia, together with Javier Ulises Illán and Nereydas, presents a short imaginary pasticcio opera reflecting the music-making and life of the contralto castrato known by that stage name. Born Giovanni Francesco Grossi in 1653 in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, Siface was acclaimed for his exciting musical performances, yet who became famous also for the tragedy of his love life. He was called upon to sing in operas and oratorios by the likes of Stradella, Pasquini, Bassani, Pallavicino and Agostini. For a long time in the service of Francesco II d’Este in Modena, Siface was an active member of the musical “ducal circuit” in the Italian peninsula, even, on one occasion, additionally being sent to England, where he performed before monarchy, and met and impressed Henry Purcell. Filippo Mineccia brilliantly captures the kaleidoscopic rush of emotions coursing through this selection of arias, which reflects the torrid and spectacular musical pace of life in late seventeenth-century Italy (as well as mirroring Siface’s own downfall on the road from Ferrara to Bologna). The Spanish ensemble Nereydas fully enter into the spirit of this, by turns, colourful, heartfelt, poignant and vivid celebration of vocal and instrumental music, which also features works by Alessandro Scarlatti (the emotive lullaby Dormi o fulmine), Francesco Cavalli and Purcell (My song shall be alway). Elena Bernardi puts flesh on still little understood aspects of the early stages of opera in the late Seicento., © Glossa

Choral Music (Choirs) - Released March 1, 2011 | SDG

Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 1993 | Geffen*

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released October 14, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
Since the dawn of Christianity, Christmas has been celebrated with festive singing. In the Baroque era numerous composers such as Charpentier, Delalande, Balbastre, Dandrieu and Daquin created masterpieces out of these simple tunes. When Sofi Jeannin told me of her wish to get her ‘Maîtrise’ choir to sing Christmas music, I was delighted. For a long time I had been gathering French sources of the 17th and 18th centuries with the intention of working on baroque carol arrangements with Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien. I wanted to create something quite different from what had been done before, by treating this repertoire with proper respect: being faithful to the old sources, yet re-working the musical material to make our own personal version. The different languages, regional dialects and accents illustrate the extraordinary diversity and cultural richness of France – as well as of ‘New France’ – at that historical period.
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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released January 17, 2005 | Warner Classics International

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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released January 5, 2018 | BIS

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Award - Exceptional sound
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Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Pärt have both lived through the intense decades of upheavals that preceded the fall of the Soviet Union. From the 1970s, religion returned to public life as restrictions around it were relaxed. Schnittke turned towards Christianity, while remaining open towards Eastern religions. Arvo Pärt, from a family of Lutheran Estonians, embraced the Orthodox faith in the 1970s. The two composers both began to incorporate religious themes into their work, moving decisively away from the modernist abstraction of their early work. Schnittke wrote three religious works of great power: a Requiem in 1975 which could only be played in secret, disguised (what ignominy...) as stage music in a Muscovite production of Schiller's Don Carlos. His Choir Concerto, also with a religious theme, was performed in Moscow in 1986 after overcoming a daunting series of bureaucratic obstacles. On the other hand, the Penitential Psalms were performed out in the open in 1988 in as part of celebrations to mark a thousand years of Christianity in Russia. The style of this immense masterpiece is in line with Orthodox liturgical tradition, but Schnittke extends traditional principles to create modern sounds - in particular, rhythmical and harmonic modifications, which lend the work an intense richness.   Like Schnittke's Penitential Psalms, the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis by Pärt are composed in a semi-liturgical style. The Magnificat dates back to one year after Schnittke's score was composed, in 1989. Pärt had been living in Berlin since 1981, where he refined his "tintinnabuli" technique. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir which plays here is one of Estonia's foremost chamber music ensembles. Founded in 1981, it has been directed by Kaspars Putniņš since 2014. Its choral repertoire stretches from Gregorian chant and baroque to more contemporary music, with a particular focus on the work of Estonian composers, which the Choir works hard to spread beyond the country's borders. © SM/Qobuz
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released March 18, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica - Exceptional sound - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released October 6, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica