Albums

Sacred Oratorios - Released October 6, 2017 | CPO

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released May 22, 2017 | Querstand

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released June 9, 2017 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 31, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released October 28, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released August 19, 2016 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 4 étoiles de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik

Sacred Vocal Music - Released June 3, 2016 | BIS

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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The main expressive goal of this release by New York Polyphony seems to be the vocal harmonies accomplished by the one-voice-per-part singers and their interaction with the spectacular acoustics of the St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska (a venue known to U.S. Midwesterners but not internationally, and the BIS label and the performers deserve kudos for finding it). It succeeds brilliantly on those counts: the singers of New York Polyphony control not only pitch but vocal timbre to remarkable degrees. The album isn't intended as historically informed performance, yet it actually comes close in some ways to what might have been heard in the time of Palestrina, Victoria, and Guerrero. Palestrina's choirs numbered a few dozen, yet there are records of his music being sung one to a part in smaller situations. And the interpolation of chants and motets into the larger works brings the listener closer to what a Roman churchgoer would have experienced. The end result is a performance of, especially, Palestrina's Missa Papæ Marcelli that's nothing short of revelatory: New York Polyphony's reading stands in the highest possible contrast to the usual choral readings of this work, whose density turns it into a big wash of sound when it is sung by a large group. Although Palestrina himself wouldn't have appreciated the comparison, New York Polyphony's sound in the work is almost madrigalian, and in their use of the timbres of individual voices to bring out Palestrina's control over register they accomplish something genuinely original. Victoria's Missa O quam gloriosum and the smaller pieces by all three composers are hardly less compelling. Highly recommended.
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Sacred Oratorios - Released May 6, 2016 | Arcana

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica

Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 29, 2016 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - 4 étoiles de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 1, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica
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Cantatas (sacred) - Released April 1, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Sacred Oratorios - Released April 1, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles de Classica

Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 25, 2016 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles de Classica
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 25, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
The external graphics of this recording of Bach's St. John Passion by conductor René Jacobs and the RIAS Kammerchor, with a similar set of soloists to those who appeared on Jacobs' St. Matthew Passion recording, promise various innovations, and the notes delve into more. A DVD version of the performance is included. The recording offers the usual 1749 "revised" version of the work, adding material from the 1725 version in both the CD and the download versions, and including some interesting reflections on whether one can speak at all of an authentic version of a work that evolved to the degree that this one did. There are some innovations in the placement of the musicians, moving the choir up to a point next to the orchestra, with only the "expanded" choir of the chorales in back, and this works well: the words of the choir are given striking immediacy in this way. The size of that choir, too, may be considered an innovation in these days of competing full-choir and one-voice-per-part versions; Jacobs expresses scorn toward the latter solution but makes a sure to be controversial move of his own, employing a larger choir for the chorales than for the polyphonic choral passages even in the absence of any documentary support for such a configuration. The basic idea, however, is defensible: Jacobs finds in the work a "concerto principle," going all the way back to a 1920 remark of musicologist Arnold Schering: Bach's "concerto principle" as applied to choral music added "a surprising and clearly perceptible gradation of sound." All these small details add up to something absolutely distinctive: a small but not chamber-sized performance that strains for maximum expressiveness (although not operatic "drama") at every turn. From the magnificent motet-like opening chorus onward this is a performance with extraordinary depth and power. The soloists, above all the luscious soprano Sunhae Im and the commanding tenor Werner Güra as the Evangelist (who does not emerge from the choir like the other soloists on the theory that the vocal ordeal would be too severe), do their part, and the small choir matches them in precise effect. Sample one of the more active scenes, such as the Jews' demands of Pilate (CD one, track 23), for a taste of this recording's combination of immediacy and elevation. But know that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Very highly recommended.

Sacred Vocal Music - Released February 26, 2016 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released December 4, 2015 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released November 6, 2015 | SDG

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica
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For his new recording of this monument to Bach, John Eliot Gardiner is limited to a light chamber orchestra (obviously the English Baroque Soloists, founded here 37 years ago by Gardiner!), a choir of reasonable size (the Monteverdi Choir, same remark...), and a meticulous - but above all, calm - conducting of the articulations, phrases and lines, almost like a kind of chamber opera. The tempos are rather upbeat, like baroque music back in its heyday - the perfect balance between respecting history and the quest for beauty of sound. Gardiner has nothing dogmatic - making this new recording a particularly welcome perspective among the ample discography(yet unsatisfactory) of this Mass en si. © SM / Qobuz
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 3, 2015 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released September 8, 2015 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica

Sacred Vocal Music - Released May 5, 2015 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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