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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released May 25, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
In the 17th century, Roman churches were competing to put on the greatest show to celebrate their patron saints. On these occasions, extraordinary services were performed, where many different artists would be brought together, singers and instrumentalists alike, alongside ordinary musicians, for sumptuous pieces performed by several vocal and instrumental choirs. One contemporary description gives an idea of the scale: ten choirs and ensembles played together, two on fixed stages, and eight others distributed symmetrically right along the nave, on platforms built for the occasion. Every additional stage was provided with a positive organ, while many other instruments added to the sonic splendour. So that all the musicians could play well together in spite of the distance, "capi di coro” or time-keeping drummers, would play in unison. Orazio Benevolo (1605-1672) was one of the most remarkable architects of these extravagant, multi-choral monuments. Benevolo was a choirboy at the Church of St. Louis of the French in Rome before he entered the upper echelons by taking the job of Chapel Master in 1638. The composer has left behind him an abundant set of works, containing no fewer than 34 motets for a range of players, including Regna terrae, written for twelve soprano parts distributed across six vocal choirs, each with its own basso continuo. We are also indebted to him for twelve versions of the Magnificat, for between eight and 24 voices, including one for 16 voices, in quadruple choir, which appears here. Hervé Niquet and his Concert Spirituel have made use of the ample acoustics in the Notre-Dame-du-Liban church in Paris, perfectly structured to hold several choirs distributed across the building, to create the sensations of immersion and spatial plenitude that the composer aimed for. © SM/Qobuz
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 26, 2018 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Diapason d'or
Michel-Richard de Lalande was the leading composer of sacred music at the French court during the 17th Century. His Grands motets – he composed 77 – dominated the repertory of the Royal Chapel during his lifetime and after, until the 1770s in the programmes of the Concert Spirituel in Paris. His works are marked by both expressive harmonic vocabulary and contrapuntal mastery, which is exemplary in this set. Edward Higginbottom (b. 1946) developed a particular interest in French baroque music and spent time in France (1970-1972), studying the organ with Marie-Claire Alain. His love of French culture has borne fruit in many recording projects featuring French music. He has been Director of Music at New College Choir Oxford from 1976 to 2014 with which he recorded the bestseller albums "Agnus Dei I & II". The French conductor and chorus master Olivier Schneebeli studied with Pierre Dervaux and Jean-Claude Hartemann. In 1987, on the occasion of the rediscovery of Atys by Lully, he created with William Christie the chorus of Les Arts Florissants. He has made it his specialty to rediscover French sacred masterworks of the 17th and 18th centuries. © Warner Classics

Sacred Vocal Music - Released December 1, 2017 | BIS

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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We can only welcome the appearance of new recordings of Bach's Motets: these unique works which defy classification are also often difficult to date accurately. The common factor shared by those Motets which have survived to the present day (because many were lost) appears to be the purely choral conception of the musical discourse, from end to end, the absence of instrumentation - if they are played with instruments, the latter only back up the choral parts (excluding the BWV118, initially believed to be a cantata as it was written with a small musical accompaniment, but the form remains that of a short motet, hence the uncertainty about which classification to give it) - the deliberate archaism  of the words, and the likely funereal purpose of most of the works. The Norwegian Soloists' Choir (Det Norske Solistkor) is one of the foremost Norwegian musical ensembles and one of the best chamber choirs in Europe. The choir is just as comfortable with the classical/romantic repertoire as with contemporary music and makes frequent forays into music derived from romantic national folkloric works. The ensemble was founded in 1950 by the composer Knut Nystedt, who led it for four decades. In 1990, he was succeeded by Grete Pedersen, and she now directs the group - with the help of the Allegria Ensemble, also Norwegian - for this fine recording. © SM/Qobuz

Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released October 13, 2017 | SDG

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
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So much can be said about this new recording featuring among others − but as the pièce de résistance − Bach’s Magnificat, performed by John Eliot Gardiner, that we simply don’t know where to start! In 1983 – already 35 years ago! – Gardiner gave his first vision of Magnificat BWV 234 in D major; here the version in question is the BWV 234a in E flat major, the original and initial version, the – extended – one Bach wrote as soon as 1723 while the BWV 234 version (more often played nowadays) only arose from adjustments made ten years later. Of course one can debate on the advantages of one over the other but for this recording, Gardiner put emphasis on the brilliance, vibrancy and stunning virtuosity imposed by the E-flat major tone and vigorous tempi, in other words: undeniably modern! Magnificat is preceded by the Mass in F major, one of Bach’s four Lutheran masses, proper gems that are too rarely performed. It’s worth noting that most movements are recycled from previous cantatas, but with thorough rewrites of course! You’ll also find one of Gardiner’s favourite cantatas, Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kömmt (Sweet comfort, my Jesus comes), BWV 151, composed for the Christmas period. With his English Baroque Soloists, his Monteverdi Choir and a broad group of soloists (the alto parts are given to a male voice, it’s worth mentioning in case… it’s not your cup of tea), Gardiner is once again standing on top of a great success.

Sacred Vocal Music - Released July 21, 2017 | Genuin

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released May 5, 2017 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Cantatas (sacred) - Released April 21, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The three Bach cantatas presented on this album belong to the composer’s Weimar period (where he lived and worked from 1708 to 1717), written between 1711 and 1714. Bach was still a young composer then, but the full body of his artistry is already present, and one can but shake the head in disbelief: where did the fellow find the source of such intense emotion, such harmonic and melodic boldness? The beginning of "Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten" ("Yield now, troubling shadows") unfolds a succession of harmonies which seem to have no logical link with each other, some kind of non-tonality – this being the way the composer describes in music the aforementioned lugubrious shadows. Arias alternately heartbreaking and tender, instrumental inventiveness, you name it, Bach has it. Soprano Carolyn Sampson, accompanied by the Freiburger Barockorchester (together with baritone Andreas Wolf for the cantata "Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn"), lends her voice with dedication to the music, combining the teachings of historically informed performance with a solid sense of emotion, indispensable for such masterpieces. © SM/Qobuz
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Sacred Oratorios - Released April 7, 2017 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik

Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 5, 2017 | Nibiru

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 20, 2016 | Nibiru

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 1, 2008 | Coviello Classics

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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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 Oratorios - Released April 1, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc 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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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 25, 2016 | Accent

Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released July 4, 1993 | Les Indispensables de Diapason

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or

Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 21, 2014 | Nibiru

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 23, 2015 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 9, 2015 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica - Exceptional sound