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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 23, 2018 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
From the start of the 18th century, Lutheran Germany has kept the tradition of performing an oratorio for the Passion in Holy Week. In Hamburg, where Telemann is said to have spent 46 years as musical director, he would have overseen as many Passions. But if we include his previous jobs, that would take the number of works by Telemann for this theme alone to over sixty! These Passions could be strictly liturgical, that is, they could closely follow the text of one of the Gospels; but they could also liberally paraphrase the story of the Passion, following a version by a contemporary author; or they could represent a meditation on the events. And so Seliges Erwägen by Telemann, whose full title leaves no doubt as to the content: Oratorio of the Passion, or Spiritual Contemplation on the bitter suffering and death of Jesus Christ, to inspire prayer, in several meditations taken from the account of the Passion. Not a linear account of the Passion, as with Bach: but a series of individual meditations set to music. The work was first composed in 1719, and then reviewed and completed three years later for Hamburg, where the first performance took place on 19 March 1722 the success was considerable, and the work was performed again and again many times throughout the following decades. This was probably the most-performed work on the Passion in the 18th century, out ahead even of Telemann's Brockes Passion... There is no evangelist here, nor storyteller, but rather an evocation of the main events of the Passion. That is why there are only two main "roles" here: Christ, with six airs and six recitations, and the allegory of the Devotion (soprano or tenor) as the mouthpiece for the thoughts of the faithful, with eight airs and eight recitations. The sole narrator is Peter, with his denial and despair, and Caiaphas, the high priest who condemns Jesus, comes on for a single, very violent, air. This is very much a series of individual devotional meditations. The instrumentation in particular is extraordinarily rich. Alongside the strings, the continuo and the standard woodwind, a dash of colour is added by two horns, two chalumeaux, ancestors of the clarinet – what a pity that Bach never made the most of this sound – echoing recorders, a magnificent bassoon solo that intermingles with the soprano's voice; in short, once again, Teleman proves to us that far from being a mill for middle-of-the-road baroque, he is in fact one of the most imposing musical minds of his age. The Freiburger Barockorchester and a lovely soloists come together to perform this work.. © SM/Qobuz

Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 15, 2018 | naïve classique

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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It might be hard to believe that there could still exist a "discographic world first" when it came to the works of Gounod, and harder still to imagine that it could be such a substantial piece as this. And yet… Saint François d’Assise, a little oratorio in two parts first performed in 1891, has remained obscure up until now, to the point that its very existence has proved something of a surprise. And then all of a sudden, in 1996, the manuscript came back to light quite by accident: and here is its first recording, although several recordings had been made since its rediscovery. Gounod's last oratorio, of rather more modest proportions than Rédemption or Mors et Vita, with its great unity and flavoursome, carefully-tailored archaisms, conjures up both Franciscan austerity and that fullness of sound for which Gounod had such a knack. According to the composer himself: "I wanted the first of the two tableaux to be a musical translation of that beautiful tableau by Murillo showing Christ on the cross leaning over to St. Francis and putting his arm around his neck. The second tableau would be a translation of that fine work by Giotto, The Death of St Francis, surrounded by his brothers. " Let the listener be guided by his own lights. The album is rounded off with Hymne à Sainte Cécile, also by Gounod, and then Légende de Sainte Cécile by Liszt, written in 1874; and it should come of no surprise that the work is sung in French: it is, after all, the work's original language. © SM/Qobuz
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released December 8, 2017 | BENDEZ RECORDS

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released July 21, 2017 | Genuin

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Sacred Oratorios - Released April 7, 2017 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 24, 2017 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released December 2, 2016 | HORTUS

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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

Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released September 30, 2016 | BR-Klassik

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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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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released April 1, 2016 | Carus

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 4, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica

Sacred Oratorios - Released March 31, 2015 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 2, 2015 | Alpha

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released June 2, 2014 | Paraty Productions

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released May 20, 2014 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released February 10, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released August 26, 2013 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica - Qobuzissime - Hi-Res Audio
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released October 23, 2012 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
The revival of music from the last years of Robert Schumann's working life has extended even to works that have remained almost forgotten from his time to ours. Among those is the Missa Sacra, Op. 147, a piece that had its champions (Clara Schumann among them), but was only partially performed during Schumann's lifetime and later fell into complete disuse. It exists in several different versions (choir and orchestra, performed here, and choir and organ), and the Offertory included here was added to the work later. That Offertory, actually a Marian motet, is written for soprano, cello, and muted strings, and it's actually a lovely piece marked by Schumann's unconventional piety. The rest of the mass, though, belongs to the disastrous period of Schumann's tenure as music director in Düsseldorf, and it feels a bit like an academic exercise in the old Catholic mass tradition. Stacked up against Brahms' choral music it shows why choirs soon began to perform the latter. The mass is among the most blandly diatonic pieces Schumann ever wrote. The Four Songs for double choir, Op. 141, composed in 1849, are stronger. They might, in the parlance of the day, be called spiritual but not religious, and they are inventive in their adaptation of the straightforward verses of Goethe and other arch-Romantic poets to complex choral textures. The performances by Les Cris de Paris, consisting of both a choir and orchestra, are quite expressive, and while nothing here is going to rewrite the repertory, Schumann buffs will be intrigued.

Sacred Vocal Music - Released June 5, 2012 | SDG

Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Gramophone Award - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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