Albums

Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released January 4, 2019 | Glossa

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Johannes Brahms’ consolatory Ein deutsches Requiem receives a fresh and considered interpretation from Daniel Reuss and the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. This renowned orchestra took the decision – following the death, some years back, of Frans Brüggen – to retain its founder’s dynamic process of alternating concert tours with recordings. And dispensing with the need for having a principal conductor, the orchestra now works with a range of musicians according to the repertoire being performed. Such a conductor is Daniel Reuss, who is also the artistic director of the Cappella Amsterdam, the choir which has frequently been appearing alongside the orchestra in recent times. A well-received reading of the Beethoven Missa Solemnis involving Reuss and the orchestra was issued by Glossa in 2017 and these musical forces have now turned their attention to Johannes Brahms’ pillar of religious music. Taped in the Rotterdam De Doelen concert hall this new recording involves Carolyn Sampson (soprano) and André Morsch (baritone) as its two soloists, in a version which attempts, as far as it is possible, to get close – in terms of tonal colours, interpretation and tempi – to Brahms’ original intentions. This extraordinary work, here maintaining a sweeping and moving spirit for some 70 minutes, contains texts from Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible and, it is thought, was inspired by the loss of both the composer’s mother and also that of Robert Schumann. © Glossa
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released October 26, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
For his first album as a soloist, the Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński chose to explore some of the rarest repertoires, to the point that several of the pieces presented here are world premieres. As a result, we are introduced to composers who are almost unknown today: Gaetano Schiassi (1698-1754), Domènec Terradellas (1711-1751) and Nicola Fago (1677-1745), alongside other composers who are famous today such as Hasse, Zelenka or Durante. Helped by the bass-baritone Yannis François, Orliński covers a large amount of time, from the end of the 17th century to the last third of the 18th century, though solely in the spiritual domain, with Masses, Dixit Dominus or sacred oratorios. That said, the vocal and instrumental writing borrows from baroque, with its vocalisations, its embellishments and its brightness. On top of this, the ensemble il pomo d'oro performs the work with great confidence. © SM/Qobuz
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Cantatas (sacred) - Released June 22, 2018 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Most of the works presented here by the Clematis Ensemble and countertenor Paulin Bündgen come from the rich Düben collection held by the Uppsala University. In the 17th century, Gustaf Düben was kapellmeister at the Swedish court; he had mostly gathered manuscript scores of compositions from numerous German, French, Italian and Baltic authors. It is one of the largest sources of Lutherian repertoire of the 17th century, particularly as it contains numerous in unicum scores. Among the composers featured in this piece, some were Schütz’ successors or disciples, but it’s worth mentioning that the German composers of that time – particularly Schein, Franz Tunder (who was Buxtehude’s master) and Johann Fischer – were considerably influenced by Italian baroque. You’ll notice the presence of two Bachs on this album: Johann Michael (1648-1694) and Johann Christoph (1642-1703), two second-degree cousins of Johann Sebastian. Johann Christoph Bach’s Lamento − whom his cousin described as a “deep composer” – is without a doubt one of the best-known compositions of the sacred German repertoire of the time. Like in the entire repertoire, the role of strings remains essential. This sacred piece relies on the text’s numerous descriptive effects, like a “painting in musical form”: the sharpest terms (crying, sighing, sinking…) are underlined by similar vocal and instrumental effects. This Lamento is without a doubt the perfect example of the aria à da capo form that Johann Sebastian Bach so frequently used in his sacred works. This vocal music programme is accompanied by a few instrumental pieces that can be assimilated to church music. © SM/Qobuz
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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 March 30, 2018 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet
Today, only three remain out of the nine Leçons de ténèbres that François Couperin has seemingly written. Composed for the “Religious Ladies” who belonged to the Order of the Poor Clares in the Abbey of Longchamp, near Paris, which was completely destroyed during the French Revolution, these Leçons represent the height of Baroque pietism from the end of Louis XIV’s reign, still completely permeated by the Jansenism from the previous century. As the abbey was open to the public, it became usual to give these Leçons de ténèbres not at night, but on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. This was a society event that the Parisians came to attend. Very popular in the second half of the 17th century, these lessons of darkness became a genre very sought-after by many composers, among whom Marc-Antoine Charpentier who composed at least thirty of them, but of those very few survived to the present day. If François Couperin covers this slightly archaic genre at the beginning of the 18th century, he managed to breathe into it a new form by blending the proper austerity and a very Italian expression of pain which give his pieces a troubling sensuality. The Troisième Leçon (Third Lesson), for two voices, is particularly ornamented with coloraturas filled with affectation. Thanks to the genius of François Couperin, this exacerbated expression of pain isn’t very far from the opera, whose representations were forbidden during Lent. You could therefore follow the delicious spectacle of the most feverish and subtle human passions under the pretext of religion. The ensemble Les Ombres, co-headed by Margaux Blanchard and Sylvie Sartre, offers us this new album the Leçons de ténèbres and extracts from Couperin’s masses and motets, in a chiaroscuro mood which skillfully blends the French rigor spirit and the sweet Italian theatrics. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 9, 2018 | Arcana

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason découverte
Why yes, even now, in the 21st century, there are still some works by Pergolesi which are yet to be recorded! It's hard to believe that these works have been neglected for three hundred years; it's almost as if his tremendously famous Stabat Mater had thrust the rest of this composer's ample output into the shade! But here they are: these two religious works date from the end of his tragically short life, from 1730 to his death six years later. Remarkably, his Mass in D Major from 1732 or 33 (the era of La Serva padrona) was written for two choirs and two orchestras, a deliberately stereophonic effect which is very well-executed in terms of the spatial distribution of the sound and the music. But that doesn't keep the composer from deploying all the dynamic options at his disposal, rather than taking the mass as an excuse to just blast away. As for the motet Dignas laudes resonemus, it is a great Neapolitan concert motet: a monumental form, which here also uses a double choir and two distinct orchestras. The score had been lost until some contemporary orchestral material resurfaced which made it possible to reconstruct the entire work. Here we discover a more lyrical side of Pergolesi, who, let us not forget, composed ten operas, and had he not died at 26, would have surely composed dozens more pieces of even greater quality. © SM/Qobuz
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 3, 2017 | MPS Classical

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 14, 2017 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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The Vespers for the Blessed Virgin by Monteverdi – Vespro della Beata Vergine – is, so to speak, a work made up of many works. The composer seems to have put everything he had into this piece, which appeared in Venice in 1610. It is as if he wanted to use it as an immense catalogue of all his skills: his facility with ancient and modern styles; with the strict and the flamboyant; with instrumentals, vocals, choruses, solos, parody masses, the magnificat, psalms... Perhaps he wanted to use the work as a CV in Venice, where he would indeed land a job as choirmaster in 1613? The fact that several passages are written for two choirs would seem to support this idea. Elaborate job application or not, in this work Monteverdi has produced one of his most durable masterpieces, which forms a bridge between the late Renaissance - with passages taken from prima practica, the style developed by Palestrina - and the nascent Baroque style, and its seconda practica which was so dear to Monteverdi, and which would free the use of dissonance from its old straitjacket. For this recording, Giuseppe Maletto has brought together the rich talents of La Compagnia del Madrigale and the Cantica Symphonia and La Pifarescha ensembles, because it takes a whole lot of talent to give the Vespers the treatment it deserves.
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released October 21, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released September 2, 2016 | Arcana

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica
This recording is a discovery of Alessandro Scarlatti’s heretofore unknown sacred music, where Renaissance tradition meets Baroque sensibility for a unique and compelling recording. At the core of Odhecaton’s latest offering is the Missa defunctorum for four voices and basso continuo. It is in this magnificent score – recorded for the first time using the critical edition of Luca Della Libera – that primarily contrapuntal writing gives way to Scarlatti’s stylistic choices of great expressivity and rhetorical force, such as in the case of the astonishing Lacrimosa. The Miserere is also recorded for the first time. Written for nine voices for the Sistine Chapel, the score follows Allegri’s model only outwardly; Scarlatti, in fact, moves steadily away from it through his harmonic originality, formal richness, and expressivity. The Magnificat displays a unique synthesis of the Palestrinian model and the expressive language of the eighteenth century. In this score, Scarlatti exploits the great wealth and variety of the Marian text, particularly in the relationship between words and the emotional and descriptive spheres.
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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
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Sacred Oratorios - Released May 6, 2016 | Arcana

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 29, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 3, 2015 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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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 August 25, 2014 | harmonia mundi

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 11, 2014 | Aeon

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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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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Cantatas (sacred) - Released November 18, 2013 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released August 26, 2013 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - Hi-Res Audio