In a rather brilliant stroke of programming prowess, Ivars Taurins,
who serves as chorus-master for Toronto’s
Tafelmusik baroque ensemble, takes the helm here for an
absolutely delightful selection of works for chorus and orchestra.
There is little as gratifying as a well crafted concert, and this
disc provides us with a fine sampling of the familiar, the sort
of familiar and the unusual, all performed with a great deal of
cantata Gloria in excelsis Deo, BWV 191 serves as the
“sort of” familiar work. Listeners will immediately recognize
the tunes as those from the Gloria of the Mass in b minor. This
cantata, however, predates the mass, and was most likely used
for a solemn service commemorating the Peace of Dresden that
ended the second Silesian War. It was first heard on Christmas
Day 1745, and the importance of the occasion is reflected in
Bach’s choice of a Latin text, a rare occurrence in the Lutheran
phrasing from the choir and soloists and a spot-on choice of
tempi makes this performance rewarding indeed. Taurins leads
a spirited and engaging reading that is never breathless.
indeed is an American performance of one of the many Grand
motets that were staples of sacred music in France during the Baroque. What a treat it is to hear this setting of Psalm
93, a substantial work that was intended for concert and not
liturgical use. The work of the three soloists is particularly
satisfying, highlighted by some ravishingly beautiful trio ensemble
singing. Conductors in the U.S. should take note of this splendid music
and get it before American audiences more often.
he was an ordained priest, Antonio Vivaldi’s sacred music was
very late in coming to light. Some sixty works survive and they
were not discovered until the 1920s when a significant collection
of works for the church was discovered and cataloged in Turin.
This Gloria was most likely written for the girls in
the Ospedale della pieta, an orphanage-cum-conservatory
where Vivaldi worked and taught for many years, thus explaining
its sparse orchestration. It is undoubtedly one of the composer’s
most popular and oft-performed choral works, and it receives
a refreshingly light-spirited performance here. Experienced
choral listeners will enjoy the finely shaped phrases and the
absence of 1950s vintage lugubriousness of tempi that plague
many older recordings of this music.
thought out repertoire choices, elegant performances and taut
ensemble are the hallmarks of this delightful hour and then
some, a collection sure to please amateur and professional listeners