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UPE Classics

Laetare caelum
Benedicite Dominum
Angelus Domini
Agnus Dei
Benedicite omnes angeli
Angelum pacis

De angelis
Schola Cantorum Riga
Raimonds Tiguls, keyboards
Rec: No information given.
UPE CLASSICS 4750404002822 [38.54]


This recording by young Latvian musician Raimonds Tiguls, who, apparently, is well-know in his country, follows on from another well-known Scandinavian, Jan Garbarek, who had immense popular success with two recordings of early music sung by the Hilliard Ensemble with his saxophone improvisations played over the music. Where Garbarek created soundscapes that could stand on their own, this recording, which features Gregorian chants with synthesisers, does not accomplish the same thing.

The sound of this disc is close to stereotypical new-age music, with the choir taking a secondary role to the keyboards. In addition, the choir is not singing in the Gregorian style, but a mixture of old-fashioned harmonies and modern singing. While Tiguls tries to "say" something with this music, it sounds, to these ears, like just another of those experiments that went awry. The problem is that, instead of letting the Gregorian chants be central and using the synthesisers to highlight the music, Tiguls takes the opposite tack and adds the chants to his keyboard sounds.

It should be noted that I am a big fan of ambient music, and composers such as Brian Eno, Wim Mertens and others who present new, unique sounds, but this recording has all the charm of elevator music or background music for spiritual supermarkets. In addition, at just over 38 minutes, it is a pretty limited experience. If you want ambient music, go for some Brian Eno. If you want Gregorian chant, there are plenty of choices. If you want an experiment, the two recordings by Jan Garbarek are excellent and certainly worth hearing.

Kirk McElhearn

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