> Musica Sacra Brillinat [KM]: Classical CD Reviews- Jun2002 MusicWeb(UK)






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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH

MUSICA SACRA - 1000 YEARS OF SACRED MUSIC
CD1
Gregorian Chant
1. Emendemus in melius 3'01
2. Attende Domine 3'30
3. Tibi Domine derelictus est pauper 5'10
4. Iesu, quadragenariae dicator abstinentiae 2'24
5. Audi, benigne Conditor 2'21
6. Vexilla Regis prodeunt 4'01
7. Chants 5'55
8. Christus factus est 3'25
9. Nos autem gloriari oportet 3'03
10. Three Antiphons 3'26
11. Ubi caritas 2'37
12. De lamentatione Ieremiae Prophetae 3'08
13. Tenebrae factae sunt 3'25
14. Ecce lignum crucis 2'19
15. Exsultet iam angelica turba caelorum 10'01
16. Victimae paschali laudes 1'30
17. Salve, feste dies 2'44
Total time: 63'05
Pro Cantione Antiqua, James O'Donnell

CD2
Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)
From The Hildegard Liederband
1. Cum processit factura (De sancta Maria. Antiphona No. 8) 2'50
2. Cum erubuerint infelices (De sancta Maria. Antiphona No. 9) 1'52
3. O frondens virgo (De sancta Maria. Antiphona No. 10) 1'40
4. Ave, generosa, gloriosa (De sancta Maria. Hymnus No. 12) 4'54
5. O virga ac diadema purpurae regis (De sancta Maria. Sequentia No. 13) 7'04
6. Caritas abundat (De Spiritu Sancto. Antiphona No. 16) 1'42
7. O pastor animarum (Ad Christum. Antiphona No. 61) 1'20
8. O quam preciosa est (De sancta Maria. Responsorium No. 63) 3'56
9. Kyrie (No. 69) 2'01
From Ordo Virtutum
10. Patriarchae et Prophetae 2'06
11. Castitas 1'38
12. Virtutes 0'57
Gregorian Chant
13. Antiphona ad Magnificat-Magnificat-Antiphona ad Benedictus-Hildegardis prophetissa 4'17
14. In I Vesperis-Hymnus ex Officio in hon. S. Hildegardis 2'53
Total time: 40'36
Schola der Benediktinerinnenabtei
St. Hildegard Rüdesheim-Eibingen
Leitung: M. Immaculata Ritscher OSB
 
 
CD3
Lamentations
1. GIOVANNI PIERLUIGI PALESTRINA: Stabat Mater 11'16
2. TOMAS LUIS DE VICTORIA: O vos omnes 2'32
3. CARLO GESUALDO: O vos omnes 2'56
4. THOMAS TALLIS: Lamentations of Jeremiah 7'29
5. WILLIAM BYRD: Civitas sancti tui 4'21
6. GEORGE KIRBYE: Vox in Rama 4'32
7. ROBERT RAMSEY: How are the mighty fallen 7'41
8. THOMAS WEELKES: When David heard /td> 4'27
9. JOSQUIN DES PREZ: Absalon fili mi 3'51
10. THOMAS TOMKINS: When David heard 4'40
11. JOSQUIN DES PREZ: La Déploration de Johannes Ockeghem 4'47
12. GREGORIO ALLEGRI: Miserere 12'38
Total time: 71'16
The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge
Timothy Brown, conductor

CD4
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Missa l'homme armé
Missa assumpta est maria
Total time: 74'15
Pro Cantione Antiqua
Counter tenors: Charles Brett, Timothy Penrose, Ashley Stafford
Tenors: Wynford Evans, James Griffett, Ian Partridge
Basses: Michael George, Gordon Jones,
Christopher Keyte, Stephen Roberts
Mark Brown, conductor
 
CD5
C. Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Vespro Della Beata Vergine (I)

Total time: 78'19
Monika Mauch, Judith Decker: soprano
Holger Speck, Tobias Hiller: tenor; Adolph Seidel: bass
Motettenchor Pforzheim; L'arpa festante MÜnchen
(Period instruments)
Prof. Rolf Schweizer, conductor


 

 

What can they be thinking at Brilliant Classics? Releasing a 25-CD set of sacred music, including some of the greatest works ever written, at such a low price! At first glance, you might be hesitant to buy such a set - such a mixture of periods, composers and performers, and, at that price, the first reaction is that it is probably not worth it.

Well, it is worth it, and how! While this set might not appeal to those who already have a good collection of sacred music, it is perfect for listeners who want to discover some of the many gems in this genre. Beginning with the oldest known form - Gregorian chant - and ending with works by 20th century composers, such as Arvo Pärt, this set has a great deal of appeal.

It would take too much time to examine every disc in this set, but here are some of those that stand out.

Pergolesiís Stabat Mater is a very moving work from the 28th century. This sacred work, which incorporates many aspects of operatic music, was commissioned by a group of Neapolitan noblemen. It is thought that it was meant to replace Alessandro Scarlatti's Stabat Mater, a similar work, composed in an older style. Pergolesi, in this work, combined the strict Neapolitan church style with the more melodic aspects of then modern opera, resulting in a work of unique emotional effect.

Soprano Angharad Gruffydd Jones has an intriguing voice. With an airy sound, almost like a boy soprano, it seems lightweight at first, but grows on this listener. It becomes a tantalizing voice, one that almost defies description, and carries this entire work. Counter-tenor Lawrence Zazzo is also very good, and their two voices marry perfectly during the duos.

The recording of Bachís St. Matthew Passion is not one of the best, but is certainly an acceptable recording. Evangelist Rogers Covey-Crump is not totally convincing - it is difficult to measure up to the benchmark of the magnificent Peter Schreier, who is undoubtedly the perfect voice for the part (or, at least, whose voice has become more or less identified with it). His diction sounds a bit unsteady, and his voice seems just a bit too laid back for this central part.

Alto Michael Chance has a fine voice, but uses a bit too much vibrato at times, which tends to distract from the melody calling attention to itself. Yet his vibrato is unequal - at times, it is intrusive, and other times (even within the same aria) it is subtle.

Curiously, Emma Kirkby, who does not often overuse vibrato, does so here. Her voice is wonderful, as usual, but one may question this vibrato which tends to stand out. However, in the heart-rending aria Erbame dich for soprano and violin obbligato, she is more restrained, and is truly magnificent. Yet, it is hard to compare her version to the near-perfect performance by René Jacobs on the Gustav Leonhardt recording of 1989, or Robin Blaze's crystalline performance on the Maasaki Suzuki recording. (Or even alto Michael Chance, present on this recording, who was acclaimed for his performance of this aria in the recent recording by John Eliot Gardiner.)

The Bach B Minor Mass features alto James Bowman, and is another worthy recording. The Mozart requiem is a good performance, which Brilliant Classics has included in its complete Mozart set. The Fauré requiem is quite good, with the Holland Boys Choir giving a fine performance, and soloists Maja Roodveldt and Bas Ramselaar are very good, though Ramselaar sounds more like he is singing in Italian than French.

When you look at all the music you get - in good to excellent recordings - from Bach to Brahms, from Mozart to Verdi, you will not be disappointed by this set. If you are a true fan of this music, you will certainly find some works that are not among the best, but this kind of set is more to become familiar with these great works than to present the best recordings with the top performers. Kudos again to Brilliant Classics for bringing quality recordings to listeners at such low prices.
Kirk McElhearn

 

 

 CD6
H. Purcell (1659-1695)
Monteverdi (II)
Henry Purcell
Sacred music
Te Deum 11'36
Jubilate Deo 7'12
Me Beloved spake 9'35
O God, Thou art my God 3'27
Lord, how long wilt Thou be angry 3'16
Remember not, Lord, our offences 2'53
Hear my prayer, O Lord 2'06
Funeral Sentences For Queen Mary
Total time: 65'37
The Choir of Clare College Cambridge, Timothy Brown
Andrew Manze, Marshall Marcus: violins
Jan Schlapp: viola; Jenny Ward-Clarke: bass violin
Liz Kenny, William Carter: theorbo
Jonathan Brown: organ
Baroque Brass of London
 
CD7
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736)
Stabat Mater
Salve Regina in C minor
Total time: 48'24
Angharad Gruffydd Jones, soprano
Lawrence Zazzo, counter tenor
Julia Bishop, Joanna Parker, violin
Peter Whiskin, viola
Joanna Levine, cello
Mark Levy, violone
Timothy Brown, organ/director

CD8
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Messiah (I)
Total time: 70'53
Jennifer Smith, soprano
Helen Kucharek, soprano
Linda Finnie, mezzo soprano
Neil Mackie, tenor
Rodney Macann, bass
The Choir & Orchestra of Pro Christe
Timothy Dean, conductor.
 
CD9
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Messiah (II)
Total time: 72'18
Jennifer Smith, soprano
Helen Kucharek, soprano
Linda Finnie, mezzo soprano
Neil Mackie, tenor
Rodney Macann, bass
The Choir & Orchestra of Pro Christe
Timothy Dean, conductor.

CD10
Antonio Vivaldi: Gloria in D major RV589
Antonio Caldara: Stabat Mater
Johann Sebastian Bach: Magnificat, in D major BWV 243
Total time: 72'22
Lynda Russell, soprano I
Gillian Fisher, soprano II
Alison Browner, Caroline Trevor: alto
Ian Partridge, tenor
Michael George, bass
The Sixteen Choir & Orchestra,
Harry Christophers


CD11
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Matthäus Passion (I)
Total time: 67.14
Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor (Evangelist); Michael George, bass (Jesus)
Emma Kirkby, soprano; Michael Chance, alto; Martyn Hill, tenor; David Thomas, bass
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge
The Choir of Jesus College,
Cambridge (Soprano in ripieno)
The Brandenburg Consort,
(Leader: Roy Goodman)
Stephen Cleobury, conductor

CD12
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Matthäus Passion (II)
Total time: 40.52
Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor (Evangelist); Michael George, bass (Jesus)
Emma Kirkby, soprano; Michael Chance, alto; Martyn Hill, tenor; David Thomas, bass
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge
The Choir of Jesus College,
Cambridge (Soprano in ripieno)
The Brandenburg Consort,
(Leader: Roy Goodman)
Stephen Cleobury, conductor

CD13
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Matthäus Passion (III)
Total time: 52.56
Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor (Evangelist); Michael George, bass (Jesus)
Emma Kirkby, soprano; Michael Chance, alto; Martyn Hill, tenor; David Thomas, bass
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge
The Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge (Soprano in ripieno)
The Brandenburg Consort, (Leader: Roy Goodman)
Stephen Cleobury, conductor

CD14
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Mass in B minor BWV 232 (I)
Total time: 51'25
Catherine Dubosc, soprano I; Catherine Denley, soprano II
James Bowman, alto; John Mark Ainsley, tenor
Michael George, bass
The Sixteen Choir & Orchestra,
Harry Christophers


CD15
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Mass in B minor BWV 232 (II)
Total time: 54'59
Catherine Dubosc, soprano I; Catherine Denley, soprano II
James Bowman, alto; John Mark Ainsley, tenor
Michael George, bass
The Sixteen Choir & Orchestra, Harry Christophers
Licensed from Collins Classics, a division of Pinnacle Entertainment UK.

CD16
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Requiem in D minor KV 626
Total time: 48'16
Pamela Heuvelmans, soprano; Barbara Werner, alto
Robert Morvaj, tenor; Thomas Pfeiffer, bass
Nordic Chamber Choir
Süddeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim
Nicol Matt, conductor

 CD17
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Mass in C minor KV 427
Total time: 52'55
 
Ruth Ziesak, soprano
Alison Browner, alto
Uwe Heilmann, tenor
Reinhard Hagen, bass
Süddeutscher Madrigalchor Stuttgart
Orchester der Ludwigsburger Festspiele, Wolfgang Gännenwein

CD18
Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Mass in C major Op. 86
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Laudate Dominum in A major K321
Exsultate, jubilate in F major K165
Total time: 61'06
1-5 performed by:
Magdalena Hajossyova, soprano
Jitka Zerhauova, alto
Peter Oswald, tenor
Peter Mikulas, bass
Slovak Philharmonic Choir &
Orchestra, Anton Nanut
6-7 performed by:
Gabriele Fuchs, soprano
Angelika Novak, mezzosoprano
Franz Sailer, tenor
Hartmut Müller, bass
Camerata Academica Salzburg, Ernst Hinreiner

CD19

Antonin DvořŠk (1841-1904)
Requiem Op. 98 part 1
Total time: 48'00
Magdalena Hajossyova, soprano
Vera Soukupova, alto
Jozef Kundlak, tenor
Peter Mikulas, bass
Slovak Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra, Zdenek Kosler

CD20

Antonin DvořŠk (1841-1904)

Requiem Op. 98 part 2

Total time: 54'32
Magdalena Hajossyova, soprano
Vera Soukupova, alto
Jozef Kundlak, tenor
Peter Mikulas, bass
Slovak Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra, Zdenek Kosler

CD21
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Ein Deutsches Requiem Op. 45
Total time: 70'23
Anna Tomowa-Sintow, soprano
Günther Leib, baritone
Rundfunk-Solistenvereinigung
und Rundfunkchor Berlin
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin,
Helmut Koch

CD22
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Messa da Requiem
Total time: 78'50
Daniela Nedialkova, soprano
Ivanka Ninova, mezzo soprano
Roumen Doikov, tenor
Emil Ponorski, bass
Choir & Orchestra of the Sofia Opera, Ivan Marinov

CD23
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Requiem Op. 48
Gabriel Fauré
Cantique de Jean Racine
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
Ave Verum
Anton Bruckner
Motet Locus iste
Edward Elgar
Ave Verum
William Byrd
Ave Verum
Edvard Grieg
Ave Maris Stella
Antonio Lotti
Crucifixus
Cesar Franck
Panis Angelicus
 
Total time: 68'40
Maja Roodveldt, soprano
Bas Ramselaar, bass
Holland Boys Choir
Hungarian Chamber Orchestra
Pieter-Jan Leusink, conductor
The Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge
Christopher Robinson, Director of Music

CD24
Maurice Duruflé
Requiem Op. 9
Choir of New College Oxford Ensemble Capricorn
David Burchell, organ
Edward Higginbottom, Director of Music
Arvo Pärt
Magnificat Antiphonen
Missa Sillabica
Total time: 63'07
Cappella Breda, Daan Manneke
Ensemble Calefax (Missa Sillabica)
 
CD25
Leonard Bernstein:
Chichester Psalms
John Rutter
Gloria
Francis Poulenc
Quatre petites prières de St François d'Assise
 
Total time: 60'04
The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge (1-6)
The Wallace Collection
Rachel Masters, harp
Timothy Brown, conductor
Corydon Singers,
Matthew Best (7-13)
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 99757 (approx. 25 hours)

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