Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
Crotchet AmazonUK

 

A History of the Requiem, Part III
Anton BRUCKNER (1824–1896)
Requiem
(1848) [30.52] (1)
Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902–1986)
Requiem (1947) [42.07] (2)
Benoit Mernier (organ) (2); Elke Janssens (soprano) (1); Penelope Turner (alto) (1); Roel Willems (tenor) (1); Armout Malfliet (bass) (1); Laudantes Consort/Guy Janssens
rec. (1) 11 November 2006, Provinciaal Museum Begijnhof Sint Triuden, Belgium; (2) 15 June, 16 September, 7 October 2007, Eglise Saint-Etieen, Braine-Alleud, Belgium. DDD
CYPRES CYP1654 [72.59]

Experience Classicsonline


This is the third in the Laudantes Consort’s four disc survey of requiems, one from each century. Previous discs in the series have mixed the common and the uncommon - Ockeghem and Lassus, Campra and Michael Haydn - and shown the choir to have chameleon-like abilities to get under the skin of the different styles. On this disc their nineteenth century choice is Bruckner’s early Requiem and their twentieth century choice is the Requiem by Duruflé.

Bruckner’s Requiem was written in 1848 when he was 24, though he revised it in 1854 and again in 1894. It is for choir, soloists and orchestra (strings and trombones). Stylistically it is determinedly old-fashioned, and unfortunately it rarely rises above its models. Frankly, if it wasn’t by Bruckner no-one would be very interested in it. Bruckner sets the Introit, Kyrie, Dies Irae, Offertory, Sanctus, Benedictus and Communion. It is the Benedictus which seems to offer the most promising material. There Bruckner seems to be able to transcend his models. Though the writing is competent and coherent, there are few glimpses of the mature Bruckner of the masses and symphonies.

Guy Janssens and his forces give the work a decent shot. This is, after all, a rare outing in the catalogue although Matthew Best and has Corydon Singers recorded it in 1988. The choir are accompanied by an orchestra playing on period instruments and overall they make a good clean, focused sound. I was less taken with the soloists. Neither Elke Janssens nor Penelope Turner is quite a match for Best’s casting of Joan Rodgers and Catherine Denley. Plus Roel Williams sounds frankly rather stressed by the tessitura of the part.

Janssens and his forces have paired Bruckner’s early work with Duruflé’s mature Requiem, written in 1947 when the composer was in his mid-forties. He was inspired by some organ paraphrases of the plainsong for the Mass of the Dead, and the work is suffused with plainsong. Duruflé created three versions of the piece, the first for chorus, orchestra and organ, the second for chorus and organ and the third for chorus, small orchestra and organ.

Colour is an important factor in the work. In the original version the organ plays only an episodic part, adding to the delicate and sophisticated instrumental colourations. This variegated feeling is, by and large, lost in the organ-only version which must be regarded as something of a second choice, created primarily for liturgical purposes.

For some inexplicable reason, it is this organ version which Janssens has chosen to record, despite the presence of a small orchestra for the Bruckner. It would have been possible to record the Duruflé in the composer’s third version with very similar forces to those used for the Bruckner, except that Janssens has opted for period instruments for the Bruckner.

If I was going to pick a recording of the organ version of the Duruflé, then high on my list would be that made in Durufle’s own church, St. Etienne du Mont, by Ian de Massini and the Cambridge Voices.

Colour and mystery are an essential part in a successful performance of the work. It is necessary for the organist to find a whole variety of colours in their instrument and for both singers and organist to generate a feeling of mystery. Unfortunately, the most prominent feature of this new recording would seem to be clarity and directness. Usually these would be virtues that I would laud, but in the Duruflé they are out of place.

Quite simply, Janssens and his singers just fail to generate the atmosphere of plainchant sung in the gloom amidst a swirl of incense. Theirs is a far clearer-sighted, less romantic performance and it may appeal to some people.

The disc was recorded in the church of St. Etienne, Braine-l’Alleud in Belgium. The organ there is one dating from 1915 by Van Bever. Though the Van Bever brothers worked in the grand romantic organ tradition, the organ part as played on this disc simply fails to sound adequately French to my ears. You cannot beat hearing the music played on a distinctively French instrument, preferably a Cavaillé-Coll.

Though it is not an ideal recording by any means, I have always had an admiration for the Naxos recording by the Ensemble Vocal Michel Piquemal and the Orchestre de la Cité under Michel Piquemal. This has the advantage that the choir sound as if they have been singing the work for ever; their feeling for the work’s atmosphere is very apposite.

There are more recommendable versions of both the works featured on this disc. If this combination does appeal to you, then the performances are creditable even if not ideal, but you will want other recordings of the works in your library as well.

Robert Hugill


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.