Archive for the Vocal chamber works Category

World-premiere recording of Pergolesi: Septem verba a Christo | Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, René Jacobs, cond.

Posted in Baroque, Vocal chamber works with tags , , , , on April 10, 2013 by orinococds
Pergolesi: Septem verba a Christo | Akademie für Alte Musik, Rene Jacobs cond. | 1 cd | $NZ 33  hmc902155

Pergolesi: Septem verba a Christo | Akademie für Alte Musik, Rene Jacobs cond. | 1 cd | $NZ 33 hmc902155

Now attributed to Pergolesi on the basis of the most recent research, the Seven Words of Christ has been regarded, ever since it was discovered by Hermann Scherchen, as ‘one of the most heartfelt works of art, full of profound tenderness and an all-conquering sense of beauty’.
This major work of the Neapolitan Baroque (1736) was given its concert premiere at the Beaune Festival in July 2012, a few days before it was recorded.

“the work is beautiful, and its deeply spiritual loveliness has been realised in a fine period performance. Certainly, it won’t be languishing in dusty libraries any more. It is, in its own way, just as sublime as the Stabat Mater, and René Jacobs and his musicians have given it a comprehensive rehabilitation.” Charlotte Gardner BBC, 11th March 2013

“this hybrid cycle of seven early-18th-century cantatas based on the Seven Last Words is deeply impressive…The mood ranges wide, from fiery, coloratura-laden anger to a touching lyricism.” Sunday Times, March 2013

“the music is both constantly surprising and often profoundly eloquent; Jacobs’s soloists, as well as the instrumentalists of the Berlin orchestra, project that sense of devotional wonder without a trace of self-conscious piety.” Guardian, March 2013

Sophie Karthäuser, soprano | Christophe Dumaux, countertenor | Julien Behr, tenor | Konstantin Wolff, bass | Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, René Jacobs

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Schubert: Willkommen und Abschied | Werner Güra, tenor

Posted in Vocal chamber works with tags , , , , on March 11, 2013 by orinococds


Schubert: Willkommen und Abschied | Werner Gura | harmonia mundi HMC902112 | $NZ 33 | 1 cd

Born in Munich, Werner Güra has a reputation especially as an interpreter of lieder. His recordings for harmonia mundi, including the great cycles of Schubert, Schumann and Wolf and vocal ensembles by Brahms and Schumann, have all been widely acclaimed.

“It comprises 19 songs, all stylishly and beautifully sung by the tenor Werner Güra. The six Goethe settings include such familiar contrasts as Heidenröslein and Ganymed, while Willkommen und Abschied itself, more of a rarity, is heroically sung. The strength of Güra’s tone without any loss of quality has always been his strong point.” Sunday Telegraph, 29th January 2012

“His fresh lyric tenor combines well with Berner’s bright yet warm-toned fortepiano — he twinkles at Goethe’s ironic description of a water nymph as “eine feuchtes Weib”, literally a “damp woman” — while Berner brings drama to the piano parts of Auf der Bruck, Willkommen und Abschied and the haunting, yearning Herbst.” Sunday Times, 12th February 2012

“Berner, playing an 1872 Rönisch fortepiano, shows keen attention to every detail. Güra, outstanding in his unfussy, intense delivery, is a formidable, rousing guide.” The Observer, 26th February 2012

“Gura’s strong, unaffected tenor voice is a pleasure to listen to, and Berner, who has an impressive keyboard freedom grounded in reliable technical skill, is a responsive accompanist: they perform as one, although too often their approach to a song somehow misses an essential quality of that particular piece of music.” International Record Review, March 2012 ****

“Gura and his fortepianist, Christoph Berner, have mapped out a trajectory of the Romantic view of human emotional life…At each stage, both musicians show perfect sympathy with Schubert’s own engagement, ideal empathy with each other, and a shrewd sensitivity to musical and expressive scale.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2012 *****

“Gura is never dull. ‘Der Wanderer’ is intensely ‘lived’, the opening bleak and desiccated…One of the most eloquent performances of all is the last song, ‘Nachtstuck’…Here, singer and pianist show an acute sensitivity to harmonic colour that characterises this whole rewarding recital.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2012

The Britten Collection: The Sixteen | Harry Christophers

Posted in Choral, Vocal chamber works with tags , , , on February 3, 2013 by orinococds

Britten: Sixteen | Christophers
CORO16107 | $NZ65 | 3 cds

This superb collection, released in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Britten’s birth, features all three of The Sixteen’s celebrated Britten recordings.

Arguably the most famous British composer of the 20th century, Benjamin Britten possessed a formidable talent and distinctive style. His remarkable career spanned over 40 years and this collection of choral works features a fascinating selection of music from throughout his life. Works include Hymn to the Virgin, a piece originally conceived during his school days; A Boy was Born which first brought him to the public’s attention; the much-loved A Ceremony of Carols – a masterpiece composed on board ship as Britten returned to England from the USA in 1942; and the Choral Dances from ‘Gloriana’ with tenor soloist Ian Partridge. A Ceremony of Carols won a coveted Deutsche Schallplattenkritik when first released.

A disc of exceptional quality, reinforcing The Sixteen’s reputation as one of the finest choirs of our day.” Gramophone

The Sixteen perform Britten’s virtuosic masterpiece with fearsome accuracy and a luxurious sound.” Classic FM Magazine

Britten’s mastery for writing for unaccompanied chorus is here demonstrated in fine performances…” BBC Music Magazine

Works include:-
A Hymn to the Virgin | Rejoice in the Lamb | Hymn to Saint Cecilia | A Boy was Born | A Ceremony of Carols | Choral Dances from ‘Gloriana’ | Five Flower Songs | Sacred and Profane

Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn | Holzmair

Posted in Vocal chamber works with tags , , , on October 10, 2012 by orinococds
Mahler Des knaben wunderhorn

Mahler: Des knaben wunderhorn | Onyx4100 | $33 NZ

Des Knaben Wunderhorn (12 songs, 1901 version) Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone) & Charles Spencer (piano

Aus! Aus! |Ablösung im Sommer | Ich ging mit Lust | Starke Einbildungskraft | Um schlimme Kinder artig zu machen | Nicht wiedersehen | Zu Strassburg auf der Schanz  | Scheiden und Meiden | Selbstgefühl (Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit) | Urlicht (orig. in Des Knaben Wunderhorn)

Holzmair, one of the foremost interpreters of Mahler’s songs,  is embarking on an international tour of this repertoire, which has been a central part of his career, to mark his 60th birthday. His interpretation of this music draws upon many years of experience and brings a deep insight to these wonderful songs.

The piano-writing is remarkable for its almost orchestral complexity and imitation of orchestral effects. Mahler would eventually score 12 of the ‘Wunderhorn’ songs for orchestra. The poems’ appeal to Mahler is easy to understand: nature, yearning, love, farewells, night, death, spectral goings-on, boisterous youth, high spirits and wry, crisp humour all combined with the agitated imagination and personality of the composer to produce some of the greatest songs by any composer. They also formed the fertile ground from which several of the symphonies grew.

John Button review in DominionPost, Wellington 9th October, 2012:
“Mahler composed his twenty Des Knaben Wunderhorn, settings of poems from the folk collection of Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano, over a ten year period, but mostly we only hear those he orchestrated, even the earliest have a delightful freshness … I find it difficult to imagine them better sung than here by one of Germany’s finest baritones Wolfgang Holzmair”

Pärt: Veni creator

Posted in Chamber music, Choral, Vocal chamber works with tags , , , , on October 9, 2012 by orinococds

Pärt – Veni Creator | Hillier | Theatre of Voices | Ars Nova Copenhagen | HMU807553 | 75 min | $33 NZ

Paul Hillier curates this collection of Arvo Pärt’s instrumental and choral chamber music drawn from different periods in the composer’s career. He brings together his celebrated vocal ensembles, along with chamber group NYYD, and long-time collaborator organist Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, to produce another powerful recording of ethereal sacred music.

The Deer’s Cry | Psalom | Most Holy Mother of God | Solfeggio | My Heart’s in the Highlands | Peace upon you | JerusalemPilgrims’ Song | Morning Star | Stabat Mater

Chris Watson tenor, Else Torp soprano, Paul Hillier baritone & Christopher Bowers-Broadbent organTheatre of Voices, Ars Nova Copenhagen & NYYD Quartet, Paul Hillier artistic director

“Theatre of Voices have lived and breathed Part’s music for over two decades but it is perhaps the warmth and beauty of the voices of Ars Nova Copenhagen that is most immediately striking here” Gramophone Magazine, June 2012“Hillier and his colleagues are fully at ease with the slowness of undertow and sense of near-repose that the unfolding self-similarity creates in so many of the pieces here. And they rightly often glory in the glowing resonances they’re presented with. The patient, softly-contoured gentleness they bring to the start of The Deer’s Cry is mesmerising and makes the stresses of its later insistence – climax seems too strong a word – all the more effective.” Irish Times, 20th April 2012 “it’s the “Stabat Mater” which impresses most, a sublime concord of voices and strings in Pärt’s characteristic tintinnabulate flotation.” The Independent, 30th March 2012

“It is no surprise that the virtuosic singers in Theatre of Voices and Ars Nova Copenhagen are often to be found in early music ensembles…The NYYD Quartet and organist Christopher Bowers-Broadbent add sonic variety to this pure, minimalist enterprise.” The Observer

Sarah Connolly – The Exquisite Hour

Posted in Vocal chamber works with tags , , on October 1, 2012 by orinococds

Sarah Connolly The Exquisite Hour Signum label NZ$33

Following Irish mezzo Sarah Connolly’s series of title roles at English National Opera, Glyndebourne and New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 2005, this live recital was recorded at St. John’s, Smith Square, London, having been premiered at Carnegie Hall earlier in the year.

Accompanied by Eugene Asti, Sarah Connolly sings songs by Haydn, Brahms, Hahn, Korngold and Weill. Her distinctive, intelligent, warm, bright-sounding mezzo-soprano will be enjoyed by her growing ‘army’ of fans in this rich, romantic repertoire.

Among her many overseas engagements lies a jewel in the crown – the title role in Dido at La Scala.

“hugely impressive disc, testifying to the versatility and range of a singer who has already drawn comparisons with Janet Baker”  The Guardian


1. Arianna a Naxos Haydn [19.09]
2. Ständchen Brahms [1.40]
3. Da unten im Tale Brahms [1.48]
4. Nachtwandler Brahms [3.29]
5. Feldeinsamkeit Brahms [3.03]
6. Alte Liebe Brahms [3.00]
7. Die Mainacht Brahms [3.31]
8. Von ewiger Liebe Brahms [4.43]
9. À Chloris Hahn [2.59]
10. L’Énamourée Hahn [3.22]
11. Trois jours de vendange Hahn [3.12]
12. L’Heure exquise Hahn [2.30]
13. Quand je fus pris au pavillon Hahn [1.21]
14. Glückwunsch Korngold [2.34]
15. Alt-Spanisch Korngold [1.24]
16. Sterbelied Korngold [3.46]
17. Gefasster abschied  Korngold [3.22]
18. Lost in the stars Weill [2.50]
19. Speak low Weill [2.29]
20. Her song  Ireland [2.57]
21. Tit for Tat Britten [2.05]

Requiem for a Pink Moon – a tribute to Nick Drake

Posted in Early music, Instrumental, Vocal chamber works with tags , , on August 1, 2012 by orinococds
Album cover image

Requiem for a Pink Moon | Ensemble Phoenix Munich | Frederiksen HMC902111 75 min $33NZ

An Elizabethan Tribute to Nick Drake | Ensemble Phoenix Munich, Joel Frederiksen

This lovely, mesmerising disk. Musical fusion of Elizabethan era and early- 70’s folk rock (yes, that’s what I meant) , achieves the ideal accommodation of two very different genres. A feast for the senses.

Joel Frederiksen and his musicians have gone back in time all the way to . . . 1974. That was the year of the death, aged 26, of the British singer-songwriter Nick Drake, who was to achieve fame only posthumously. In 1972 he released his finest album, ‘Pink Moon’, which became legendary at the end of the ’70s and is here revisited in the style of a promenade through the Elizabethan era.

“I was deeply affected by Nick Drake’s music from the moment I first heard it, in 1982, just eight years after his death. The union of the plaintive voice, the intricate guitar accompaniments, and the moving lyrics in songs like Time has told me spoke to me. From the recordings I learned to play some songs, performing them from time to time with my guitar… The idea for ‘Requiem for a Pink Moon’ had to wait a good long time. Once in a while, when I did find a guitar in my hands, I played ‘Time has told me’, and noticed how people responded to Nick’s music. Then, very surprisingly, in 2000 I heard the song ‘Pink Moon’ in a movie theater as part of a Volkswagen ad, and was struck again by Nick’s particular art. It is an art filled with melancholy, a feeling and a concept uniting him with the singersongwriters of the Elizabethan age. I kept running into people of all ages who knew about Nick and eventually had the idea of a Requiem. The idea of juxtaposing old and new appealed to me. I decided that I would perform portions of the Gregorian Requiem Mass (the Mass for the dead) alongside Nick’s songs arranged for early instruments… Rest in peace, Nick, and thank you for the beautiful music.” [Joel Frederiksen]

“the sequence shifting from Drake’s “Rider on the Wheel” through Dowland’s “Time Stands Still” to Drake’s “Time Has Told Me” works both thematically and musically, despite the difference of Frederiksen and Timothy Leigh Evans’s courtly vocal manner from Drake’s original air of resignation.” The Independent on Sunday, 26th May 2012 ***

“Frederiksen’s Tudor take intersperses Drake with Dowland and others. Probably too stiff for Drake fans, but it’s all nicely done.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2012 ***

“Several of these songs take on a warmth, clarity and openness which is missing from Drake’s originals…And what could have been a maudlin wallow emerges as transcendent, affectionate and uplifting. Frederiksen sneaks in his own song, Ocean, after Time has told me. A sweet tribute, and you find yourself wondering how it would sound in Drake’s own voice.” The Arts Desk, 2nd June 2012