“Himmelrand” – Hymns from the new Hymnal of the Church of Norway- The Uranienborg Vocal Ens. – 2L

Himmelrand” – The Uranienborg Vocal Ens. /Elisabeth Holte/ Inger-Lise Ulsrud, organ – 2L 126-SABD – Pure Audio Blu-ray + multichannel SACD, DTS-HD MA 192kHz/24 bit 5.1, DTS-HD MA 96kHz/24 bit, PCM 192kHz/24 bit stereo, Dolby Atmos, 9.1 Auro 3D, mShuttle: stereo MQA 96kHz + MP3 (9/30/16) TT: 61:00 [Dist. by Naxos] ****:

Lovely music with a stunning surround recording.

Himmelrand is a recent release from 2L and it’s yet another sonic treat from the Norwegian label. In 2013, The Church of Norway adopted their new Hymnal. The goal of this new hymnal was to hold firmly to the traditions of earlier hymn books, and two, bring a modern spin to them with new harmonic ideas. This Nordic hymns are an important part of Scandinavian heritage.

The disc offers contains a lovely collection of hymns performed by the Uranienborg Vocal Ensemble conducted by Elisabeth Holte. The group formed in 2002. Besides frequent performances in Norway, the group also tours Europe and the United States.

Since this is a 2L disc, it’s reasonable to expect a stunning recording, and that is exactly what we get. The disc offers various formats. A Blu-ray audio disc, with a choice of DTS 5.1 audio, a two-channel PCM version, as well as Dolby Atmos which calls for overhead speakers and 9.1 Auro 3D, a format more popular in Europe.

The set also contains an SACD disc with multichannel, and downloadable music in various formats, including MP3 and MQA, a new format making the rounds which requires a specialized decoder for the best sound.

I listened in DTS-HD MA in 5.1 and also the Dolby Atmos tracks, which defaulted to 7.1 since I don’t have an Atmos decoder or overhead speakers.

The sound is involving and ethereal. The surrounds carry the beautiful ambiance of the Uranienborg Church in Norway. There is a lot of the expected reverb from the locale, but the voices are nicely anchored in the front speakers. It’s a realistic sound, and the performance of the choir and organist are faultless. Some of the music, like the hymn Jerusalem, will be familiar to most listeners, but it is sung in Norwegian.

2L does not disappoint with this wonderful sonic and musical presentation There is traditional and contemporary music, and this is a showcase disc you will listen to over and over.  It also serves as a great demonstration disc for a high quality audio system.

TrackList:

1  Jerusalem, Jerusalem – orgelimprovisasjon (Holistic mix)
by Inger-Lise Ulsrud 1:08

2 Jerusalem, Jerusalem (Holistic mix) by Uranienborg Vokalensemble, Inger-Lise Ulsrud & Elisabeth Holte 2:44

3 Med Jesus vil eg fara (arr. Henning Sommerro) [Holistic mix] by Uranienborg Vokalensemble & Elisabeth Holte 4:04

4 Kom regn. Kom fred. Kom trøst: 1. Kom regn (Holistic mix) by Uranienborg Vokalensemble & Elisabeth Holte 2:21

5 Kom regn. Kom fred. Kom trøst: 2. Kom fred (Holistic mix)by Uranienborg Vokalensemble & Elisabeth Holte 3:58

6 Kom regn. Kom fred. Kom trøst: 3. Kom trøst (Holistic mix) by Uranienborg Vokalensemble & Elisabeth Holte 2:45

7 Kvar er du, Gud? Kvar finn vi deg? (Holistic mix) by Uranienborg Vokalensemble, Inger-Lise Ulsrud & Elisabeth Holte 5:05

8 Gud, la vårt hovmod briste – orgelimprovisasjon (Holistic mix) by Inger-Lise Ulsrud 1:21

9 Gud, la vårt hovmod briste (arr. Max Reger) [Holistic mix] by Uranienborg Vokalensemble & Elisabeth Holte 2:03

10 Ja, vi elsker dette landet (arr. Rasmus Thaarup) [Holistic mix] by Uranienborg Vokalensemble & Elisabeth Holte 3:47

11 O Jesus, du som fyller alt i alle (Holistic mix) by Uranienborg Vokalensemble & Elisabeth Holte 5:05

12 Se, solens skjønne lys og prakt (arr. Trond Hans Farner Kverno) [Holistic mix] by Uranienborg Vokalensemble, Inger-Lise Ulsrud & Elisabeth Holte 4:19

13 Der sola renn i himmelrand (Holistic mix) by Uranienborg Vokalensemble & Elisabeth Holte 7:09

14 Solrenning sæle – orgelimprovisasjon (Holistic mix) by Inger-Lise Ulsrud 3:31

15 Solrenning sæle (arr. Ola Gjeilo) [Holistic mix] by Uranienborg Vokalensemble & Elisabeth Holte 4:51

16 Dypt heller året (arr. Paul Hellmuth) [Holistic mix] by Uranienborg Vokalensemble & Elisabeth Holte 3:08

17 I dine hender, Fader blid (Holistic mix) by Uranienborg Vokalensemble, Inger-Lise Ulsrud & Elisabeth Holte 3:10

—Mel Martin

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