MORTEN LAURIDSEN: Lux aeterna; Madrigali: Six ‘Fire Songs’ on Italian Renaissance Poems; Ave Maria; Ubi caritas et amor; O magnum mysterium — Polyphony, Stephen Layton, conductor, with the Britten Sinfonia, Pauline Lowbury, leader – Hyperion

by | Sep 1, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

MORTEN LAURIDSEN: Lux aeterna; Madrigali: Six ‘Fire Songs’ on
Italian Renaissance Poems; Ave Maria; Ubi caritas et amor; O magnum
mysterium – Polyphony, Stephen Layton, conductor, with the Britten
Sinfonia, Pauline Lowbury, leader – Hyperion SACDA67449 – Multichannel
M SACD, 67 min. *****:

When it comes to contemporary choral composition, Morten Lauridsen’s
works surely stand at the forefront; his works are always tuneful,
melodic and, most importantly – uplifting! While I’ve heard rumblings
out there that his compositions share a certain sameness (especially
his Latin liturgical texts) – on the surface, one could easily make the
same argument about many of the works of Part, or even Thomas Tallis,
for that matter. No one would dare accuse Tallis, for Heaven’s sake,
he’s the father of English liturgical music! And while Part’s offerings
are generally darker, leaning towards the introspective – sometimes we
just need to be uplifted.

This superbly crafted disc should be just the pill. Opulently recorded
at St. Jude-on-the-Hill and The Temple Church, Stephen Layton leads
Polyphony in another reference level performance that also includes
Laurdisen’s spirited Madrigali – these fiery madrigals alone should
silence the grumblers. The Britten Sinfonia provides most sympathetic
accompaniment on the beautifully rendered Lux aeterna; the resulting
mesh of massed voices and instruments will challenge the resolving
powers of any system.

With the much-publicized legal troubles of Hyperion, it might not be a
bad idea to rush to get this excellent disc. Very highly recommended!

— Tom Gibbs

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