Polyphony Archive

TOMAS LUIS DE VICTORIA: Works for Six Voices – Nordic Voices – Chandos

TOMAS LUIS DE VICTORIA: Works for Six Voices – Nordic Voices – Chandos

TOMAS LUIS DE VICTORIA: Works for Six Voices – Nordic Voices – Chandos SACD – 55:40, (6/16/17) : ****½ (Tone Elisabeth Braaten, Ingrid Hanken; sopranos / Ebba Rydh; mezzo-soprano / Per Kristian Amundred; tenor / Frank Havroy; baritone / Rolfe Magne Asser; bass) Sparkling a cappella one-voice-per-part performances of Renaissance polyphony at its zenith. This outstanding six-person ensemble from Norway has been performing choral music, ranging from plainchant to modern works commissioned especially for them, over the course of twenty years. They are surely happiest when they are singing with one voice per part as here, for they possess robust individual voices. This Chandos SACD deserves the closest attention and  headphones to register the full impact, in terms of both separation and integration, of this exquisite group. The expertly crafted virtual sound-stage positions the listener twenty feet back, facing the half-circle with lower voices to the right, higher to the left. The choice of recordings, works by Tomas Luis de Victoria, is obvious enough; he is perhaps the most dramatic of the Renaissance Masters. This recital comprises Motets from a 1572 publication as well as three pieces from Liber Primus qui Missas, Psalmos, ad Magnificat Virginem. Most of our readers […]

Giaches DE WERT: Divine Theater: Sacred Motets – Stile Antico – Harmonia mundi

Giaches DE WERT: Divine Theater: Sacred Motets – Stile Antico – Harmonia mundi

Giaches DE WERT: Divine Theater: Sacred Motets – Stile Antico – Harmonia mundi SACD 807620, 67:19 (2/ 24/ 17) [Distr. by PIAS] ****:  (Helen Ashby, Kate Ashby, Rebecca Hickey, (sopranos) Eleanor Harries, Kate Schofield, Emma Ashby, (altos) Jim Clements, Andrew Griffiths, Benedict Hymas, Ashley Turnell, (tenors) Will Dawes, Thomas Flint Matthew O’Donovan (basses)) Late Renaissance Polyphony from the Court of Mantua performed by the radiant Stile Antico ensemble. There are a number of first-rate a capella vocal groups specializing in Renaissance polyphony. Their virtues are the same: balance, purity of voice, the finest feeling for drama. The groups are supported by deep scholarship (evidenced in this recording by the substantial liner-notes, a veritable treatise on the late Renaissance) as well as superb sound engineering. Stile Antico is without doubt among the very best of our generation in this genre, having delivered a flawless series of polyphonic masterpieces in interesting programs. They differ from their peers in one attractive feature: they have no conductor. The picture on the disc back shows a group of 12 (one to take the picture?) in a circle, the emblem of completeness and balance. The sonics of all Stile Antico Super-Audio recordings place the listener inside […]

DVORAK: Sym. No. 8 in G Major; Carnival Ov,; SUK: Serenade for Strings in E Major – Bavarian Radio Sym., Orch./ Mariss Jansons – BR Klassik

DVORAK: Sym. No. 8 in G Major; Carnival Ov,; SUK: Serenade for Strings in E Major – Bavarian Radio Sym., Orch./ Mariss Jansons – BR Klassik

Mariss Janson continues his survey of Dvorak with an energy and style reminiscent of Vaclav Talich. DVORAK: Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88; Carnival Overture, Op. 93; SUK: Serenade for Strings in E Major, Op. 6 – Bavarian Radio Sym, Orch./ Mariss Jansons – BR Klassik 900145, 73:14 (4/8/16) [Distr. by Naxos] ****:
 BR Klassik offers the recordings of the two concerts performed in the Philharmonie in Gasteig on January 29 and 30, 2016, the results of which prove quite compelling, as if Jansons were determined to prove himself the legitimate heir to the Vaclav Talich hegemony in Dvorak’s music. The 1890 G Major Symphony has had many fine interpretations on record, including a pair of sympathetic readings by Bruno Walter. Collectors no less treasure the classic interpretations by Talich and Beecham. Eminently lyrical and pantheistic, the symphony abounds in evocations of nature, such as bird calls and trills, warblings, and “the joy of green pastures, of summer evenings, of the melancholy of blue forests, and of the carefree merrymaking of Czech peasants,” to cite Talich himself. Perhaps, in deference to his own master Smetana, Dvorak wished to pay homage to those “Bohemian Meadows and Forests” that the […]