Deus Passus is one quarter of the Passion Project 2000, which celebrated not only the turning of the millennium but also commemorated the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death. German conductor Helmuth Rilling honored this occasion by commissioning Passions from four disparate composers: Wolfgang Rihm, Tan Dun, Sofia Gubaidulina, and Osvaldo Golijov. Deus Passus is a setting of the Passion according to St. Luke, and it is a marvel of a piece for many reasons. For a full hour and a half, with music that is mostly slow and largely atonal (in the sense that Berg’s music is atonal), the twisting, aching, unpredictable harmonies are totally captivating. Rihm chooses a straightforward setting, a simple, dramatic telling of the story, and it is in his capacity for restraint that the true brilliance of the piece lies. He uses the chorus sparingly, mostly for dramatic purposes, having it portray the angry rabble bent on crucifying Jesus (as it often does in Bach’s passions).
With the stresses and strains of modern life to contend with, many turn to classical music for solace and this varied collection of over seven and a half hours of relaxing favorites is the perfect antidote to the pressures of modern life. The set is themed and starts with two CDs of choral music, many of which are vocal arrangements of familiar favorites. These are followed by CDs devoted respectfully to flute and harp, the classical guitar, piano and orchestral music. Those who enjoyed the 101 Adagios set will find much to enjoy here, and can be reassured that any duplication is kept to an absolute minimum and where it does occur, is in strikingly different arrangements. The artists at the helm of this relaxing journey include the choirs of King s College Cambridge and the New College Oxford, flautist William Bennett and harpist Marisa Robles, Pepe Romero, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Herbert von Karajan and Sir Georg Solti.
…Whatever reservations one might harbor about this or that individual performance, it is unlikely that this set as a whole will be surpassed in the near future. It belongs in every serious music library, private or public.
…So for most of us, just listening to the lively, polished performances by male and female singers, accompanied by various period instruments will be enjoyment enough–but for the more curious, the extensive and very well written liner notes offer a fine introduction to the deeper meaning of the texts and provide important context for each song. Four instrumental selections round out this flawlessly recorded program, enhanced by the ambience of the Spanish monastery venue.
First new album in four years from the legendary Portland quartet and first for Dine Alone Records. Knows an America's Best Britpop Band. Features the single 'You Are Killing Me'.
It is almost exactly a quarter of a century since Pierre Boulez recorded his complete Webern survey. This new collection, apart from being useful for anyone who doesn't want to buy three whole CDs of Webern, offers an interesting insight into how Boulez's way with a composer probably more central to him than any other has changed. For a start he gives him a little more time: most of the pieces here are slightly but significantly slower than they were in 1970. This allows lines to be more subtly moulded, phrases to acquire a touch more poise. This is not to say that Boulez has softened and now phrases Webern as though he were Chopin, but grace and even wit (the second movement of the Quartet) are now noticeable alongside his customary precision. The Ensemble InterContemporain have been playing these pieces constantly since they were first founded, and it shows in the absolute assurance of their performances.
Fidelis Cloer is a self-confessed war profiteer. In a career spanning two decades of global turmoil, he has supplied kings, presidents and the odd dictator or two with the finest luxury armored vehicles that money can buy. In his world, where security is a commodity that can be bought and sold, violence is to sales as the weather is to wheat futures. Always with an on eye on growth opportunities, Fidelis found 'The Perfect War' when the US invaded Iraq: it wasn't about selling a dozen cars, or even a hundred, it was a thousand car war where security would become the ultimate product. Driving into Baghdad after it fell to American troops, he remarked, "This is the end of the beginning of the war," and so began his darkly comedic drive down the road to opportunity. Before the war, when clients were concerned with bullets and not bombs, his sales mantra was "I sell a good feeling": a sense of safety, security and confidence in superior German engineering that came across like a VW commercial gone wrong.