When Richard Maunder's editions get together with Christopher Hogwood and co, you know instantly that the result will be spot on. The sound of the boy treble line (singing alto as well) is earthy yet in tune, and well complemented by the strong lower parts. The orchestra is supportive yet unobtrusive. The dynamics and phrasing are all well chosen and executed. The choice of soloists is inspired, especially Arleen Auger - such a beautiful voice. It is just a pity that there is not more on the disc - some have argued in the 'Dona ut Kyrie' tradition that an Agnus Dei could be tacked on at the end using the music of the Kyrie. An excellent recording.
As his starting point for a brand new recording of the music from the polychoral Renaissance and the “monumental Baroque”, with Alessandro Striggio’s 40 and 60-part Missa sopra Ecco sì beato giorno leading the way, Hervé Niquet turns to the musical celebrations for a feast day occasion in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence in honour of St John the Baptist, adding a trio of works by Orazio Benevoli, another specialist in multi-parted choral works, and Striggio’s motet Ecce beatem lucem, also scored for 40 voices.
The Mass Effect series has always been known for its iconic music; reminiscent of the great space operas of the 80’s, while bringing something fresh and new to the genre. In the years since the trilogy, the influences of Mass Effect have been seen and heard in the gaming, television and movie industry. When we were imagining the music for Andromeda, it was key that we retain the spirit of what made Mass Effect unique, but also strive to bring it into the future. The score for Andromeda holds true to the heart of the Mass Effect experience, but also explores new ground. Just as the story and characters bravely face a new galaxy, filled with the unknown, the music of Andromeda takes us on a new journey for the Mass Effect series. Expanding the universe in new and exhilarating ways.
Those Who Walk Away is the project of Winnipeg-based composer Matthew Patton, which he describes as an "ever evolving working group of melodic constructivists." Patton is perhaps best known for his highly acclaimed (and Emmy Award-winning collaboration) Speaking In Tongues with the choreographer Paul Taylor, and has worked with Mikhail Baryshnikov, Guy Maddin and many others. He is also the curator of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra New Music Festival. The Infected Mass is the first of several works Patton intends to release as Those Who Walk Away.
As the mysterious opening bars of the Kyrie gradually emerge into the light, we know that this recording of Mozart’s glorious Great Mass in C minor is a special one: the tempi perfect, the unfolding drama of the choral writing so carefully judged, and, above it all, the crystalline beauty of soloist Carolyn Sampson’s soprano, floating like a ministering angel. Masaaki Suzuki’s meticulous attention to detail, so rewarding in his remarkable Bach recordings, shines throughout this disc, the playing alert, the choir responsive, the soloists thrilling. And there is the bonus of an exhilarating Exsultate, Jubilate with Sampson on top form.
William Byrd (1543-1623) has been called the greatest English composer, an arbiter of the sublime and master of his craft. And while discerning early music listeners have a fair number of recordings to choose from in order to put any stake into this claim, this offering from ECM is as sensitive an introduction as any into all things Byrd.
There can be no doubt - the Missa in C minor KV 427 by W.A.Mozart is a fascinating work. Simply calling it a "mass" is inaccurate; indeed, there is hardly more than a musical torso full of enigmas and problems - and brimming with magnificent music.
Les Noces is a screaming, shrieking, flat-out masterpiece. Leonard Bernstein himself has referred to it as Stravinsky's greatest work, and listening to this incendiary performance, it's awfully hard to disagree. Scored for voices, four pianos, and percussion, the work provided the inspiration for the entire career of Orff (of Carmina Burana fame), but it's so much better as sheer music than anything Orff wrote. And what a cast! The pianists for this performance include Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimerman, Cyprien Katsaris, and Homero Francesch, four certified virtuoso performers, while the singers of the English Bach Festival Chorus really cover themselves with glory in both works. A stunner.