The works included on this disc traverse an almost 25 year span of interest in writing for large vocal forces. Some of my largest works have been for choir—such as my St. Luke Magnificat or my Shoah Requiem—but on this disc the works, apart from my Missa Brevis, are for a cappella choir. Writing for a cappella choir is a very inspiring medium coupled, as it is, with text and language and the inherent timbral interest of varied vowel and percussive consonant sounds in the voice. The works, apart from Silence from my Two Looks at Silence, are all in Latin and owe more than a little to my background as a Catholic and Catholocism's traditional sacred liturgical literature. —Douglas Knehans.
Annika Treutler grew up in Detmold and is now based in Berlin. She studied with Prof. Matthias Kirschnereit at the Rostock College of Music and Drama and Prof. Bernd Goetzke at the Hanover College of Music, Drama and Media. The young artist won third prize at the Montreal International Piano Competition in 2014 and reached the semifinals of the ARD International Music Competition in Munich that year. Annika Treutler has appeared as a guest soloist with such orchestras as the Konzerthaus Orchestra of Berlin, the Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra, the German Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. On this release, she presents beautiful solo piano works by Johannes Brahms.
This CD contains the first recording of the complete Chorale Variations by Daniel Magnus Gronau, a master from 17th century Danzig, “the finest musical soul ever to have graced the city of Danzig” as his pupils said after his death. He wrote a treatise on transposition, and the Chorale Variations form one of the most extensive compendiums of organ registrations of late Baroque organ music in Germany. Organist Matteo Venturini is a winner of no less than 8 prestigious organ competitions, and wrote a thesis on the organ music of Gronau. He plays on a magnificent Ghilardi Organ in the Church of San Rocco, Larciano. Booklet includes liner note and artist biography in Italian and English. All organ specifications are also included.
Of the three Bang on a Can founder composers, David Lang’s music has always been the glassiest, the sparest, and for some listeners the most precious. In recent years, his aesthetic has become leaner still, paring down already simple material to gaunt extremes in something approaching neo-plainchant. The national anthems (note the lower case; nothing vainglorious here ) takes fragments of text from the anthems of all 193 United Nations member states and unfolds at speaking speed, with plenty of room for breaths between phrases and plenty of clarity to the words. It has the feel of sad and eerie intoning. The Los Angeles choir clinches the right sound for Lang – unflinching, spellbound – while the Calder Quartet gives sleek accompaniment. Also on the disc is a new choral version of Lang’s little match girl passion, the piece originally for four voices that won him the Pulitzer prize in 2008 and which, in the mouths of many, becomes a sort of collective prayer in the congregational tradition of Bach’s chorales.
Sergey Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil, also known as the Vespers, is among his most admired works, and it was one of the composer's own favorites, along with The Bells. This 2015 Chandos release by Charles Bruffy and the combined voices of the Phoenix Chorale and the Kansas City Chorale presents the music in the super audio format, so the richness of the divisi choral parts and the depth of the basso profundo come across fully in the multichannel reproduction. Bruffy is the musical director of both groups, so his special rapport with them creates an even ensemble blend that balances the largely homophonic textures, and brings a consistency of approach to the three styles of chant Rachmaninov imitated, Kievan, Greek, and Znamenny. The beauty of the a cappella voices and the surprisingly lush harmonies make this setting immediately appealing and ultimately moving, and listeners who enjoy sacred choral music for inspiration or meditation will find the All-Night Vigil's smooth flow and expressive warmth well-suited to those purposes.
The Grammy-Award-winning conductor Charles Bruffy brings together his two professional choirs, the Kansas City Chorale and Phoenix Chorale, for this recording of Serge Rachmaninoff’s All-night Vigil. The scheduled release date marks the 100th anniversary of the world premiere of the work, which was given by the Moscow Synodal Choir on 10 March 1915.
Thoroughly trained by his father Johann Sebastian, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach became renowned as a virtuoso harpsichordist and organist. His surviving organ music includes the seven choral preludes and ten fugues on this disc, which range from relatively simple settings to elaborate displays of counterpoint. Born in Rio de Janeiro and based in the USA, Julia Brown, who has made several acclaimed recordings of keyboard music by Buxtehude and Scheidemann for Naxos, has been praised as ‘a first-class artist and superb technician … an exceptionally sensitive stylist’.
The C minor Passacaglia and Fugue is one of the great masterpieces for the instrument and one which inspired countless responses from composers great and lesser. So it's all the more astonishing to think that Bach wrote it while still a twenty‐something hireling in Weimar, where his Kapell meistership to the Duke ended badly with the composer being clapped in irons for touting his availability for other jobs, frustrated as his ambition was by the restrictions of the position.
Recorded in 1966, Robert Shaw's Grammy Award-winning performance of Handel's Messiah marks an important turning-point in this work's interpretation, clearly moving away from the ponderous, overly reverential style of early twentieth century renditions and pointing toward the leaner versions of the 1970s onwards, which follow Baroque-period practices. (…) Evenly divided between two discs, this recording of Messiah is complete, and it is preferred over RCA's 1992 excerpt album The Great Choruses from Messiah.