Bruno Walter's recording of the Siegfried Idyll with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra is radiantly beautiful one of the most affecting of all this great conductor's statements. The horns wobble and nick a couple of notes, the ensemble isn't always perfect, and little things happen in the winds, but the sense of what the music is about the character of the solo playing, the phrasing, and the wonderful feeling of delicacy and joy is unmatched by anyone, except perhaps Karajan.
Little is known of the life of Paschal de L'Estocart, the French composer of the late Renaissance who was roughly a contemporary of Claude Le Jeune (1528 -1600). He seems to have been sympathetic to the Protestant Reformers – he spent considerable time in Germany and his music was published in Geneva – but later in life he applied unsuccessfully to the French King for a position at an abbey. His collection of psalms and motets, Sacrae Cantiones, 16 of which are recorded here, are mostly in French, along with several in Latin, and was dedicated to Calvinist Count Palatine Johann Casimir in 1582. This collection also includes his Ode in 12 parts, set to religious texts in French. L'Estocart's music is typical of late Renaissance polyphony, eclectic in its use of a cantus firmus, imitative counterpoint, and homophonic writing, with an unusually free use of dissonance. The French mixed a cappella ensemble Ludus Modalis, led by Bruno Boterf, specializes in music of this era and sings with passion and authority. Intonation is immaculate and tone quality is pure and unforced. The recorded sound is clean, but spacious and warm.