Their fourth LP, entitled Agnus Dei, is fast, furious, and fucking hostile. The Italian four-piece comes charging straight out the gate like the hounds of hell are after them, and head straight for Golgotha. Their black metal influences set them apart from the majority of their labelmates, drawing a nifty little line between the past and present of Anderson's roster and repping hard for Team Satan while they're at it. Antireligious sentiment is no foreign concept to either black metal, death metal, grind, or crust punk, and it's satisfying to see that a band as invested in perfecting and perverting all four sounds is just as serious about doing the Devil's work.
An all-too-rare new recording from Polyphony and Stephen Layton presents highlights from the choral repertoire by four twentieth-century American giants: Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Randall Thompson. Framed by Thompson’s understated favourites Alleluia and Fare Well, the programme includes Bernstein’s Missa brevis, Copland’s early set of four motets, and—of course—Barber’s inimitable Agnus Dei.
The angels on the Ghent Altarpiece (Van Eyck) are singing plainchant and/or polyphony. If it is plainchant, they could be responses from the period after Easter. These responses make explicit references to the book of Revelations - which makes sense because the Ghent Alterpiece is full of references to the Apocalypse. The combination of these chants with two-voices Agnus-Dei fragments from masses by Dufay, Ockeghem, Desprez and others, make for a series of small and beautiful vignettes. Triptychs.
Donizetti began writing his Requiem Mass after the death of fellow composer and friend Bellini. Ironically it was not performed until after Donizetti's death in 1848. Lacking a 'Sanctus', 'Benedictus' and 'Agnus Dei', the work is nevertheless a large-scale, powerful and compelling work which is one of Donizetti's most important non-operatic compositions.
Meditation, mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca's 2014 release on Deutsche Grammophon, is an album of serene vocal and choral works that express religious feelings with an operatic touch and showcase the Latvian singer's warm and radiant voice. Choosing pieces from the early Baroque era to contemporary works, Garanca presents a soothing program that is consistent in its comforting tone and gentle treatment, though as a purely musical consideration, it tends to flow a bit too evenly and predictably. Insofar as the selections represent the Christian tradition, including settings of the Ave Maria, the Salve Regina, the Sanctus, the Agnus Dei, and the Regina Coeli, the character of the collection admits little variety, except for the general alternation between penitential and quietly ecstatic moods.