Continuing its exploration of Tudor Latin sacred music, ‘The Tudors At Prayer’ sees Magnificat perform music by Taverner, Tallis, Mundy, White and Byrd. The highlight is Mundy’s towering Vox Patris caelestis; immensely vivid and colourful this is a powerful performance to challenge any that has gone before. Equally enthralling as Magnificat’s critically acclaimed Spem in alium, but with even richer textures, Vox Patris caelestis perfectly demonstrates Magnificat’s heaven-sent sound.
…If that's not enticement enough, suffice it is to say Zig Zag Territories' Albinoni: Sinfonie a Cinque, Op. 2, is urgently recommended for those afflicted with a taste of high-quality Baroque music and will happily appeal to less specialized musical interests who just want to hear something pleasing, yet substantial.
Xavier de Maistre is generally fêted as the artist who has managed to liberate the harp from its reputation for wonderful but very soft sounds, and establish it as a solo instrument in the concert hall. On his album "Notte Veneziana", the internationally successful harp virtuoso plays well-known concertos by the Venetian composers Vivaldi, Marcello and Albinoni in new arrangements, combining them with original compositions for solo harp such as the sonata by Giovanni Pescetti, Godefroid’s stunning set of variations on the popular tune “Carnaval de Venise”, and “La Mandoline” by 19th-century composer Elias Parish Alvars.
The English Concert is a baroque orchestra playing on period instruments based in London. Founded in 1972 and directed from the harpsichord by Trevor Pinnock for 30 years, it is now directed by harpsichordist Harry Bicket. The orchestra has been led by Nadja Zwiener since September 2007. The English Concert was founded by Trevor Pinnock and others in November 1972. The date of foundation is often given as 1973, probably because they started with seven people and only later progressed onto the orchestral repertoire as their number increased. They were one of the first orchestras dedicated to performing baroque and early classical music on period instruments, their repertoire from then to now ranging approximately from Monteverdi to Mozart…
The two works on this recording are separated by 35 years, during which time Penderecki made a decisive break with the post-war European avant-garde. In the Magnificat, chilling instrumental clusters, spectral sounds and impassioned rhetoric unite with tonality and counterpoint to deliver a work of monumental emotional power. Written to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of the Jewish ghetto in Łódź, Kadisz is among the most distinctive of Penderecki’s later choral works in the stark contrasts between drama and sombre reflection of its individual sections.
This compilation is a perfect work/study/contemplation CD, when you want to reduce the hum and din of modern life. It's wonderfully played, and has 23 tracks for a total of 72:45 minutes of melodic, serene music. The famous Adagio in G minor, so often heard in films, etc., is here given a lovely rendition. Played a little faster than most other versions, with the individual instruments (especially the harpsichord) being heard clearly. It's not as lush and smooth as some recordings, but crisper, and to my ears, absolutely delightful. It's hard to pick favorites among the other selections…each piece is a baroque beauty that flows well from one track to the next. I'm sure this CD will please most people who like 18th century music.