Morten Lauridsen: Nocturnes

Morten Lauridsen: Nocturnes

5.0 1
by Polyphony
     
 
British chamber choir Polyphony has recorded a collection of music by Morten Lauridsen that includes not only his gorgeous but ubiquitous cycle "Les chansons des roses," but two less familiar cycles, "Mid-Winter Songs," and "Nocturnes," and several shorter pieces. The sound of the choir is full, rich, and well blended, and the singers

Overview

British chamber choir Polyphony has recorded a collection of music by Morten Lauridsen that includes not only his gorgeous but ubiquitous cycle "Les chansons des roses," but two less familiar cycles, "Mid-Winter Songs," and "Nocturnes," and several shorter pieces. The sound of the choir is full, rich, and well blended, and the singers perform with absolute confidence, fully secure with the composer's close harmonies and unresolved dissonances. Their grasp of a full range of articulation, from crisp staccato to velvety legato, is especially striking. Conductor Stephen Layton leads the choir in an unusually nuanced and expressive performance of "Les chansons des roses," with great flexibility of tempo, bringing out compositional felicities that can go unnoticed in more conventional readings with straighter tempos. His reading of the cycle "Mid-Winter Songs," accompanied by Britten Sinfonia, is notable for its bristling energy and high drama. Three shorter sacred pieces are recorded here for the first time. Two of them are early works, written in 1970, and while they are excellently crafted and fully satisfying on their own terms, they don't have the harmonic richness of his later works. A third piece, "Ave, dulcissima Maria" (2005), is a virtuoso tour de force for men's voices. "Nocturnes" (2005), three settings of texts about night, also receive their first recording. Using texts in three languages (in French by Rainer Maria Rilke, Spanish by Pablo Neruda, and English by James Agee), the songs inhabit the same ecstatic harmonic world as "Les chansons des roses," and although none is likely to achieve the immediate popular appeal of "Dirait-on," the radiant setting of "Sure on this shining night," may come close. The sound quality is vibrant and clean. This is easily one of the most exciting and beautifully performed collections ofLauridsen's choral music.

Editorial Reviews

Gramophone - Marc Rochester
Polyphony offer, as usual, outstanding choral singing, showing superb discipline.
Seattle Times - Melinda Bargreen
Sumptuous.... [Polyphony's] glorious sound and subtle interpretations do complete justice to Lauridsen's scores.... A standard against which all subsequent choral recordings should be judged.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/13/2007
Label:
Hyperion Uk
UPC:
0034571175805
catalogNumber:
67580
Rank:
5600

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Mid-Winter Songs, for chorus & orchestra
  2. Les Chansons des Roses, for chorus
  3. I will lift up mine eyes, for choir
  4. O come, let us sing unto the Lord, for choir
  5. Ave, dulcissima Maria, for choir
  6. Nocturnes

Album Credits

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Morten Lauridsen: Nocturnes 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The audience for fine choral music hopefully is growing beyond the seasonal and occasional mighty works of Handel, Mozart, Bach. Certainly with such performing arts groups as the Los Angeles Master Chorale and England's Polyphony recording and performing choral music from the recent past and from the present the appreciation for this inspiring genre will expand. And as long as there are recordings of the caliber of this collection of works by Morten Lauridsen the possibilities are evident. Best known for his 'instant classic' LUX AETERNA, the gift of Morten Lauridsen is well in evidence with this recording. And while there are other recordings of some of the works here included, this CD is the premiere recording of six pieces that merit the music lover's interest. Lauridsen's 'sound' is that of the widely spread chord that acts as the matrix for the internal development of melodies and ideas. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in the completely ethereal 'Ave, dulcissima Maria' written for male voices alone with finger cymbal accompaniment. The sweep of adoration and emotion that pulsates from this beautifully crafted work places it among the great choral compositions of any era. The NOCTURNES from which the CD takes its title consist of three mixed chorus pieces with piano accompaniment. Set to poems of Rilke ('Sa nuit d'été), Neruda ('Soneto de la noche'), and Agee ('Sure on this shining night'), these three related works bask in the glory not only of Lauridsen's choral writing but also in the variation of three languages. The performances of these works and performed with fine ensemble sound and diction by Polyphony and the direction of Stephen Layton and one the Britten Sinfonia provides the orchestral portion on the well-known 'Mid-Winter Songs'. This is one recording that belongs in every lover of fine choral music and as a superb introduction to those for whom the choral repertoire is a new discovery. Grady Harp