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O Magnum Mysterium
     

O Magnum Mysterium

4.0 1
by Robert Shaw
 
Although he had a long, distinguished tenure as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, music for unaccompanied choir was the first love of the late, great Robert Shaw. After retiring from Atlanta in 1988, he rekindled this love affair in a series of summer choral festivals in the Quercy district in south-central France. These

Overview

Although he had a long, distinguished tenure as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, music for unaccompanied choir was the first love of the late, great Robert Shaw. After retiring from Atlanta in 1988, he rekindled this love affair in a series of summer choral festivals in the Quercy district in south-central France. These festivals spawned a host of acclaimed Telarc recordings, the most transfixing excerpts of which make up the final seven tracks of this serene, enthralling, and satisfying compilation. You can hear clear evidence of what Shaw did best: train choirs to sing with flawless diction, pristine blend, luscious sound, and laser-accurate entrances and cut-offs. But this is no routine compilation of greatest choral hits. The first four tracks -- lovely devotional pieces by the late Renaissance masters Thomas Tallis and Tomás Luis de Victoria -- are released here for the first time. Victoria's impassioned "O magnum mysterium" sets the reverential tone for the whole collection. Both Morten Lauridsen's and Francis Poulenc's settings of this same anonymous medieval text -- an ecstatic outburst at the sight of the baby Jesus in the manger -- give voice to a quiet, hypnotic sense of awe. The remarkable performance of "Khvalite imya Gospodne" ("Praise the Name of the Lord") from Rachmaninov's Vespers captures a sense of wonder in both intended and unintended ways, ending with the distant chiming of a church bell -- in key, even! -- as the final "alliluya" dies away. Schubert's "Der Enfernten," for all-male choir, showcases Shaw's ability to elicit a palette of vocal colors so rich as to be the envy of glee club conductors the world over. And whether it's Schubert, Henryk Górecki, or a traditional spiritual, Shaw's singers perform in a truly loving, inspired manner.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Robert Shaw is dead, but his recorded legacy lives on -- that is, if you can call recordings living. Telarc -- the label which served Shaw so faithfully in life by recording the greatest American choral conductor who ever lived in the core choral repertoire in exemplary sound -- Telarc is releasing every little scrap of music that the grand old man ever recorded. If sometimes those scraps are rather scrappy, well, we must be grateful. How else would we ever hear the master in such recherché repertoire as Tallis and Victoria? And if these scraps are released in tandem with previously available Shaw recordings, well, it's always good to have them reassembled in context of a program which makes sense, in this case a program dedicated to the "great mystery" -- the great mystery which is music itself. Although three-quarters of the music on this disc has been out before, the program of (mostly) religious pieces does work well as a whole. The one exception is Schubert's glorious "Der Entfernten" (The Distant One), which, it could conceivably be argued, is a spiritual work. Needless to say, the performances are exemplary and Telarc's sound stupendous. The disc is imperative for those who have to have everything Shaw ever did, and highly recommended to those who simply want an interesting and beautiful collection of choral works.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/22/2000
Label:
Telarc
UPC:
0089408053122
catalogNumber:
80531
Rank:
64558

Tracks

  1. If ye love me, anthem for 4 voices
  2. A new commandment, anthem for 4 voices
  3. O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, motet for 4 voices
  4. O Magnum Mysterium, motet for 4 voices
  5. O Magnum Mysterium, for chorus
  6. O magnum mysterium, motet for chorus (4 motets pour le temps de Noël), FP 152/1
  7. Vespers (All-Night Vigil), for alto, tenor & chorus, Op. 37: Khvalite imya Gospodne, Op.37/8
  8. Der Entfernten ("Wohl denk' ich allenthalben"), quartet for male voices, D. 331
  9. Wondrous Love, folk song
  10. Amazing Grace
  11. Sometimes I Feel Like A Moanin' Dove
  12. Totus Tuus, for chorus, Op. 60

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O Magnum Mysterium 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Chevybill More than 1 year ago
Nice selection of choral pieces around a theme (O Magnum Mysterium). The highlight for me was the Morten Lauridsen work.