Penguin Guide Rosette Winners

Choral

Page: 

1 2 3 4

 Next >>

Prices shown exclude VAT. (UK tax is not payable for deliveries to United States.)
See Terms & Conditions for p&p rates.

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38


Paul Groves (Gerontius), Alice Coote (Angel), Bryn Terfel (Priest/Angel of the Agony)

Halle, Hallé Choir, Hallé Youth Choir, Sir Mark Elder

Elgar’s late masterpiece is an extraordinary work full of drama and passion alongside exquisite music of sublime delicacy. It is a moving expression of the composer’s personally unorthodox religious faith and a poignant reflection on the journey of a man through death, depicted in striking writing for choir, orchestra and soloist.

“Mark Elder’s interpretation with the Hallé orchestra and choir evaded characterisation, though he stamps his dramatic instincts all over the piece. It is either a religious tone poem or a spiritual opera, either way the effect is frequently cataclysmic” The Guardian

“It is, by a mile, the best-sounding Gerontius we have had, handsome in its depth and breadth with great spatial perspectives and a wonderful sense of how the score is layered. Of course, Janet Baker's timbre still haunts every measure of the Angel's music, but the wonderful Alice Coote conveys great confidentiality in her highly personalised reading.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2009

“Paul Groves's sophisticated, elegant tenor is not ideally the sort that should be essaying this role. With Bryn Terfel… sounding a little frayed, Alice Coote makes the biggest impact. It's a lovely sound, but none of her 'Alleluias', from the most hushed to the truly exultant, can compare with those of Janet Baker for Barbirolli or Rattle. Good, then, but not great enough for this extraordinary work.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2009 ***

“For all sorts of reasons Barbirolli's famous Hallé account has lived in everyone's hearts for decades. It still will, because there is something about the immediacy and wholeheartedness of its vision that speaks as directly as ever. Mark Elder's approach is more elusive. He draws us patiently, unerringly, into the profound mystery of the piece, judiciously weighing its theatricality against its inwardness. It is reverent in the best sense, with breathless pianissimi and a potency of atmosphere that takes hold from the moment we enter the dying man's room. Just listen to the Hallé strings in the Prelude, or the introduction to Part 2. The stylistic finesse of the playing, the very particular articulation, the inbred portamento – all these qualities are testament to the fantastic work Elder has done with the orchestra.
It is, by a mile, the best-sounding Gerontius we have had, handsome in its depth and breadth with great spatial perspectives and a wonderful sense of how the score is layered. Onto this impressive sound stage comes Paul Groves's Gerontius with a near-perfect blend of poetic restraint and high emotionalism – though some may feel that the 'operatic' hot-spots, 'Take me away!' being, of course, the hottest of them – are wanting in that last degree of heft. Elder and his sound team might have given us something more startling with that chord of 'utmost force' in the moment Gerontius finally glimpses his creator.
No lack of force or presence in Bryn Terfel's proclamation to 'Go forth!' – the portals of heaven open to that, as indeed they do with the arrival of the heavenly host for the great 'Praise to the Holiest' chorus. The Hallé choir bravely gather momentum in that, thanks to Elder's insistence on clear rhythmic articulation, and he achieves a simply stonking crescendo on the final chord, leaving the organ to plumb infinite depths.
Of course, Janet Baker's timbre still haunts every measure of the Angel's music, but the wonderful Alice Coote conveys great confidentiality in her highly personalised reading. 'Softly and gently' is gloriously enveloping – and maybe that's the word which ultimately best describes this fine and most satisfying recording.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“The orchestra and chorus are wonderfully imposing, and Elder's performance never lets you forget this is a work built out of quasi-operatic dialogues...Groves is the perfect embodiment of humanity, neither too English nor too Italianate but with all the power necessary to cope with even the most demanding vocal passages...Coote's performance is a marvel” The Guardian, 7th November 2008 *****

“Alice Coote sings radiantly…Paul Groves is a most affecting Gerontius...and Bryn Terfel is predictably commanding in both his roles...the Halle Chorus is richly expressive over the widest possible dynamic range” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

GGramophone Awards 2009

Best of Category - Choral

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Hallé - Elder Elgar Series - CDHLD7520

(CD - 2 discs)

$21.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Heavenly Harmonies

Heavenly Harmonies


Byrd:

Vigilate (from Cantiones sacrae 1589)

Exsurge, Domine (from Cantiones sacrae 1591)

Infelix ego

Laetentur coeli

Quis est homo?

Mass Propers for Pentecost

Factus est repente

Tribulationes civitatum

Laudibus in sanctis

Tallis:

Why Fum'th in Fight?

E'en like the hunted hind

Let God arise

Expend, O Lord

God Grant we grace (Tallis Canon)

Man blest no doubt

Veni creator: Come Holy Ghost

Why brag'st in malice

O come in one to praise the Lord


At the heart of the religious disputes which ravaged 16th century England, Tallis and Byrd embody two opposing tendencies: the former's austere, homophonic Protestant psalm tunes, in which the clarity of the biblical texts was paramount, contrast with the latter's Catholic motets, which constantly heighten musical expressivity and emotiveness. Yet, far from being stifled by the rigour of one camp or the traditionalism of the other, the creativity of these two masters of English music thrived on such constraints as they dedicated themselves to the service of their art and of God. New performing edition by Stile Antico.

Working without a conductor, the members of Stile Antico rehearse and perform as chamber musicians, each contributing artistically to the musical result. Their repertoire ranges from the glorious legacy of the English Tudor composers to the works of the Flemish and Spanish schools and the music of the early Baroque. They are passionate about the need to communicate with their audiences, combining thoughtful programming with direct, expressive performances. They are also committed to developing their educational work, for which they have received generous funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

“Stile Antico perform without a director, and the use of choral effects (gradual build-ups of intensity, or the opposite) doesn't seem overly staged. They certainly make a confident noise, helped by a sound recording that brings out the natural bloom of their sound. ” Gramophone Magazine, June 2008

“The most striking feature of these performances is how wonderfully varied they are. In some pieces… the presentational style almost enters the realm of musical theatre, while in Tallis's God Grant with Grace the utterly still and simple display of the music is transporting.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2008 ****

“wonderful music and singing of considerable distinction” International Record Review

“The young singers of Stile Antico, in their second disc of Tudor music, are magnificent... glorious music, gloriously sung.” Sunday Times Classical CD of the Week

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Harmonia Mundi - HMU807463

(SACD)

$14.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bach - Cantatas Volume 34

Bach - Cantatas Volume 34


Bach, J S:

Cantata BWV1 'Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern'

Cantata BWV126 'Erhalt uns Herr, bei deinem Wort'

Cantata BWV127 'Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott'


“On March 25, 1725, Bach celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation and Palm Sunday with a special cantata, Wie schön leuchet der Morgenstern ("How beautifully shines the morning star"), a work of breathtaking atmosphere and delicate ardour. Masaaki Suzuki's poised grandeur brings considerable richness to this marvellous score, a sparkling duo of solo violins offset deftly against the full ivory texture of high horns and low oboes in the chorus, and joined by top-drawer solo singing.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2007

“On March 25, 1725, Bach celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation and Palm Sunday with a special cantata, Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern ('How beautifully shines the morning star'), a work of breathtaking atmosphere and delicate ardour. Masaaki Suzuki's poised grandeur brings considerable richness to this marvellous score, a sparkling duo of solo violins offset deftly against the full ivory texture of high horns and low oboes in the chorus, and joined by topdrawer solo singing. If Gardiner brings more immediate emotion and Koopman a little more élan, Suzuki captures the moment with sustained warmth and intensity.
Equally striking in this volume of pieces from the unfinished chorale-cantata cycle (the second 'Jahrgang') is the graphic immediacy of Bach Collegium Japan; there have been occasions recently when rhetorical projection has become rather too smoothed over, neutral and objectivised. Not so in Nos 126 and 127, the former leaving no stone unturned in its spiky outbursts (trumpet fanfares in wrathful and unusual minor keys) to reflect the 'murderous intent of Pope and Turks'! The evocative Quinquagesima work Herr JesuChrist, wahr' Mensch und Gott is a pre-Passiontide lament of sublime quality and, again, Suzuki hits the mark with heightened characterisation and, especially, meticulous care with 'Die Seele ruht'. There are not many extended arias here but this masterpiece for soprano, solo oboe and two punctuating recorders and pizzicato continuo (for 'Sterbeglocken' – knells of death) is exquisitely performed by Carolyn Sampson. All in all, a disc to be cherished.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - Suzuki Bach Cantatas - BISSACD1551

(SACD)

$15.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

J. S. Bach - Cantatas Nos. 170, 82 & 159

J. S. Bach - Cantatas Nos. 170, 82 & 159


Bach, J S:

Cantata BWV170 'Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust'

Cantata BWV82 'Ich habe genug'

Cantata BWV159 'Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem'


“this group of cantatas ought to be in every collection, and the recordings (mid-1960s) are of Decca's best vintage quality.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

“Three magnificent solo cantatas from an equally impressive trio of singers at the height of their powers - Vergnügte Ruh for soprano, Ich habe genug for bass-baritone, and Sehet, wir gehen hinauf for tenor. Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields provide warm accompaniment.” David Smith, Presto Classical

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4762684

(CD)

$9.25

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Handel: Solomon

Handel: Solomon


“With panache [Gardiner] shows how authentic-sized forces can convey Handelian glamour even with sharply focused textures and fast speeds...the overriding glory is the singing of the Monteverdi Choir. Its clean, crisp articulation matches the brilliant playing of the English Baroque Soloists.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Philips - Originals - 4757561

(CD - 2 discs)

$13.50

(also available to download from $16.75)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah


“…the lovely sound and supreme musicality of this performance… The authoritative David Thomas relishes every moment; Carolyn Watkinson brings tender dignity to 'He was despised'; Emma Kirkby has less to do than Judith Nelson but steals the show with her 'refiner's fire'. Despite minor reservations, this is an engrossing experience.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2006

“an enjoyably fresh 'traditional-period' performance which is beautifully sung and a pleasure to watch but one can hear every word and the backcloth of Westminster Abbey is well used by the camera to provide a visual treat.” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition ****

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

DVD Video

Region: 2,3,4,5

Format: NTSC

Warner Classics Warner Vision - 0630178342

(DVD Video)

$16.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

John Rutter: Requiem

John Rutter: Requiem


Rutter:

Requiem

(ensemble version)

Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano)

Arise, shine

Come down, O love divine

Musica Dei donum

A Clare Benediction

Go forth into the world in peace

Toccata in 7

Variations on an Easter theme


“There is no doubt that this new recording is exceptionally fine with the Clare College choir on top of their very considerable form…This CD is another feather in the Naxos cap and is urgently recommended.” MusicWeb International

“Naxos continues its conquest of Cambridge's college choirs and finds that from Clare College on excellent form. I suspect this will be one of those Naxos recordings that sells by the ten thousand rather than merely the thousand.” Gramophone Magazine

“The newest Naxos recording of the Requiem tends to trump all previous versions, even the composer's own very fine account. Recorded in the expansive acoustic of Douai Abbey, Berkshire, it is very beautifully sung indeed...Elin Manahan Thomas is the ideal soloist, singing the Pie Jesu with touching simplicity and rising up celestially in the Lux aeterna.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2003

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Naxos - 8557130

(CD)

Normally: $7.50

Special: $6.37

(also available to download from $7.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Thomas Tallis - Spem in alium

Thomas Tallis - Spem in alium


Tallis:

Spem in alium for eight five-part choirs '40-part Motet'

Sancte Deus

Salvator mundi, salva nos 1 & 2

Gaude gloriosa Dei mater

Miserere nostri, motet for 7 voices, P. 207

Loquebantur variis linguis


“For the 1985 quatercentenary of Tallis's death, Peter Phillips and The Tallis Scholars produced this version of Spem in alium; in many respects it's clearly the most successful ever recorded.
Not only is the choir superb and the interpretation an intelligent one; this is also the only recording in which the eight choirs seem genuinely to sing from different positions in the stereo spread, a technical achievement that leads to some thrilling antiphonal exchanges. Above all, Phillips's reading is a confident and assertive one. The effect is more that of a plea than a prayer, and the overall shaping is most characterful.
Inevitably there are problems of balance, both at the top of the texture (several of the trebles are given rather too much prominence) and in the middle, where in full sections the music of the inner voices sometimes blends too readily into rich chords rather than emerging as a complex web of counterpoint. But these are relatively small complaints to be made against an outstanding achievement. This is a Spem inalium to be cherished.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Gimell - CDGIM006

(CD)

$15.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Vaughan Williams: Valiant for Truth, Symphony No. 5, The Pilgrim Pavement & other works

Vaughan Williams: Valiant for Truth, Symphony No. 5, The Pilgrim Pavement & other works


Vaughan Williams:

Symphony No. 5 in D major

Valiant for Truth

The Pilgrim Pavement

Hymn-tune Prelude on Song 13 by Orlando Gibbons

(arr. for string orchestra by Helen Glatz)

The Twenty-third Psalm

Carys Lane (soprano)

Prelude and Fugue in C minor


“This is an exceptionally powerful yet deeply moving account of the Fifth. Aided by glowing, wide-ranging engineering, Hickox's is an urgently communicative reading. The first and third movements in particular emerge with an effortless architectural splendour and rapt authority, the climaxes built and resolved with mastery.
The Scherzo is as good a place as any to sample the lustrous refinement of the LSO's response. Hickox ensures that the symphony's concluding bars positively glow with gentle ecstasy: here's a Fifth that can surely hold its own in the most exalted company.
Material from The Pilgrim's Progress made its way into the Fifth Symphony and two of the five enterprising couplings here provide further links with John Bunyan's timeless allegory: the 1940 motet for mixed voices with organ, Valiant-for-truth and John Churchill's 1953 arrangement for soprano and mixed chorus of Psalm 23 (originally sung by The Voice of a Bird in Act 4 of The Pilgrim's Progress). The latter receives its finely prepared recorded début on this occasion, as do both The Pilgrim Pavement (a 1934 processional for soprano, chorus and organ) and Helen Glatz's string-orchestra arrangement of the solo-piano Hymn-tune Prelude on 'Song 13' by Gibbons. Which just leaves the Prelude and Fugue, originally written for organ in 1921, but heard here in a sumptuous orchestration.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Building a Library

First Choice - April 2003

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos - CHAN9666

(CD)

Normally: $15.00

Special: $12.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Dvorak: Requiem & Biblical Songs

Dvorak: Requiem & Biblical Songs


Dvorak:

Requiem, Op. 89

Maria Stader (soprano), Sieglinde Wagner (contralto), Ernst Haefliger (tenor), Kim Borg (bass)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir, Karel Ancerl

Biblical Songs, Op. 99: selection

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Jörg Demus (piano)


“an inspired performance of Dvorak's Requiem, which here emerges with fiery intensity...The passionate singing of the chorus is unforgettable and the German soloists not only make fine individual contributions but blend together superbly in ensembles.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

DG 2CD - E4530732

(CD - 2 discs)

$13.50

(also available to download from $16.75)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Page: 

1 2 3 4

 Next >>

Composers

 A-B   C-G   H-M   N-R   S-Z 

Music types