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Music for Passiontide & Easter

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I thought of another goodie which I put on symphonyshare recently, because I enjoyed it so much more than others. Scherchen's seven last words

Also Deller's Lecons de couperin, or maybe Cuenod's


--- Quote from: Que on April 09, 2011, 11:24:06 PM ---I would second Drasko's recommendation of Gesualdo's Tenebrae, the music for the last three days of Holy Week - really awesome.
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Yes, as well as wonderful settings of the Tenebrae Responsories by (to name but two great favorites of mine) Tomas Luis de Victoria and Orlando Gibbons (thinking in particular of Tristis est anima mea.)

And, for those of us who like hanging in the Living Composers Ghetto: Ivan Moody, Passione popolare:

Antoine Marchand:
Following the French path, these recordings are outstanding:

Couperin - Leçons de Ténèbres / Daneman, Petibon, Les Arts Florissants, Christie

I think these two reviews on Amazon deliver a quite exact vision of this wonderful disc:

--- Quote ---An exquisite shining pearl - perfect, simply perfect., April 30, 2004
By Ingrid Heyn "No man is an Iland, intire of it... (Melbourne, Australia)

I possess every recording of these leçons that is currently available. As a soprano with a deep love for the baroque repertoire, I have performed these with fellow singer Katrena Mitchell in our duet ensemble "Sounds Sublime". The pieces themselves are as familiar to me as a byte is to a computer expert...

... and there is simply no recording to compete with this one.

It's exquisite from the very opening. In particular when Sophie Daneman and Patricia Petibon sing together, the work between the two and the ravishing vocal blend is something of which dreams are made. The pronunciation of the Latin is beautifully French, as it would have been performed at the time. The ornamentation and musicianship here is superb, as one would expect from a recording conducted by William Christie.

But the two singers are the highlight here, in this most ravishing of performances.

I have an enormous admiration for Emma Kirkby, but the recording of this work with her and Judith Nelson is stiff, unemotional, and blank in comparison with this recording. (I do not admire Nelson's voice, either, however much I admire Kirkby's.) The vocal beauty on this recording is truly sublime - this CD is one I listen to over and over again, always with a sigh and a smile.

Other versions, including a surprisingly bland rendition by Gens and Sandrine Piau, and two good countertenor versions and one not-so-good (oh dear, Deller...) are available, but nothing approaches the shimmering beauty of this version.

The pieces themselves are of heavenly beauty. I've never performed them without seeing audience members weeping with the beauty of the music.

I recommend this CD strongly.
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--- Quote ---By Joanna Daneman (Middletown, DE USA)

The service of Tenebrae (time of darkness--traditionally celebrated at 3 am) is a Holy Week liturgy taken from the Lamentations of Jeremiah. The other reason for the title "Darkness" is that it is accompanied by the solemn ceremony of stripping the altar before the total eclipse of Good Friday. Lighting is gradually reduced throughout the service, initially being fully lit, frequently by candles which are gradually extinguished as the service progresses, thus the name Tenebrae meaning Darkness is virtually performed as well.

Couperin's settings (composed in 1703) uses a few voices and few instrumentals in the French tradition of the service. This recording features sopranos Patricia Petibon and Sophie Daneman. The performance follows the French tradition also in the pronunciation of the Latin. The conductor took great care to reproduce the performance as the French would have heard it, and if you want the genuine experience, this recording surely comes the closest (as far as we can tell, from historical records.)

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I absolutely adore Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Russian Easter Festival Overture'.  Such an energetic, delightful work.

I made a huge mistake, earlier this week, of listening to this piece just before bedtime.  I could not fall asleep for hours because I was so energized and pumped up, and I was toe tapping and air conducting like a maniac.

I especially love the use of the triangle and the percussion in this marvelous work!  :)

First of all, I would like to mention Henning's Passion. Mandatory listening.

Of other recent pieces, there's a Passion by Knittel, which was received very well over here, but for some reason I can't "get into" it.

I guess no one (apart from me) knows Jozef Elsner's Passion. I like it well enough, though not being exactly well-versed in music of that style/period (don't even know Haydn's masses well) I can't really offer an informed opinion. Should be interesting at least by virtue of it being composed by Fryderyk Chopin's teacher.

(The one I know must be a different recording...)

It's odd to realize that the Passion I have been most faithful to over the years is Penderecki's... I truly love Bach and listen to his two a lot. And yet, despite the fact that I have "only" one recording of the Penderecki, it has somehow gained precedence. I do not listen to it as often as to Bach's passions - but I listen to Bach's at various moments in the year, while the Penderecki I associate almost strictly with Lent.

BTW, since the Stabat Mater sequence has been mentioned as well - Szymanowski's Stabat Mater, along with his Litany to the Virgin Mary, have got to be among the most beautiful things he ever composed.

And speaking of Penderecki, I have made a habit of listening to the second part of Utrenja (Resurrection) on Easter mornings.

Very odd - I don't listen to Penderecki all that much, generally. But these two pieces of his appear to hold a surprisingly important place in my listening.


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