While Naxos has made their name with an seemingly endless amount of series, including the very successful "American Classics", many of their choral releases seem to fall under the radar. Perhaps they realize this as well, because their recent catalogs have upped the ante with some really interesting projects. I already raved about Elora's latest disc of psalms and motets, but this program is more ambitious still. Over an hour of music revolving around the Lamentations of Jeremiah, with one of Britain's finest new choirs and two new pieces just for this project? Yes, please!
The choir has an absolutely stunning sound, aided by the marvelous acoustic provided while recording in France. (If you are a choir, record in France: Robert Shaw's most ethereal work was also recorded there.) The pieces are simply lovely, from composers as diverse as Britten to Pablo Casals. Who knew that the great cellist penned such a work? It's a treat, and shows a real understanding of choral work. The new pieces – Duggan's and McDowall's – fit naturally into this program of rarities and masterpieces with ease. Duggan, both sopranos, and even director Christopher Watson all sing in the choir, which I think works in the favor of the project as a whole. It allows everyone involved, whether as conductor, composer, or soloist to possess a unique understanding of this choir's methods and sounds. The results are of the highest quality. If you love choral music, you'll love this.
Copyright © 2013, Brian Wigman