Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Stravinsky with a distinctive British sound

This is the second new Stravinsky choral disc I've come across this summer; it's due for release on August 26, 2016. When the music is as beautifully played and sung as it is here, by the Choir of St. Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Duncan Ferguson, and in Philippe Herreweghe's disc with the Collegium Vocale Gent and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, you can only sit in wonder at the genius of the great composer, and listen gratefully to such artful construction and spiritual depth.

The works on this Delphian disc are in most cases earlier and less austere. The writing is easier on the ear, though always Stravinskyan. Since the high voices are sung by trebles there is an English (whoops, better say British) sound to the music which I often found quite appealing. Incidentally, St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh was the first cathedral in Britain to use girls as well as boys in its choir. They sound fabulous:

There's only one short piece that the two new discs have in common: the first of the Gesualdo motets that Stravinsky edited, Da Pacem Domine. Again, there's a distinctive sound from the Scottish choir, though I think the Belgian singers come out just ahead in this instance. Nevertheless, this is a fine recording, and one I'm sure I will listen to often in the future.

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