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Schnittke: Concerto For Chorus, Requiem / Brych, Prague Philharmonic Chorus

Release Date: 09/23/2008 
Label:  Imports   Catalog #: 914039  
Composer:  Alfred Schnittke
Performer:  Petr KorinekStanislav MistrJiri NovotnyMarek Zvolánek,   ... 
Conductor:  Jaroslav Brych
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This disc presents two fairly conservative choral works by Alfred Schnittke (1934-98). For the most part, elements of Schnittke's famous polystylism are missing here, with both the Concerto for Choir (1990) and the Requiem (1975) framed in a recognizably tonal style. This may have something to do with the religious (or liturgical) nature of both works. Only in the Requiem does Schnittke's distinct character appear, with pointillistic passages among the female voices. Requiem has its origin as a Rex aeternam taken from his incidental music to Schiller's play Don Carlos. With an eerie organ in the background (wrong notes and all), the mood is thoroughly spectral--and not without hints of Schnittke's sly sense of humor. The Choir Concerto, Read more written for mixed a cappella choir, is based on the Book of Lamentations, a 10th century Slavic mystical text. It's dominated by powerful harmonies and real, discernible melodies.

Those used to Schnittke as the unpredictable master of hairpin turns and outbursts of brash atonality won't find any of that in these two works. The performances are quite good, particularly the female singers who have to manage their upper registers with strength and clarity. The recorded sound could be a shade cleaner, however. Even though the text for both works is provided in the accompanying booklet, in places, particularly in the Choir Concerto, it's a bit hard to follow. But that's a minor complaint, really. These two works definitely belong in anyone's choral and/or Schnittke collection.

- Paul Cook, ClassicsToday.com

"The Requiem is a powerful work in which the mystery of death is magnificently depicted - the Prague Philharmonic Choir's Quam Olim is appropriately ghostly." 5****

- Diapason
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Chorus by Alfred Schnittke
Conductor:  Jaroslav Brych
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984-1985; USSR 
2. Requiem by Alfred Schnittke
Performer:  Petr Korinek (Bass Guitar), Stanislav Mistr (Electric Guitar), Jiri Novotny (Trombone),
Marek Zvolánek (Trumpet), Ludmila Cermáková (Celesta), Lenka Navratilova (Piano),
Ales Bartá (Organ), Petr Klima (Tenor), Petr Holub (Percussion),
Miroslav Kejmar (Percussion), Rene Hokuf (Percussion), Jirí Svoboda (Percussion),
Marie Smaterova (Alto), Darina Glatzova (Soprano), Jana Sovakova (Soprano),
Martina Kritznerova (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jaroslav Brych
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1974-1975; USSR 

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