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Vaughan Williams: Mass In G Minor / Mackenzie, Et Al


Release Date: 02/28/2006 
Label:  Telarc   Catalog #: 80654   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ralph Vaughan WilliamsOlivier MessiaenMaurice DurufléAaron Copland,   ... 
Performer:  Nin HilesPam ElrodJames [Bass Voice] MorrowArietha Lockhart
Conductor:  Norman Mackenzie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 54 Mins. 

Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



MESSIAEN O sacrum convivium! TAVENER Song for Athene . VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Mass in g. DURUFLÉ 4 motets sure des thèmes grégoriens. COPLAND 4 Motets. TALLIS O sacrum convivium ? Norman Mackenzie, cond; Atlanta SO CCh ? Read more class="ARIAL12"> TELARC 80654 (54:21 & )


Unaccompanied choral works aren?t performed often on the concert stage, and perhaps it?s best to savor these mellow meditations in your own private space, preferably a warm bath tub with a scented candle lit nearby?or in the beatific church of your choice. Telarc has packaged a motley group of pieces sung sweetly by the Atlanta SO Chamber Chorus, a group founded by Robert Shaw, who passed the baton to his well-qualified successor, Norman Mackenzie. Put it all in a resonant sanctuary?The Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip?and you?ve got a lush, serene, austere CD. The austerity focuses our attention on the essential voices without the frills.


Telarc frames the program with a set of matching bookends: Olivier Messiaen?s and Thomas Tallis?s versions of O sacrum convivium . Though the two composers lived almost 400 years apart, it is reassuring to see that music has survived plague, wars, and inquisitions, and still can provide solace to the victims of our wicked human ways. The two versions of O sacrum convivium seem to salute each other with no imposition of chronological time. Being a bit of an anachronist, I prefer the Tallis. Early composers such as Tallis wrote unaccompanied choral music with an intensity that was ignited by ascetic purity, a quality that our comparatively effortless and harried modern lives often lack.


Perhaps the most stunning piece on the CD, and one worth the purchase price, is John Tavener?s Song for Athene , which, you may remember, was sung at Princess Diana?s funeral. It?s a knockout of a piece, and if you?re ever in the mood to shed tears, put this baby on and crank it up. Using words from Shakespeare and the Bible, the piece is profoundly moving without being maudlin. The music is transcendental, with a deus ex machina that some of the other pieces on this CD lack.


The Ralph Vaughan Williams Mass in g is, well, Vaughan Williamsish, which is to say lyrical and pastoral. The Maurice Duruflé Quatre motets sure des thèmes grégoriens is a nostalgic bow to Gregorian chant. Neither the Vaughan Williams nor the Duruflé attempt to explore new ground, but the familiarity doesn?t breed contempt so much as quietude.


Why Aaron Copland?s Four Motets, a student piece he wrote in Nadia Boulanger?s class in Paris in the 1920s, is included, I can?t understand, though you do get to hear Copland before he was, uh, Copland. I found that a dubious honor, not being much of a Copland enthusiast, though historically I suppose the piece has some interest for connoisseurs of Copland juvenilia.


The choral performances are solid, and it?s always a pleasure to hear nonprofessional singers, whose voices tend to blend in more natural and exuberant ways. The acoustics of the church augment the effect nicely. The CD is a neat addition for anyone who enjoys the unhindered and unadulterated sound of a cappella singing.


FANFARE: David Wolman
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Works on This Recording

1.
Mass in G minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Nin Hiles (Tenor), Pam Elrod (Alto), James [Bass Voice] Morrow (Bass),
Arietha Lockhart (Soprano)
Conductor:  Norman Mackenzie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920-1921; England 
2.
O sacrum convivium! by Olivier Messiaen
Conductor:  Norman Mackenzie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; France 
3.
Motets (4) on Gregorian themes, Op. 10 by Maurice Duruflé
Conductor:  Norman Mackenzie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; France 
4.
Motets (4) by Aaron Copland
Performer:  Arietha Lockhart (Soprano), Pam Elrod (Alto), Nin Hiles (Tenor),
James [Bass Voice] Morrow (Bass)
Conductor:  Norman Mackenzie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; Paris, France 
5.
O sacrum convivium by Thomas Tallis
Conductor:  Norman Mackenzie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
6.
Song for Athene by John Tavener
Conductor:  Norman Mackenzie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993; England 

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