WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org
Welcome to ArkivMusic, the retail store for classical.net!

Lauridsen: Nocturnes / Layton, Polyphony, Britten Sinfonia


Release Date: 02/13/2007 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67580   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Morten Lauridsen
Performer:  Andrew LucasMorten LauridsenAndrew Lumsden
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  PolyphonyBritten Sinfonia
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
This title is currently unavailable.



Notes and Editorial Reviews

At this disc's opening you may believe you've stumbled into a Benjamin Britten program--especially surprising if you're familiar with some of Morten Lauridsen's more popular recent choral works, none of which sounds anything like the robustly rhythmic, melodically angular, harmonically edgy first of the Mid-Winter Songs. This 1980 song-cycle (orchestrated in 1983), which sets five poems by Robert Graves, shows both the composer's affinity for assertive, theatrical-scale dramatic writing and his facility for thematic development and text-setting. The third song, She tells her love while half asleep, is itself a miniature masterpiece of mood and textual explication, its theme a delightfully insinuating presence that holds your attention but Read more also drives the music forward into the next song.

Les chansons des roses, the second of three song-cycles on this program, represents the music that's most closely identified with Lauridsen's recent popular style. This is the extended harmony and idiosyncratic voicing (lots of second-inversion chords and delayed cadences) we know from pieces such as O magnum mysterium and Lux aeterna. The first song, En une seule fleur, seems like it could be a speeded-up Dirait-on (which actually is the cycle's last song, and on its own probably Lauridsen's most wildly successful composition); the second, Contre qui, rose, and the fourth, La rose complète, have many reminders of O magnum mysterium; and De ton rêve trop plein, the third song, gives a nod to the choral chansons of Ravel.

This is great stuff, and it's given its best imaginable realization by Stephen Layton and his crack vocal ensemble Polyphony--which, by the way, already produced a first-rate Lauridsen program that includes the Lux aeterna. There are several first-recordings here, and among them the Ave, dulcissima Maria, for a cappella men's voices, and Sure on this shining night (the last piece in the song-cycle Nocturnes) are standouts, for the sheer unembellished beauty of the writing--and the singing. The sound, recorded in two different London churches in 2006, has a pleasing resonance that preserves the essential detail among the voices while offering proper balance with the instruments. For choral--and especially Lauridsen--fans, neglecting this disc is not an option.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Mid-Winter Songs (5) by Morten Lauridsen
Performer:  Andrew Lucas (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony,  Britten Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; USA 
2. Les chansons des roses by Morten Lauridsen
Performer:  Morten Lauridsen (Piano)
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993; USA 
3. I will lift up mine eyes by Morten Lauridsen
Performer:  Andrew Lumsden (Organ), Andrew Lumsden (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
4. O come, let us sing unto the Lord by Morten Lauridsen
Performer:  Andrew Lumsden (Organ), Andrew Lumsden (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
5. Ave, dulcissima Maria by Morten Lauridsen
Performer:  Morten Lauridsen (Finger Cymbals), Morten Lauridsen (Finger Cymbals)
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
6. Nocturnes for Chorus and Piano by Morten Lauridsen
Performer:  Morten Lauridsen (Piano)
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Written: 2005/2008; USA 
Notes: 
Nocturne No 1: Sa nuit d'été 'Si je pourrais avec mes mains brûlantes'
Nocturne No 2: Soneto de la noche 'Cuando yo muera quiero tus manos en mis ojos'
Nocturnes No 3: Sure on this shining night
 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook