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Lux Aeterna - Duruflé, Poulenc, / Dijkstra, The Gents

Release Date: 06/14/2005 
Label:  Channel Classics   Catalog #: 22405   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Maurice Duruflé
Conductor:  Peter Dijkstra
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Gents
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Although all of the works on this two-CD program have received fine renditions on previous recordings, you won't find better performances than these, and to have all of this very compatible repertoire in one place makes both artistic and practical sense for collectors. Peter Dijkstra and The Gents, joined by a well-matched group of women singers, capture the sensuous flow and serene spirituality of Duruflé's Requiem, one of the great sacred masterpieces of the 20th century. The version here is the one with organ, and together both instrument and choir maintain the critical components of tempo, dynamics, and texture with consistent sensitivity to the expression of the liturgical texts while
Read more giving full measure to the sheer beauty of the music. Mezzo Christianne Stotijn and cellist Quirine Viersen deliver a stunningly affecting Pie Jesu (although some may object to its very slow tempo), their timbres at times almost eerily identical, and their interpretive concept at one with organist Erwin Wiersinga.

I've never been a fan of the meandering Messe cum Jubilo, in which the Gregorian-theme idea is taken to the extreme--but here The Gents capture the inflections and phrasing of the chant very effectively, again in ideal balance with the organ. The other Duruflé work, the tiny yet very lovely Notre Père, is performed by men alone in four parts, a cappella. Since the only versions created by the composer are for unison voices and organ or for SATB choir, we must presume that this one was devised by The Gents, transposing the original down a tone. However, virtually no explanation is given in the notes, an irritating and unnecessary omission that assumes no one cares or will be paying attention to a detail that actually does matter to some listeners. In fact, if I have one complaint here, it's that there's more information given regarding the performers than about the music, and what we do get is pretty sketchy.

The Poulenc works are outstandingly sung, showing the technical prowess and stylistic refinement that makes The Gents one of the world's top vocal ensembles. Just listen to the perfect intonation and dead-accurate, fast-chord changes in "Tout puissant, très saint" and to the warm, sumptuous sound and excellent balances in "Seigneur, je vous en prie". And Messiaen's classic--and very difficult--O sacrum convivium makes a moving and memorable disc closer. Needless to say, the engineering is as exemplary as the performances. Outstanding! [6/2/2005]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Requiem, Op. 9 by Maurice Duruflé
Conductor:  Peter Dijkstra
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Gents
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; Paris, France 
Notre Père, Op. 14 by Maurice Duruflé
Conductor:  Peter Dijkstra
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Gents
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1978; France 
Mass "Cum jubilo", Op. 11 by Maurice Duruflé
Conductor:  Peter Dijkstra
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Gents
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; France 

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