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Holten: The Marriage Of Heaven & Hell / Holten, Bbc Singers


Release Date: 02/17/2004 
Label:  Dacapo   Catalog #: 8224214   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Bo Holten
Performer:  Micaela HaslamCatherine Bott
Conductor:  Bo Holten
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Singers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A splendid, magnificently sung disc boasting lush, richly chromatic writing

It’s good to see that Bo Holten’s choral music has merited an entire disc to itself, and since he has been guest-conducting the BBC Singers since 1991 it is appropriate that they should be the elected choir for the occasion. Holten’s range is perhaps bewilderingly vast – he can justifiably be described as eclectic (the booklet-notes make rather a point of his unconventional aesthetic stance both as composer and performer) – but it is always accomplished.

Lushly chromatic writing characterises the Blake cycle The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, which Holten describes as his ‘most substantial and ambitious a cappella work’. ‘The Sick
Read more Rose’ is particularly successful, and it is good that he is not afraid to set such well-known texts. ‘The Tyger’ seems to me less so in that it gives everything away at once (its dense textures make for an interesting comparison with Tavener’s version), but there are many delights in the rest of the cycle, from the arresting simplicity of the ‘Cradle Song’, whose solo is affectingly done by Micaela Haslam, to the unexpected quotations from earlier music in ‘Spring’ and ‘Night’.

First Snow comprises two landscapes by the Icelandic poet Stephan G Stephanson, which summon rugged music from Holten, but A Time for Everything (setting Ecclesiastes) and Rain and Rush and Rosebush, to words by Hans Christian Andersen, are both more immediately attractive and, I think, more substantial. The latter also features some stunning stratospheric work by Catherine Bott. In Nomine is exactly the thing to finish with, however. It’s a tour de force, a BBC Singers commission setting the In nominee chant in manifold canons for 24 voices, the section from Taverner’s Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas appearing from time to time sung by a semi-chorus, ever more distant. A shining conclusion to a splendid, magnificently sung disc.

-- Ivan Moody, Gramophone [5/2004]
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Works on This Recording

1.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by Bo Holten
Performer:  Micaela Haslam (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bo Holten
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992-1995; Denmark 
Language: English 
2.
First Snow by Bo Holten
Conductor:  Bo Holten
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996; Denmark 
Language: English 
3.
In nomine by Bo Holten
Conductor:  Bo Holten
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999; Denmark 
Language: Latin 
4.
A Time for Everything by Bo Holten
Conductor:  Bo Holten
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990; Denmark 
Language: Danish 
5.
Mist and Rain and Rosebush by Bo Holten
Performer:  Catherine Bott (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bo Holten
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; Denmark 
Language: Danish 

Featured Sound Samples

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: The Sick Rose
In nomine

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