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Transcriptions Vol 2; Mendelssohn: Christus / Equilbey, Accentus

Mendelssohn / Vivaldi / Prokofiev / Accentus
Release Date: 02/25/2014 
Label:  Naive   Catalog #: 40043   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonio VivaldiFranz SchubertSergei ProkofievGustav Mahler,   ... 
Performer:  Brigitte EngererSolange AñorgaHélène MoulinRomain Champion,   ... 
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  AccentusLes monts du ReuilParis Orchestral Ensemble
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews


If you enjoyed this virtuoso choir's first transcriptions disc, you'll certainly want to have this follow-up recording; and if you're a choral fan and aren't yet acquainted with Accentus and its earlier program, you'll definitely want both of these exceptional discs. This one features the 40-voice choir in masterful transcriptions--as close to literal as possible--of both purely instrumental works (Vivaldi's "L'hiver" from the Four Seasons; several keyboard works by Bach, Debussy, Ravel, and Scriabin) and pieces originally for voice and either piano or orchestra (Schubert, Wagner, and Mahler songs). Where no texts were originally assigned, they are provided by the arrangers, ingeniously
Read more utilizing poetry of Rilke or Mallarmé, the Psalms, or the Requiem Mass.

While all of these settings are superbly accomplished and sung to the highest artistic and technical standard, perhaps the most impressive--I'd even use the word astonishing--is Clytus Gottwald's transcription of Debussy's piano piece "Des pas sur la neige". If you can't imagine how this lovely little prelude could be set with words and sung by a choir, well, you're in for a major surprise! It's so perfect in its realization and preservation of the original harmonic character, and yet the voices add such a unique atmospheric dimension that if you didn't know better you'd believe this could have been conceived for these forces. The same could be true for the selections from Ravel's Mother Goose, transcribed by Thierry Machuel. Franck Krawczyk's Vivaldi is quite clever and "fun", and the Schubert setting of Nacht und Träume is pure pleasure.

And that--pure pleasure--describes the whole disc, whose concept works because the arrangers/transcribers are so careful about and respectful of their source material, and are absolutely scrupulous in their treatment of voices relative to matters of range, register, textures, and expressive possibilities. In other words, if you know the original works, you will be completely at home here--but you also will experience new and pleasantly surprising facets of these pieces that only make them more rich and universally relevant. This is the kind of program--unique, virtuosic, yet easily accessible--that makes listening enjoyable and engaging, setting expectations for the next project, whatever it may be. Based on these performances--and knowing the adventurous and highly accomplished nature of this choir--I'm eagerly awaiting what's sure to be a worthy and very entertaining follow-up.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
reviewing the original release of Transcriptions 2, Naive 5048



MENDELSSOHN Christus 1. Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich. O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden 2. Vom Himmel hoch 3 Laurence Equibey, cond; 1,3 Sandrine Piau (sop); 1 Robert Getchell (ten); 1 Laurent Slaars, 1,2,3 Markus Butter (bar); Accentus; Paris O Ens NAÏVE 5265 (48:19 Text and Translation)


This release is a celebration of Felix Mendelssohn in the thrall of the Lutheran chorale. From his early study of Johann Sebastian Bach’s settings as a student of Carl Friedrich Zelter, culminating in the well-known revival of the nearly forgotten St. Matthew Passion with Zelter’s Berlin Singakademie in 1829 when he was but 20 years old, Mendelssohn was consumed by the earlier composer’s choral works. They provided a major stimulus for the younger composer’s best-known works, Eljah and St. Paul , while the generally less-familiar works recorded here by the Paris-based Accentus and the Paris Orchestral Ensemble show an even closer kinship, with Lutheran chorale tunes providing either the melodic basis for the work or being quoted at pivotal moments in them.


Christus , op. 97, was to be the successor to St. Paul and Elijah , had Mendelssohn lived long enough to complete it. When he died at age 38 in 1847, approximately a third of it was complete. The six choral movements published by Breitkopf & Härtel, including the familiar chorus “Es wird ein Stern aus Jacob aufgehn,” are performed here, consisting of three movements each from the first two parts of what was to be a three-part work. These consist of a soprano recitative, a trio for the Three Kings, a dramatic sequence with tenor recitative and chorus presenting Pilate’s questioning of the crowd, and three choruses. The chorale “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern” is used to fine effect as the peaceful ending to the part dealing with the Nativity and “Er nimmt auf seinen Rücken,” used by Bach in the St. Matthew Passion , is set in Mendelssohn’s best Baroque-inspired style at the end of “The Passion of Christ.” The three cantatas were composed in a rush of inspiration occasioned by the gift of a book of Lutheran chorales while he toured Europe between 1829 and 1831. O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden came first, a dramatic cantata for baritone with a decidedly non-Baroque treatment of the chorale. The Christmas cantata Von Himmel hoch , with soprano and baritone, and Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich pay further tribute to the chorale as Mendelssohn developed new styles for setting the old melodies.


All of the pieces display the beauty and serenity Mendelssohn created with such deceptive ease, and it is this above all that Accentus and its orchestral partners bring to these performances. There is of course the chorus’s legendary perfection of diction, intonation, and blend, but it is the exquisite tone and buoyant rhythm that most impresses. The soloists match them in all this: soprano Sandrine Piau radiant in a way that recalls Lucia Popp, Robert Getchell pure-toned and unaffected in the recitatives, and Markus Butter a little strained by the tessitura of O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden , but otherwise magisterial and rich in tone.


Christus is available in several recordings, including a new one from the Rondeau label reviewed adjacently. The monumental 12-volume Mendelssohn Church Music edition on Carus with the Stuttgart Chamber Chorus conducted by Frieder Bernius of course includes it and all of the cantatas. The Stuttgart performances are uniformly excellent: graceful, vivid, and classically poised, and in superb sound. The 20-plus-year-old Michel Corboz recordings of Christus and two of the cantatas are also well performed, but now seem rather heavy and overly reverent in comparison. Originally on Erato, they are now available in an imported Warner Classics box of mixed interest. There have been numerous additional recordings of the cantatas as well, in various programs. However, the performances in this new recording are in every way the equal to the best of their predecessors. What is more, the engineering is a perfect complement to the performances: detailed, airy, and palpable. It is hard to imagine anyone being able to resist the charm of this release. If this program appeals, the performances will richly compensate the investment, despite the rather short timing.


FANFARE: Ronald E. Grames
reviewing the original release of Christus, Naive 5265 Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin in F minor, Op. 8 no 4/RV 297 "L'inverno" by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus,  Les monts du Reuil
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 8 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
2.
Litanei auf das Fest Aller Seelen, D 343 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Brigitte Engerer (Piano)
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 4 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Language: German 
3.
Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78: Field of the Dead by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938/1939; USSR 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 4 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
4.
Lieder und Gesänge, vol 3: no 3, Scheiden and Meiden by Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: German 
5.
Wesendonck Lieder: no 3, Im Treibhaus by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Solange Añorga (Soprano)
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1858; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: German 
6.
Winterreise, D 911/Op. 89: no 20, Der Wegweiser by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: German 
7.
Nacht und Träume, D 827 by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: German 
8.
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: no 4, Die zwei blauen Augen by Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1896; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 4 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: German 
9.
Préludes, Book 1: no 6, Des pas sur la neige by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; France 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: French 
10.
Shéhérazade: no 2, La flûte enchantée by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Solange Añorga (Soprano), Hélène Moulin (Alto), Romain Champion (Tenor)
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; France 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: French 
11.
Shéhérazade: no 3, L'indifférent by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Hélène Moulin (Alto), Solange Añorga (Soprano), Romain Champion (Tenor)
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; France 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: French 
12.
Ma mère l'oye: Pavane de la belle au bois dormant by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Solange Añorga (Soprano)
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908-1910; France 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 1 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: French 
13.
Ma mère l'oye: Le jardin féerique by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Solange Añorga (Soprano)
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: French 
14.
Trauerchöre (5), Op. 9: no 4, Grablied by Peter Cornelius
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 1 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: German 
15.
Psalms (3) after JS Bach, Op. 13 by Peter Cornelius
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; Munich, Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: German 
16.
Preuve par la neige: Si comme la lune... by Gerard Pesson
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 1 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: French 
17.
Preuve par la neige: La lune paraît by Gerard Pesson
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 06/2006 
Venue:  The Arsenal, Metz, France 
Length: 1 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: French 
18.
Christus, Op. 97 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Markus Butter (Bass), Robert Getchell (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestral Ensemble,  Accentus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
19.
Vom Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Markus Butter (Bass), Robert Getchell (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestral Ensemble,  Accentus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Germany 
20.
Verleih uns Frieden by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Markus Butter (Bass), Robert Getchell (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestral Ensemble,  Accentus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Germany 
21.
O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Markus Butter (Bass), Robert Getchell (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestral Ensemble,  Accentus
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 

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