As the year draws to a close, the critics’ choice awards for the best new recordings of 2016 are being announced and we are delighted that these already include three Delphian titles (one of which gets two nominations).
Gramophone Critics’ Choice 2016
‘This performance is sumptuous enough to keep me satisfied for the whole year… This fayre is truly heavenly.’ (Marc Rochester)
Now firmly established among Oxbridge’s finest choral foundations and at the same time certainly its youngest, the Choir of Merton College can be relied upon to present a selection of favourite anthems which similarly combines fresh inspiration with timeless musical values. The choir’s fifth Delphian recording in five years again showcases the talents of its joint directors Benjamin Nicholas and Peter Phillips, with Phillips’ love of polyphony complemented by Nicholas’s flair and commitment in some of the twentieth century’s major choral works. Bookending these ‘favourites’ are Patrick Gowers’ now iconic Ascension Day anthem Viri Galilaei and Jonathan Dove’s newly minted Te Deum, commissioned by Merton College as part of the Merton Choirbook – the largest series of commissions of its kind in modern times, created in celebration of the College’s 750th anniversary. View album
Presto Classical Top 10 Discs of 2016
‘The Crucifixus really works, and hearing it as it was intended to be performed casts it in a totally different light… This is clearly a labour of love for Palmer and his musicians… I, for one, have certainly been won over – the superb musicianship on display shows Lotti in the best possible light.’
Despite a hugely prolific output spanning a career of more than 50 years, Antonio Lotti is now known almost exclusively for his eight-part setting of the ‘Crucifixus’. It is not widely known that that motet is in fact drawn from a complete Credo setting, itself part of the Missa Sancti Christophori that receives its first recording here. Much of Lotti’s music was written for the Basilica of San Marco in Venice at a time when expense and extravagance were not spared, and it is at the cutting edge of the galant style that prefigures the Classical era. Rhythmic shock and awe, masterful variety, incessant invention and outrageous, luscious harmonies make this music over-ripe for revival.
For their debut on Delphian, The Syred Consort and Orchestra of St Paul’s have collaborated with musicologist Ben Byram-Wigfield to bring this survey of Lotti’s music to life. Ben Palmer’s singers dazzle in their virtuosity, and the instrumentalists play with immaculately crisp ensemble. View album
MusicWeb International Recordings of the Year 2016
‘You are left in no doubt of the agony of the crucifixion in the vocal and horn climax of the opening chorus of Stabat Mater… intense and riveting.’
Lennox Berkeley’s Stabat Mater derives from one of the most fertile and inspired periods of his compositional life. A masterpiece, and until now the last of his major works to go unrecorded, it was written for a concert tour by his close friend Benjamin Britten’s English Opera Group; hence the unusual but effective scoring for six solo voices and twelve instrumentalists. Delphian artists The Marian Consort – with five acclaimed discs of early music to their credit – now show their versatility in a cappella and accompanied music by both Lennox and his son Michael Berkeley. They are partnered in the larger works by the Berkeley Ensemble, whose performances are enriched by their intimate knowledge of these composers’ music. The same can be said of conductor David Wordsworth, who has known and worked with both composers, and who here fulfils a long-cherished ambition to direct this important addition to the catalogue. View album
Special Offer: Get 25% off all these recordings until midnight on Monday 12 December. Use the coupon 2016SO at the checkout to claim your discount.
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