DCD34164-CD

Stravinsky: Choral Works

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Since taking the helm of the St Mary’s choir in Edinburgh, Duncan Ferguson has directed them in four composer-led recording projects – featuring Taverner, John Sheppard, Bruckner and Gabriel Jackson. Every one of these discs has attracted editors’ choices from one or more specialist classical magazines. Now, in Ferguson’s most ambitious project to date, the choir are joined by players from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and vocal soloists Ruby Hughes and Nicholas Mulroy to record major works by the twentieth century’s most influential composer. The choir rarely get to perform Stravinsky’s Mass in its full version with wind instruments accompanying rather than organ (‘We love it!’ proclaimed the choristers), while a performance of the Cantata with cathedral choristers rather than an adult choir is rare indeed. Also included are Stravinsky’s ‘completions’ of three cantiones sacrae by Gesualdo; their weird contrapuntal twists and turns are relished by this intelligent, committed choir, and provide a stark contrast to the austere simplicity of Stravinsky’s own short sacred choruses. Gabriel Jackson provides the illuminating accompanying essay.

"Edinburgh's mixed cathedral choir bring vernal freshness to the cantata."

"Beautifully sung and blessed with outstandingly vivid recorded sound. We are brought close to the performers in an attractively resonant space, the best of both worlds for religious or quasi-religious fare in which clarity matters as much as atmosphere."

"This disc shows off a choir of distinction. Their fresh, youthful sound (there are girl as well as boy choristers) lends colour to the studious dourness of Stravinsky’s deliberately monochrome Mass (1948) and Cantata (1952) on medieval English texts."

"The choir sounds fresh and lively, thoroughly relishing Stravinsky’s angular vocal writing, while the SCO Soloists are no less engaged. Ferguson finds exactly the right tempi and a slightly detached level of expression…he is fortunate to have two fine soloists in Ruby Hughes and Nicholas Mulroy for Cantata…to round off their satisfying programme, Ferguson and his Edinburgh choir give an exemplary account of Tres sacrae cantiones…highly recommended."

"The Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, give a youthful spin on the monochrome Mass."

MAIL ON SUNDAY

"The real pleasure is in the choral sound, the Edinburgh boys alternately euphonious and pungent...Essential listening, good sleeve art and handsomely recorded."

"This is one of the best Stravinsky discs I have had the pleasure to listen to in these last months. The singing is revelatory, and Duncan Ferguson oozes out performances full of fervour and crystalline beauty."

MUSIC & VISION

Producer: Paul Baxter
Release Date: 26 August 2016
Catalogue No: DCD34164
Total playing time: 0:59:54

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