Bruckner: Motets

Following their highly acclaimed recording of music by John Taverner (Delphian DCD34023), Duncan Ferguson and his Edinburgh choir turn their attention to one of the nineteenth century’s compositional giants. This sequence of motets – among them several little-known gems – is a testament to Bruckner’s profound Catholic faith, and the performances blaze with fire and fervour in the vast cathedral’s icy acoustic.

"This performance is just superb. It's the kind of disc you want to turn up to full volume and lose yourself in, whether you're of a religious bent or not. Through their crisp, measured phrases, limpid textures, and their reverent but never syrupy tone, they've captured the simplicity and humility of both texts and music...This is a disc to be revisited and savoured again and again"

"The Edinburgh singers perform with a robust though polished fervour. Alto, tenor and bass lines are beyond reproach, while the mixed-sex treble line copes admirably with exposed writing. The recorded sound is first-class, capturing both voices and instruments (including some excellent organ-playing) with an engaging immediacy."

"within seconds you are hooked...you are listening to a choir of humans who sing like angels...pitching in with total commitment at every possible dynamic level from fortissimo to the whisper of dulcet prayer...[the tenors] are remarkably healthy; while the basses have the kind of deep vigour mostly associated with Russian voices. What’s in Scotland’s water, vodka?"

"There's plenty of drive and commitment to this performance, which adds a sense of spiritual relevance beyond the solely musical...the overall effect is surprisingly uplifting thanks to the clarity and directness of the performance, helped by the cathedral's wonderful acoustic."

"this is Bruckner performed with no holds barred, but instead sung with passionate conviction and raw energy - there is nothing remotely polite about MacBruckner...you cannot but be aware of Bruckner's originality, and command of texture and sonority: can the art of modulation ever have been bettered? To hear this marvellous music given with such urgency and all-out commitment is a remarkable experience."

"The Edinburgh choristers (a mix of boy trebles and girls) are fearless in confronting Bruckner’s demands...This is an excellent disc. The performances are thrilling and intense and they are captured in an excellent recording that mixes spaciousness and clarity. The contributions of the uncredited organist (Nicholas Wearne?) and the RSAMD trombonists add a splendid sonority to some of the items."

"These motet performances...are thrillingly homogenous, conveying well the unifying purpose of the works, but also the ecstatic quality that pervades the mighty Ecce sacerdos and the quiet affirmation of Locus iste."

"There’s not a dud moment here...Ferguson’s singers are beyond reproach; intonation is never less than perfect and the sound made at full stretch is glorious – higher lines piercingly clear thanks to the cathedral’s choristers singing the soprano parts"

"This is a beautiful disc, one cannot help but be moved by the performance and these pieces"

Release date: 28 March 2011
Catalogue No: DCD34071
Total playing time: 1:02:10
Recorded on 31 May - 4 June 2010 at St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh
Producer & Engineer: Paul Baxter
24-bit digital editing: Paul Baxter & Adam Binks
24-bit digital mastering: Paul Baxter
Design: John Christ
Booklet editor: Andrew Caskie
Photography: Colin Dickson

Album Booklet

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