Helmuth Rilling is an excellent conductor and interpreter of Bach's sacred music. Recorded from 1969 to 1985, over a longer period of time than most other sets, there is a lot of change throughout the series. Rilling's recordings are more dense and lush than others, and his tempi are often slower than HIP recordings - no "original instruments" for Rilling. But he creates such a detailed sound-world that any fan of these works should want to hear Rilling's versions to compare with others. This said, Rilling often uses a technique that I find a bit disturbing. He'll have one instrument or group of instruments sequestered to one track, and others on the other track, giving a sound similar to that of early Beatles' stereo mixes, where vocals were on one track and instruments on the other.
Spanning landscapes from Mexico to Canada, the Pacific Crest Trail covers thousands of miles of natural beauty, creating a transformative journey captured in FROM WILDERNESS from Navona Records. Choral Arts Initiative, conducted by Brandon Elliott and joined by cellist Kevin Mills, paints these landscapes from composer Jeffrey Derus with vibrant color, with vocal soloists giving identities to the spirit animals one may encounter on the trail. A concert-length work and meditation, the listener will hear a wash of sounds that allow for introspective reflection on the sacredness of nature, the profound text, and themselves.
Under Director Richard K. Pugsley, the US-based choir Gloriæ Dei Cantores has gained a reputation for its impeccable vocal blend as well as bold programming, including its recent championing of the music of Jewish composer Samuel Adler. Adler and his family escaped Nazi Germany in 1939, settling in the United States, where he went on to compose more than 400 works. European and American influences unite in his choral music, most notably in Choral Trilogy, an ambitious work for choir and organ that nods to both Herbert Howells and Adler’s teacher Aaron Copland. In “Psalm 23”, Adler sets Hebrew and English texts, acknowledging both his heritage and adopted home in music of mesmerising beauty. To Speak to Our Time, commissioned for the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, brings the plight of refugees across the world into powerful focus.
Born into a musical family in Wales in 1572, Thomas Tomkins became one of the most significant church musicians in England during the 17th century. In his mature years he shared his time between his duties as Choral Master at Worcester Cathedral and organist of the King's Chapel in London, and was regarded among the outstanding organists of his time. His madrigals were the most important in the English school of composition, and among his considerable output was included over 120 anthems, many of his outstanding works included in this disc of Tomkins' highlights.
As a young composer, Edward Nesbit was drawn to the rich complexities of contemporary instrumental music; little more than a decade later, he has found himself returning to the inheritance of his early youth as a chorister: the texts of mass, psalms and canticles, and the long centuries of the Anglican choral tradition. Not that there is anything traditional about Nesbit’s music, which synthesises these two heritages into a soundworld that is accessible, full of references yet always recognisably its own voice.