Figure Humaine

Swedish Radio Choir

15.9927.49
Clear
Original Recording Format: DSD 64

To issue a CD of Poulenc’s most important choral work is to make a huge statement, and to take something of a risk. Why does one do it? Aren’t there enough recordings already?

Having said that, in my case it’s simply dire necessity. This work is so beautiful, so impressive, and so important to the canon of twentieth-century choral music, that I cannot resist having a say of my own. I do believe that Poulenc´s 12-part Figure humaine is the most beautiful and impressive a cappella choral work that I know. The poet Eluard and composer Poulenc formed a perfect match. Eluard’s poignant and sinister surrealistic texts are very moving, and their wonderfully expressive language depicts the horrors of the Second World War. It is without doubt a harrowing work, with a pièce de résistance to end: the eighth and final movement Liberté. In the most beautiful words, it expresses the omnipresent urge for liberty. Poulenc’s setting is simply wonderful, with a gigantic buildup to the concluding, ultimate cry of LIBERTÉ!

It is a great joy to perform this sort of music with my Swedish Radio Choir. The ensemble is a very strong group, and most eager to stretch its boundaries. The strength of the group is not merely the sum of its individual qualities. At the moment when these qualities merge into one, the group develops still further, and the ensemble attains a higher elevation. However important blending of the sound may be, it may not be at the expense of individual colour and personality. Choirs are frequently recorded from a considerable distance, perhaps to improve the blend. I often find the resulting sound to be distant, and detrimental to the clarity of the text. The recording technique of Channel Classics seeks to establish a synthesis, combining directness and clarity with spatial effect. This is exactly my own approach to choral timbre: the choir must achieve the greatest unity and blend, but also allow space for individual colour. It is at such moments that the listener feels personally involved, and the music gains a human aspect. I am convinced that this is the sound Poulenc had in mind when he wrote Figure humaine.

Peter Dijkstra

Tracklist

1.
Mass In G-Major - Kyrie
03:53
2.
Mass In G-Major - Gloria
03:59
3.
Mass In G-Major - Sanctus
02:32
4.
Mass In G-Major - Benedictus
03:05
5.
Mass In G-Major - Agnus Dei
05:05
6.
Sept Chansons - I La blanche neige
01:01
7.
Sept Chansons - II A peine défigurée
01:46
8.
Sept Chansons - III Par une nuit nouvelle
01:29
9.
Sept Chansons - IV Tous les droits
02:51
10.
Sept Chansons - V Belle et ressemblante
02:21
11.
Sept Chansons - VI Marie
02:19
12.
Sept Chansons - VII Luire
02:04
13.
Un Soir De Neige - I De grandes cuillers de neige?
01:26
14.
Un Soir De Neige - II La bonne neige?
01:03
15.
Un Soir De Neige - III Bois meurtri?
02:03
16.
Un Soir De Neige - IV La nuit la froid la solitude?
01:01
17.
Figure Humaine - I De tous les printemps du monde?
03:11
18.
Figure Humaine - II En chantant les servantes s?élancent
02:14
19.
Figure Humaine - III Aussi bas que le silence?
01:44
20.
Figure Humaine - IV Toi ma patiente?
02:08
21.
Figure Humaine - V Riant du ciel et des planètes
01:00
22.
Figure Humaine - VI Le jour m?étonne et la nuit me fait peur ?
01:46
23.
Figure Humaine - VII La menace sous le ciel rouge?
02:44
24.
Figure Humaine - VIIIi Liberté
05:16

Total time: 00:58:01

Additional information

Artists

Mastering Equipment

B+W 803 diamond series

Conductors

Genres

,

Label

Qualities

, , ,

Channels

, ,

Original Recording Format

Cables

van den Hul

Composers

Digital Converters

Grimm DSD A/D converter

Microphones

Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps

Mastering Engineer

Jared Sacks

Mixing Board

Rens Heijnis custom made

Producer

Hein Dekker

Recording Engineer

Hein Dekker, Jared Sacks

Recording location

Stockholm, Sweden

Recording Software

Pyramix

Speakers

Audiolab

Recording Type & Bit Rate

DSD64

Awards

, , , , ,

SKU

31411

Release Date January 1, 2014
SKU 31411

Press reviews

Klassik.com

Der Chor gibt die jeweiligen Stimmungen der Sätze oder Passagen angemessen wieder: tänzerisch in ‘Marie’ (‘Sept Chansons’), nachdenklich in ‘De grandes cuillers de neige’ (‘Un soir de neige’) oder hämisch in ‘Riant du ciel et des planètes’ (‘Figure humaine’). Die Intonation ist makellos, der Chorklang angenehm weich und harmonisch, die Phrasierungen stimmig und rund.

HVT

De opname is van bekende Channel-Classics-klasse, de uitvoerenden (..) van wereldniveau onder leiding van Peter Dijkstra. (…) Nogmaals hulde!

Het Parool

Onder leiding van de jonge, talentvolle Nederlandse chef-dirigent Peter Dijkstra zingt het Zweeds Radio Koor vier ronduit schitterende koorwerken van Poulenc. Tegelijkertijd laat het horen waarom het geldt als één van de beste kamerkoren ter wereld. (…) Meesterwerken.

De Volkskrant

De opname is op het eerste gehoor confronterend direct. Maar het komt de zeggingskracht van de muziek ten goede. De Zweedse zangers leveren ongelooflijk knap gezongen uitvoeringen, waarin de harmonische ontwikkelingen zo zijn gedrapeerd en gestapeld dat er fantastische sonoriteiten ontstaan, die soms zelfs grenzen aan rauwe, bijna uitgekreten spreekkoren. (…) een hartstochtelijke ode aan de vrijheid.

De Gelderlander

De Nederlandse koordirigent Peter Dijkstra kneedt het Swedish Radio Choir tot topprestaties (…). De opname is heel direct, maar dat maakt het alleen maar spannender (…)

SA-CD.net

The ethereal solo contributions of soprano Jessica Bäcklund and alto Christiane Höjlund in the ‘Agnus Dei’ deserve special mention. (…) Channel Classic’s superb DSD recording made in the Musikaliska, Stockholm presents the choir in a spacious acoustic that accommodates the huge dynamic range of the singing without strain. (…) This challenging, but rewarding disc is confidently recommended.
Performance ***** Sonics*****

BBC Music

The Mass, performed with unusual power as well as the expected gentle lucidity, gives this CD an arresting start (…) To have all four works you can confidently choose this new release.

Gramophone

Ribbons of joy fly brightly through the Gloria and Sanctus of the Mass from 1937. (…) Peter Dijkstra keeps the music moving and flowing (…)

Classics Today

The 35-voice choir makes a suitably full-bodied sound, yet keeps the individual lines clean and clear and the textures rich and vibrant, confirming once again the reasons that make us not only so happy to listen but that also make us want to sing. Channel Classics’ Jared Sacks has been recording choirs for a long time–and as one of the first to fully appreciate, understand, and utilize the potential of digital recording, he consistently produces demonstration-quality recordings that present the performers in an acoustic setting that’s most favorable to their art and to their music. This is no exception–and although there are many alternatives in the CD catalog–from Accentus, The Sixteen, The Netherlands Chamber Choir, to name a few–they lack just that slight, vibrant edge and exuberance characterized in these performances, which should find a place in every choral music lover’s library. Highly recommended.

International Record Review

This is a first-rate disc of some of Poulenc’s finest music. (…) The radiance and resonance of the singing is altogether exceptional and Dijkstra’s conducting moulds the music lovingly but never indulgently. (…) it’s great to hear Poulenc’s tricky choral writing rendered with such control and beauty of tone. (…)

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