For most of the 20th century, the two giants of Hungarian music were Bartok and Kodaly. Following his explosion on the international scene in the mid-60s, Gyorgi Ligeti, a student of Kodaly, was added to that list.
Kodaly was one of the most significant early figures in the field of ethnomusicology. He also composed prolifically for choirs. All of the Kodaly works on this album were influenced by folk music and chart the composer’s development from the world of late romanticism to the mini-cantata Matrai kepek (Matra pictures), including a shimmering performance of Esti Dal (Evening Song), his most beloved choral work.
Most of music that Ligeti composed for a cappella choir was written in the mid-50s while still in Budapest. Alongside numerous folk song arrangements, like Mátraszentimrei Dalok, were pieces like Éjszaka – Reggel (Night – Morning) which were already pushing the sonic boundaries with clusters and onomatopoeic sounds. Ligeti’s mature style can be heard in the shimmering and justifiably famous Lux Aeterna while the late Drei Phantasien (on texts by Friedrich Holderlin) described by Ligeti himself as “emotional, “onomatopoetic,” overwrought, 16-voiced pieces (not micropolyphonic!)” is an example of his late Post-Modernist style.
For this very special and demanding repertoire, both teacher and student are in good hands with the Danish National Vocal Ensemble and conductor Marcus Creed. Audiophiles will also be richly rewarded with the vivid imaging and “as real as it gets” sonic presence thanks to producer Michael Emery and technician Mikkel Nymand.
Danish National Vocal Ensemble
Marcus Creed, Conductor
Total time: 00:49:53
|Analog to Digital Converter||
Horus, Merging Technologies at DXD (24 bit, 352.8 kHz)
Pyramix Digital Audio Workstation, Merging Technologies
DPA 4006-TL, Neumann M149 and U89, Neumann U67 for soloists
|Original Recording Format|
DR Studio 2 in Copenhagen, Denmark on January 7-8, 2020 (tracks 2-7, 11-13) and September 9-10, 2021 (tracks 1, 8-10)
|Release Date||March 4, 2022|
Choral singing doesn’t come any better than this and Marcus Creed’s conducting is equally superb… All-in-all then, something of a show-stopper.
…just let this immaculately-performed, faithfully-recorded, and pleasingly well-documented CD amaze you with what the most natural of musical instruments – the human voice – can achieve in the hands of such a stunning choir as the Danish National Vocal Ensemble, under Marcus Creed’s superlative direction, especially in such a wonderful mix of challenging, yet eminently entertaining repertoire, for listener and performer alike.
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