Cantatrix is an ensemble aiming for the highest level of choral singing. In their first cd the singers present their group in a programme of mainly contemporary music. The principal characteristic of the repertoire in this recording is a high degree of variety, resulting in – you guessed – contrasts.
The contrasts in the programme are indeed considerable. The various languages, styles and cultures, from Latin to Frisian, from Elgar’s romanticism to the contemporary sounds of composers like Whitacre and Mäntyjärvy, from sacred texts to ‘chansons des roses’.
The subject matter: love and happiness side by side with the sorrow caused by death. Morten Lauridsen, an American composer of Danish descent, sets to music words by Rilke, a German poet who writes in French. And Coen Vermeeren, whose roots are in Holland’s southern province of Brabant, takes a trip up north when he composes ‘Keanskes Lêste Liet’ to words in the Frisian language. Bien étonnés de se trouver ensemble!
Total time: 01:01:44
Biebl, Elgar, Gorecki, Laurdsen, Mantyjarvy, Vermeeren, Whitacre
|Original Recording Format|
Nederlands Hervormde Kerk Oosthem Netherland
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||July 15, 2016|
“Vocal Ensemble Cantatrix is a Dutch amateur mixed choir, conducted by the luxuriously named Geert-Jan van Beijeren en Henegouwen. Cantatrix number about 28 members, and aim to attain professional standards in their concert engagements. This is their first recording. There is no doubt that they are in the upper echelons of European choirs. Their sound is quite distinctive, and rather than the over-drilled tonal homogeneity of some, each section has a distinct character (faithfully revealed by Aliud’s pure DSD recording), with bright, vibrant sopranos and some satisfyingly profound basses.
‘Contrasts’ refers to the wide range of origin, culture and poetic inspiration of the composers on offer, mostly from the C20th, except Elgar. It has to be said that there is not a great variety of musical styles in this programme, which is mostly of slow or moderate paced and very melodic pieces. However, there is a good balance of sacred and secular music, which is mostly presented in composer-led groups. Although captured at 7 sessions over nearly two months (2008) in a small Frisian church, the Aliud engineering has managed to produce a surprisingly good matching of choral perspective and tonal similarity. In the Multi Channel tracks, the discrete and helpful ambience of the church adds to the presence and depth of the choir, which is spread quite widely between the speakers, and with each section clearly located. This is very much a “you are there” recording, adding much to the whole program. I greatly enjoyed this richly rewarding and attractive programme, and have played it often. It would make an excellent introduction to modern choral music. Recommended. Performance: 4 Stars, Stereo & Surround Sound Sonic Quality: 5 Stars.”
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