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  Naïve -
  Accentus - Transcriptions
  "Transcriptions" Bach, Barber, Mahler etc.

Choeur de Chambre Accentus
Laurence Equilbey
Track listing:
  Classical - Vocal
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 1

Review by beardawgs February 22, 2005 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
No need for the warning bells to ring – as much as it looks like one of those “Classic FM relaxing classics” or “100 best classical tunes”, this disc is a genuine work of greatest artistry and has some of the best choral singing I’ve heard for a long, long time. And the fact that 6 out of 11 items here are transcribed for ‘a cappella’ choir by Clyutus Gottwald, whose reference and inspiration is Gorgy Ligeti, promises some truly imaginative choral writing.

The programme opens with Barber’s own transcription of Agnus Dei, based on his popular Adagio for strings. If anyone ever needed a proof that human voice can do better than any instrument, here it is – every vocal line is even more distinguishable than in the orchestral version, the singers float around with incredible ease, while the cumulative impact of the whole piece is far more spiritual than with any orchestra.

Mahler’s two items are rather unusual – it takes a while to get used to hear Adagietto from the 5th symphony being sung, but after initial surprise hearing members of the Accentus choir reaching all those heights and creating a carpet of sound full of unexpected colours and sounds, gives a rather different insight into this well known music. “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” works less well, it is after all an orchestral song with the main vocal line preserved and in constant move from one choral group to the other, while the rest mostly harmonises and mimics the orchestra in the background.

Two transcriptions of Chopin piano works by Franck Krawczyk sound like genuine choral pieces, full of vocal meanders, dynamic subtleties and chromatic surprises. Gottwald’s interventions with the two items by Hugo Wolf and one by Alban Berg are mostly reduced to direct transcriptions from the vocal originals preserving their neoclassical idiom, while Ravel’s ‘Soupir’ is a probably the most exiting and inventive, Ligeti-like item on the disc, full of sound clusters and micro polyphony.

I left my favourite track, Bach’s ‘Komm Susser Tod’, for the last – it is one of the longest on the disc and it has an incredible static quality. The ability of this choir to sustain a single note and keep the accord still is truly amazing. If Bach’s music wasn’t spiritual enough, this little gem reduces musical time to a standstill, while the transcription itself uses only long sustained notes to a truly magnificent effect.

As a whole, this disc is a true discovery and a showcase for the abilities of the human voice. Clever programming gives plenty of variety, but after a few run troughs, I’m coming back to some of my favourite tracks, depending on the mood. Very informative booklet tells us that Accentus is a group of 32 professional singers, and they deserve every praise one can think of. This is a 4.0 PCM recording (96/24), with plenty of detail and focus, surround image wide and high without any artificial artefacts.

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Works: 1  

Samuel Barber - Agnus Dei, Op. 11