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Reviews: Lauridsen: Lux aeterna - Layton

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Reviews: 2

Review by synthy April 27, 2005 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I've been in choirs and choruses for years, and I happen to have sung this work in my college choir, with organ accompaniment rather than orchestra. That being said, I know this piece inside and out. The performance here by Polyphony is truly top-notch. The liquid-like diction in the opening movements, the pure exultation in the veni, sancte spiritus and final agnus dei movments, and phrasings are all but perfect. I feel that Stephen Layton's tempi are well chosen, and maintain a cohesive nature to the work that's quite effective. He manages to heighten the emotional impact through very well executed crescendos and diminuendos, and the chorus responds flawlessly. The Britten Sinfonia complements the chorus quite well, they're generally superb, although I do miss the power of the organ.

Some (including my choir director) have compared this work to Durufle's Requiem, and in some regards they're similar (the use of Gregorian-chant like lines, use of requiem texts). You will most probably like this work if you are a fan of the Durufle, although this lacks Durufle's great organ writing and sounds very un-French, much more American or British, with some similarities to works by Rutter.

The "Fire" madrigals are very interesting, slightly disturbing, but are also top-notch. O magnum mysterium is a lot like a condensed version of the Lux aeterna, so it may seem a little superfluous.

The sound is excellent in multichannel, although I feel it's a little light on bass. The choir sounds amazingly smooth, typically very clear. The orchestra/choir balance is great, and the dyanamics stand out with concert-like levels. The acoustics are rather wet and the rear channels are a little overwhelming with (presumably) natural reverb sometimes, but if you turn them down a little it helps. The stereo mix is well executed as well.

I would certainly rate this disc as better than the peformance by the Los Angeles Master Chorale on redbook. Although they are a much larger choir, the recording is unnecessarily drenched in HUGE amounts of reverb.

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Review by PMDA June 27, 2007 (2 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I took deliver of this a couple of weeks ago and was ready to be impressed - except the SACD sound on two channel seems to be a missed opportunity. It sounds flat and somehow lacking in bass. This gives the sound a washed out feel. Nothing wrong with the performance or the material of course but the power of it is not really captured.

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