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All the host of heaven, Baylor

Baylor A Cappella

Pescheur (1636), Clicquot (1777)

Cavaillé-Coll (1863, 1873), Beuchet–Debierre IV/83 (1956)

Gonzalez, (1975), Dargassies (1991)

Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, Paris

 


All the host of heaven

Track listing:

1.  Stars   Ēriks Ešenvalds (b.1977)

Requiem, Op. 9  Maurice Duruflé (1902–1986)
MezzoSoprano – Jamie Barton
Baritone – Quinn Kelsey 
2. I. Introït
3. II. Kyrie
4. III. Domine Jesu Christe
5. IV. Sanctus
6. V. Pie Jesu
7. VI. Agnus Dei
8. VII. Lux æterna
9   VIII. Libera me
10. IX. In Paradisum

11. Seek him that maketh the seven stars  Jonathan Dove (b.1959)

Reviews:

“The Baylor A Cappella Choir is entirely new to me, but on the strength of this particular recording they have made at least one new admirer. The chief work on this CD is the Duruflé Requiem, given in its organ-only version. It is a piece hardly in need of yet another recording, one would think; yet this performance is such a special experience that it made this listener sit up and take note. Rarely have I heard such a beautiful, calm legato line from a choir in this work, in which nothing is ever over-expressed or over-emphasised. Some might find it bland, but for me there was in Baylor’s delivery a genuine sense of the numinous that was most touching and honest. Top soloists too, and fine organ playing from Isabelle Demers. Of additional interest is the fact it was recorded in the Paris church where Duruflé was titular organist for decades. The Ešenvalds and Dove items – Stars and Seek him that maketh the seven stars – only add to the feast. Warmly recommended.”
PHILIP REED, Choir & Organ, March/April 2019, 5 Stars, STAR REVIEW

“This version [of the Requiem] highlights the chamber-like qualities of the music, as superbly demonstrated by the Baylor forces…Their performance is exquisite, lush, ethereal, and expressive. The dramatic moments are highlighted appropriately and the underlying rhythmic freedom of the Gregorian-inspired lines prevails throughout. The chorus is beautifully blended, producing a vocal purity combined with maturity of sound consistent with the French aesthetic. Diction is clear and precise…Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and baritone Quinn Kelsey, both highly esteemed artists enjoying active international careers, complement the chorus beautifully in the solo sections, exhibiting expressivity and sensitivity to the text…Isabelle Demers…demonstrates both her virtuosity and collaborative skills in handling the challenging solo organ accompaniment…following the composer’s registration directives, Demers and the recording engineers achieve perfect balance with the chorus…The organ supports, yet never overpowers the chorus in tutti sections…scintillating accompaniment [in the Dove] deftly played by Demers…These are some of the finest collegiate vocal performances on record, abetted by four top-tier professionals. This will likely stand as the finest recording on the current market of the Duruflé Requiem in its original version, having come back full circle to where it began.”
JAMES HILDRETH, The American Organist, March 2019,

“Alan Raines has drawn a fine sound from his choir…The sopranos float ethereally in both “Sed signifier”…and more especially in the In Paradisum, the ends of phrases allowed to drift off into the building’s spaces quite magically…a fine blend of sound which merges comfortably with the organ so that the two seem ideally balanced even at the big climax points…Fine though the choir is, the real star of the show here is organist, Isabelle Demers, who has clearly studied Duruflé’s 1947 orchestration and works to recreate seamlessly many of the effects and colours of that on the present-day St Etienne organ…while the Requiem occupies the bulk of the disc, the performance of the two other pieces transform it into a very enticing release…[Ĕriks Ešenvalds’] Stars…is an exceptionally compelling performance…creating an overall soundscape of infinite depth. Jonathan Dove’s equally evocative Seek him that maketh the seven stars…colour and atmosphere rub shoulders with considerable choral dexterity and genuine organ virtuosity – Demers conveys the sense of brightly sparkling stars in a truly scintillating organ part…it sometimes seems as if the whole universe is encapsulated into its six-minute duration…[with] singing of extraordinary flexibility and a powerful collective response to the text and the detail of Dove’s music.”
MARC ROCHESTER, MusicWeb-international

 

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