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Bernstein: Chichester Psalms; Barber, Copland / Matthew Best

Album Summary

>Bernstein, Leonard : Chichester Psalms
>Barber, Samuel : Agnus Dei
>Copland, Aaron : In the Beginning
>Copland, Aaron : Motets (4), for chorus
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

'An imaginative and enterprising programme, extremely well sung and recorded' (Gramophone)

'An exquisite disc. Indispensable' (Acoustic Sounds Catalog, USA)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Half of this programme is devoted to unaccompanied choral music by Copland: In the Beginning, a striking 15-minute 'Creation' for mixed four-part chorus and solo mezzo (which is eloquently executed by Catherine Denley) written in 1947, and three of four short motets he composed in 1921, while studying with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

The performance of the Chichester Psalms recorded here uses Bernstein's own reduced (but very effective) instrumentation of organ, harp and percussion, but follows the composer's New York precedent in employing a mixed chorus - although the illusion of a cathedral choir is persuasively conveyed.

It's very impressive.

The singing of the Corydon Singers under Matthew Best is very fine, and the vivid recording, which gives the voices a pleasant bloom while avoiding the resonance of King's College Chapel, reproduces the instrumental accompaniment, notably the percussion, with electrifying impact. Best's soloist is Dominic Martelli, and very sweetly he sings too. The disc is completed by Barber's setting of the Agnus Dei from 1967 and is an arrangement of the famous Adagio for Strings. This imaginative and enterprising programme is extremely well sung and vividly recorded.



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Works Details

>Bernstein, Leonard : Chichester Psalms
  • Performers: Gary Kettel (Percussion); Dominic Martelli (Boy Soprano); Rachel Masters (Harp); Thomas Trotter (Organ)
  • Conductor: Matthew Best
  • Ensemble: Corydon Singers
  • Notes: Church of St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London, England (05/16/1986-05/17/1986)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1965

>Barber, Samuel : Agnus Dei
  • Conductor: Matthew Best
  • Ensemble: Corydon Singers
  • Notes: Church of St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London, England (05/16/1986-05/17/1986)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1967

>Copland, Aaron : In the Beginning
  • Performer: Catherine Denley (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Matthew Best
  • Ensemble: Corydon Singers
  • Notes: Church of St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London, England (05/16/1986-05/17/1986)
  • Running Time: 16 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1947

>Copland, Aaron : Motets (4), for chorus
  • Conductor: Matthew Best
  • Ensemble: Corydon Singers
  • Notes: Church of St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London, England (05/16/1986-05/17/1986)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1921