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Alternative Stereo Sounds


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Product details

  • Audio CD (15 Nov 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Creeping Bent
  • ASIN: B000024ZCH
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 319,181 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 April 2002
Format: Audio CD
It is hard to imagine how Howells must have felt when his son died aged just 9. What we do know is that he was that he marked the date in his calendar every day for the rest of his life and that the death marked a dramatic turning point in his compositional work. The requiem is the most deeply moving piece of music I have ever heard and it is perhaps evident how much of his soul Howells put into this masterpiece when considering the fact that he felt the music too personal to release for a further 50 years after his son's tragic death. This performance does the impossible, and that is to translate the sheer immensity of sadness in the music whilst still being extremely accurate.
The performance is flowing and even though the music always seems to do the opposite to what we expect this fluidity is still evident. The soloists are brilliant in their clarity and their voices really pierce through the haunting silences. The choir keep very well in time, each part moving with remarkable precision and the contrasts in dynamic are truly astounding for a choir this small. On the whole, this is a brilliant performance of a very difficult piece of music.
"Take him Earth for Cherishing" is a work written in similar vein and style to the Requiem, but now marking not just personal grief but the grief of a nation and indeed the world in the death of John F. Kennedy. Again it is a masterpiece by Howells and the Vasari singers do it justice. Far more is made of the words here than I have heard in other performances and I think this combined again with the excellent precision and expression given puts this performance above any other.
The Frank Martin mass seems well sung although I am not pushed on the music personally. We have the same clarity of sound and the same level of intensity and I think it is a credit to the choir that even someone who did'nt like the music could enjoy this just for the performance.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Kelly on 15 Dec 2006
Format: Audio CD
I have heard many perfomances of the Requiem, live and on recordings, and I believe this to be the best. There are many reasons why, but perhaps the most important is the commitment of the singers. It is too often the case that choirs shy away from emotionally charged and dare I say it, even subjective readings. Vasari do not. They are flexible in tempi and dynamics and the blend is gorgeous. One can almost feel the burden lifted from one's shoulders as the 1st tenors sing their ascending passage at the end of the first movement. They are in their element and the solo voices are excellently suited. The performance of the Martin is no less gutsy. This is impressive not least because it is a difficult piece of music, but also because it is, like Howells, so demanding on the voice. Some of the passages from the Creed, particularly the sotte voce "et ressurexit," are just sublime. Do not listen to those that tell you the Westminster recording is better. It is far too reserved, and Martin's feelings about writing Religious music are anything but that. The Mass remained hidden for so long because it was a highly emotional piece that he felt he could not share.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr WH on 19 Aug 2011
Format: Audio CD
The Vasari singers are all but unmatchable in the Howells Requiem. Clarity of tone, musicality and emotional engagement. Sadly the Martin cannot compare. The choir simply sounds too English and the whole performance lacks the mystery and fervent religiosity which makes it such a fine piece. Disappointing - especially coming after the Howells. But perhaps it is not possible for the same choir to do justice to such contrasting styles of choral writing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Richford on 9 Jun 2005
Format: Audio CD
It is a common misconception that Howells wrote his Requiem after the death of his son Michael in 1935. In fact the piece was written in 1932 and dedicated to Kings College Choir. It was the death of his son three years later which prevented Howells ever presenting the composition to Kings. It was subsequently discovered in the early eighties where the piece was first performed to much critical acclaim. A similar tale belies the Mass for Double Choir, by Frank Martin who kept the completed score secret for over 40 years believing the work to be a too personal statement of his own religious inclinations. Both works are of monumental stature and are some of the most highly emotive examples of choral music from the 20th Century. The choir is excellent throughout and is certainly competetive with the Westmister Cathedral Choir recordings of the same music.
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