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Amazon Customer "SF & classical music fan" (Danbury, CT)

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Vaughan Williams: Choral Works
Vaughan Williams: Choral Works
Price: £7.00

85 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing performances of two masterpieces, 10 Sep 2001
Whether 'Sancta civitas' or 'Dona nobis pacem' is the greater work is subject to debate. But both receive first-rate recordings on this disc.
Hickox's recording of "Dona nobis pacem" is excellent (I rate it second, just a shade behind the late Robert Shaw's on Telarc); the singing is first-rate throughout, and the finale is a roller coaster of emotions, from fear to joy to quiet dignity. Yvonne Kenny in particular handles her solos effortlessly.
Hickox's 'Sancta' will be, almost without question, the standard for any future recordings of the work. Using all the forces RVW recommended--especially the organ--the net result is incredible: the finale, "Heaven and earth are full of thy glory," is simply overwhelming, an incredible onslaught of sound, followed by one of the great surprises in all of 20th century music. And there are moments of great beauty as well: "Babylon the great is fallen" is a hushed lament (handled with even more skill than Walton's setting of the same text in "Belshazzar's Feast"), while "And I saw a new Heaven" is simply ravishing.
I recommend this CD highly and without reservation.

Duruflé: Requiem
Duruflé: Requiem
Price: £13.25

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual account, well worth hearing, 10 Sep 2001
This review is from: Duruflé: Requiem (Audio CD)
Duruflé left three versions of his Requiem and Messe cum Jubilo--for organ with full orchestra, for organ with chamber orchestra, and for organ "alone" (all three versions feature a cello solo in the "Pie Jesu"). It is the organ-only version recorded here.
While the organ-only versions of these works are not my personal favorite, this recording makes a very strong case: while some of the orchestral details must be lost--more so in the Requiem than the Mass--the basic thrust remains, and the constant presence of the organ gives the work a more "ethereal" quality than the other two versions.
Incredibly, the central "Pie Jesu" solo loses little in giving the role to a treble, rather than Duruflé's preferred contralto, and Natalie Clein's cello solo is excellently played and recorded.
However, it is Simon Keenlyside's singing that crowns the work--his singing in the solos of both works are absolutely the best I've heard, and he pulls off the high ossia in the Messe Cum Jubilo effortlessly.
The "Four Motets on Gregorian Themes" and "Notre Père" are an added bonus. In all, this is a highly welcome disc.

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