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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America's Most Popular Living Choral Composer in First-Rate Performances
If there is a more popular or more loved living American composer of choral music than Morten Lauridsen I don't know who it would be. Perhaps Eric Whitacre is in the running, but I suspect that a nationwide poll of choral singers and audiences would give Lauridsen a large majority. Certainly he leads in numbers of performances. And the reason is quite easy to discern. His...
Published on 29 Oct 2009 by J Scott Morrison

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3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly poor
Sorry to say I don't rate this too highly. The Elora Festival Singers don't quite give me that tingle that says: 'Oh, beautiful'.
Published 6 months ago by Paul Devereux


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America's Most Popular Living Choral Composer in First-Rate Performances, 29 Oct 2009
By 
J Scott Morrison (Middlebury VT, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lauridsen:O magnum mysterium | Choral Works (Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison) (Naxos) (Audio CD)
If there is a more popular or more loved living American composer of choral music than Morten Lauridsen I don't know who it would be. Perhaps Eric Whitacre is in the running, but I suspect that a nationwide poll of choral singers and audiences would give Lauridsen a large majority. Certainly he leads in numbers of performances. And the reason is quite easy to discern. His music is entirely lovely and entirely grateful to sing. There is a calm mysticism that is not tricky or gimmicky but completely heart-felt. Audiences almost universally respond emotionally to his music.

The works on this disc are among Lauridsen's most-performed and it includes both 'Nata Lux' (from his larger work, 'Lux aeterna' [1997]) and 'Dirait-on' (sung as it was meant to be as the final section of his 'Les Chanson des Roses' set to French poems of Rainer Maria Rilke]. The CD concludes with the moving setting of the Christmas text, 'O magnum mysterium' ['O great mystery and wonderful sacrament that animals might see the Lord born, lying in a manger']. Also included are the 'Six Madrigals', based on Italian Renaissance poems, 'Mid-Winter Songs', on poems of Robert Graves.

The singers here are the wonderful Elora Festival Singers, led by Noel Edson. This is a full-time professional group based in Ontario, best known for their annual summer festival in Elora, Ontario. I have reviewed a number of their previous releases, always with positive comments, e.g. Arvo Pärt: A Portrait & Arvo Pärt:Triodion Ode VII I Am the True Vine Music for Unaccompanied Choir.

The booklet that accompanies this release is a model of its kind, with excellent notes, and -- best of all in these days of skimpy booklets -- full texts and translations. The recorded sound is marvelous.

Scott Morrison
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ethereal beauty, 31 Dec 2009
By 
Dr. John Collins "Innovation Angel" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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After I heard part of this sung at my local church I just had to get it! Beautiful, ethereal music in the vein of Goodall, Rutter and Part. A fine addition to anyone's CD shelves if you like beautiful choral singing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balm for the Soul?, 9 April 2013
By 
Sentinel (Essex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lauridsen:O magnum mysterium | Choral Works (Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison) (Naxos) (Audio CD)
This album came as a very pleasant surprise, as I was unaware of Lauridsen previously. 'O Nata Lux' opens with warmth & light, and a feeling of grace. 'Madrigali' (Fire Songs) follows, which is a much more spiky, challenging piece, but well worth the journey. 'Chansons des Roses' is a lovely elegant piece infused with melody, and concluding in the radiant 'Dirait-on'.

The penultimate piece, 'Mid-Winter Songs', based on poems by Robert Graves, is a 5-movement work for chorus & piano (stunningly played by Leslie De'Ath), and this beautiful collection of Renaissance-influenced choral pieces concludes with 'O magnum mysterium', based on a Christmas text, and given a tender and heartfelt interpretation.

This lovely collection comes with full text of the pieces (including English translation), an insightful introduction by Byron Adams, and background on Noel Edison and the very impressive Elora Festival Singers. Edison's exemplary control, and the Elora's radiant performance is assisted by the quality of the recording in St John's church, and the warmth of the surrounding acoustic. A small treasure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Try it and be surprised., 2 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Lauridsen:O magnum mysterium | Choral Works (Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison) (Naxos) (Audio CD)
If you think that all modern choral composition is discordant and difficult to listen to, try Morten Lauridsen at this bargain price. Light a couple of candles, take a glass of wine, turn out the lights, sit back and relax. Don't spill the wine.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A must for a singer of choral music, 20 May 2014
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This review is from: Lauridsen:O magnum mysterium | Choral Works (Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison) (Naxos) (Audio CD)
I was lucky to get to sing the first and last track with a choral society at a time when it was less well known than today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars And the miracle is ..., 12 May 2014
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This review is from: Lauridsen:O magnum mysterium | Choral Works (Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison) (Naxos) (Audio CD)
...that ...
five centuries or so after Homo Sapiens started writing music using something like the scales Bach, and you and I, know as scales; in a scale with only thirteen notes, where only eight of them are normally used most of the time (and certainly here), and after THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS of melodies, using these same notes, have been written and performed; someone can come along and write Dirait-on.
If you have never heard it, just go and buy it. It is as fresh as a daisy, as beautiful as your wife, as perfect as a snowflake.
It is a miracle.
The rest of the CD is good too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lauridsen O magnum mysterium, 23 Mar 2014
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P (Guildford, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lauridsen:O magnum mysterium | Choral Works (Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison) (Naxos) (Audio CD)
The good reviews for this publication were justified. The cd was delivered promptly and well packaged. It is well worth a place in my library.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly poor, 3 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Lauridsen:O magnum mysterium | Choral Works (Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison) (Naxos) (Audio CD)
Sorry to say I don't rate this too highly. The Elora Festival Singers don't quite give me that tingle that says: 'Oh, beautiful'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely CD, 12 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Lauridsen:O magnum mysterium | Choral Works (Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison) (Naxos) (Audio CD)
A lovely CD to listen to when you just feel like sitting down and relaxing. Beautiful music. I love it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic choral music, 20 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Lauridsen:O magnum mysterium | Choral Works (Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison) (Naxos) (Audio CD)
The music on this CD is really lovely. Lauridsne is a wonderful composer of chorla music. I have sung the title track with my local choir. it is my favourite track of the album, it is peaceful and worshipful. All the other tracks are different but equally good. It's a great album
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