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Hyperion Records

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About 2500 Tigers (2008) by Charlie Baird (b1955)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67747
Recording details: August 2008
Ely Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: February 2010
Total duration: 5 minutes 51 seconds

'A fascinating collection of choral works … centring on a Mass setting by Latvian Uģis Prauliņš … probably the single most impressive moment in the work is the end of the Credo, whose increasing waves of spoken affirmation of faith are haloed by bell-like choral roulades … Einfelde's music is altogether more introverted, darker than that of Prauliņš but beautifully crafted and jewel-like … [Angelis suis Dominis and Pater noster by Miškinis] are works of absolutely luminous beauty' (Gramophone)

'The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge enjoys the urgent heartbeat of this music … Missa Rigensis contains many wonders, including a buoyant Gloria which vanishes magically into the long acoustic perspectives of the Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral, where this disc was most sensitively produced and engineered  … Stephen Layton conducts this music with all the rigour, colour and craft characteristic of his work' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Stephen Layton conducts vital and immaculate performances. These works must be quite taxing and they’re not always as simple or as straightforward as they may sound. The singing is a pure joy from first to last. The recording lends an appropriately reverberant aura to the music. This splendid release perfectly complements Hyperion’s disc devoted to Dubra’s choral music, enthusiastically reviewed here a few months ago (Hail, Queen of Heaven). This disc will appeal strongly to all lovers of imaginative choral music, but others—I am sure—will find much to relish' (MusicWeb International)

'Soaring melodies, folklike tunes, drones with religious gravity, and stylized speech are all encompassed by these works, the biggest among them being Uģis Prauliņš' Missa Rigensis—one of the most original and personal settings of the Mass text imaginable. Best of all, this is a disc to live with: There's much to enjoy on first hearing, but all the pieces have dramatic new revelations on subsequent encounters' (The Philadelphia Inquirer, USA)

Benedictio
composer
1991
author of text
Post-communion Blessing

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
One of Estonia’s leading (and most prolific) composers, Urmas Sisask is also a dedicated amateur astronomer. Living in a small town in the west of the country he operates a musical observatory tower and planetarium where he gives lecture-concerts and observes the stars and the heavens. There is something of the shaman about Sisask: ‘My mission is to learn the harmony of the musical instrument of the universe and to make it audible to the people. Thus I do not consider myself a composer; my job is just to find and write down the existing music.’ The result is what he calls ‘astro-music’, a compositional language that is at once atavistic and scientific, born of both intuition and methodology: alongside a purely instinctive response to his astronomical discoveries he has devised a pentatonic scale whose pitches are arrived at by regarding the rotation of celestial bodies as an oscillation of fixed frequencies, and this five-note mode underpins much of his work.

Benedictio is typical of Sisask’s music in the luminous clarity of its textures and the fresh simplicity of its harmony. The piece is in two parts: in the first, neo-primitive bare fifths in earthy compound metres are overlaid with delicate melodic tendrils and explosive dyads. The second part is more extended, its workings more obsessive. A single line of text is sung again and again and again like a mantra. The basses’ initial two-bar ground is heard a full twenty-nine times. This is ecstatic music—a cosmic dance of great ritual power, its hypnotic, incantatory repetitions a vividly contemporary re-imagining of primordial runic song.

from notes by Gabriel Jackson © 2010

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