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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: 3 minutes 6 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)

Angelis suis Deus
2006; composed as a 40th birthday present for Stephen Layton
author of text
Psalm 90, adapted

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The reinvention of folk song as art (particularly of the polyphonic rounds found only in the northwest of the country) and the use of repetition to generate large spans of music were the basis of what, in the 1970s, became known as Lithuanian Minimalism. Initially quite distinct from the American variety in both origin and intention, the work of Lithuanian minimalists eventually took on some of the characteristics of their transatlantic contemporaries. There are strong hints of this in the music of Vytautas Miškinis. Since 1985 Miškinis has been a member of the choral conducting department at the Academy of Music in Vilnius, and has a busy and distinguished career as a choral director throughout Lithuania and beyond, as well as finding time to compose over 500 pieces. In 2002 he was Lithuania’s most internationally performed composer.

Angelis suis Deus was written as a fortieth birthday present for Stephen Layton and is an immaculately crafted miniature. The neat ternary structure consists of, effectively, three mini-passacaglias, the repeating harmonic and rhythmic cycles of the tenors and basses being overlaid with chordal pulsation and delicious melodic interplay. It is a simple and approachable piece, the flattened sixths and sevenths of its harmony deftly skirting sentimentality, and the composer eschews a word-by-word response to the text in favour of a quietly pervasive air of gentle exultation.

from notes by Gabriel Jackson © 2010

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