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Requiems, Elegies & Tombeau
|Agnus Dei: Music of Inner Harmony
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CHOIR OF NEW COLLEGE OXFORD. Choral works by Barber, Faure, Gorecki, Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn etc.
Beyond this recording's new age packaging and title is a splendid sampling of some of the world's finest choral music, sung by one of the world's outstanding choirs. This "anthology of sacred choral music" spans 400 years and includes such masterpieces as Allegri's Miserere, Bach's "Jesu, joy of man's desiring," and Barber's exquisite Agnus Dei, which is the composer's choral setting of his famous Adagio for Strings. Along the way we also hear Mozart's sublime "Ave verum corpus," Elgar's "Lux aeterna," and the Kyrie from Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli. There has been a choir at England's New College, Oxford, since the year 1379, and this impressive line of experience shows in the intelligent, unfaltering, and finely polished performances by today's ensemble of 16 boys and 12 adults. --David Vernier
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|The Most Relaxing Classical Album in the World...Ever!
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Two CD set that lives up to its title - and then some! A perfect soundtrack to wind-down your day. The Most Relaxing Classical Album in the World ... Ever! does its best to cover both well-worn classical favorites (Bach's "Air on the G String," Pachelbel's "Cannon," Debussy's "Clair de Lune") and some eclectic left-field choices (an excerpt from Gerick's Symphony No. 3, Jocelyn Pook's "Blow the Wind," and Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings).
You want relaxing classical music that'll soothe your soul but won't lull you into sleep? Here's a double CD for you. The Most Relaxing Classical Album in the World ... Ever! does its best to cover both well-worn classical favorites (Bach's "Air on the G String," Pachelbel's "Cannon," Debussy's "Clair de Lune") and some eclectic left-field choices (an excerpt from Górecki's Symphony No. 3, Jocelyn Pook's "Blow the Wind," and Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. The performances of most of these excerpts are top-notch--artists include Sir Neville Marriner, James Galway, Jacqueline du Pré and the Philadelphia Orchestra--and there's enough variety here for everyone. --Edward Garabedian
- The Most Relaxing Classical Music in the Universe
- The Ultimate Most Relaxing Classical Music In The Universe [2 CD]
- The Most Relaxing Classical Album In the World Ever, Volume II
- 50 Classics For Relaxation (2 CD)
- The Most Romantic Classical Music In The Universe [2 CD]
- Timeless: The Most Relaxing Classical Piano Music Ever - Perfect Gifts for Mom, Dad, Grandma, Kids
- Mozart For Meditation
- Love's River: Calming Music, Soothing Music, Background Music, Dinner Music, New Age Music, Spa Music, Yoga Music, Relaxing Piano Music, Meditation Music
- Piano and Cello Relaxation
- The Greatest Classical Masterpieces!
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Renee Fleming, Sacred Songs
This lovely CD features Renée Fleming singing religious music in an unaffected, lovely manner. Many favorites are here: both the Bach/Gounod and Schubert versions of "Ave Maria," each offered with long breaths and soft tone; "Rejoice Greatly" from Messiah, delivered with virtuosity and gleaming sound, and "He Shall Feed His Flock," also from Messiah, sung in a smooth, laid-back manner. Bits of the Fauré Requiem and Poulenc Gloria are welcome, as is the gorgeous "L'Adieu des Bergers" from L'Enfance du Christ. In the prayer from Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel, Fleming is joined by the splendid Susan Graham, and a version of "Amazing Grace" features Mark O'Connor on violin. Two excerpts from Mozart's Mass in C Minor, pieces by Reger and Franck, and a few surprises round out this devotional CD. --Robert Levine
|Andrew Lloyd Webber - Requiem/Domingo, Brightman, ECO, Maazel
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Before Andrew Lloyd Webber's seemingly endless run of Broadway shows, when he was known primarily for Jesus Christ Superstar, he managed to write this dramatic, tuneful, occasionally powerful religious work. Although Lloyd Webber takes some liberties with the text and organization of the traditional Requiem mass, the result is a unified and finely crafted composition. There are exciting moments in the "Dies irae" and in the "Lacrymosa", where voices and orchestra are most effectively used to convey the desperate yet hopeful feeling of the text. This work isn't performed much these days in its entirety, but, as in many of Lloyd Webber's musicals, it produced a "hit" tune--the "Pie Jesu"--whose popularity alone could have kept the composer living comfortably for the rest of his life. --David Vernier
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|Karl Jenkins Requiem
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Karl Jenkins, the mastermind of the Adiemus project and The Armed Man (A Mass For Peace) has the gift of composing music that speaks to a very wide audience. This is a highly interesting work that draws on Western and Oriental traditions. Requiem is a mass for the souls of the dead set to texts in both Latin and Japanese, highlighting the cyclical nature of life, death and rebirth. EMI Classics. 2005.
|Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem
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Robert Shaw, despite being a fine choral conductor, was often a pretty boring interpreter--like most choral conductors, in fact. However, there were times that he really put everything together, particularly in his many fine recordings for Telarc, and this is one of the best. Of course, it helps that the music itself is largely pretty subdued, but Shaw directs a performance of exemplary clarity and genuine nobility of utterance. Gorgeous recorded sound too. --David Hurwitz
|Heavenly Adagios (2 CD)
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VARIOUS ARTISTS - HEAVENLY ADAGIOS - 2 CD SET
|Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45
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Musical settings of the Requiem understandably encompass a vast expressive gamut, from Mozart's fear and trembling to the seraphic gentleness of Fauré. But the focus in Brahms's German Requiem--his first large-scale work--is not so much on the departed as on those left behind and the work of memory. In lieu of the traditional Latin liturgy, Brahms uses texts culled from the Lutheran Bible that range from despair at our mortal condition to the solace offered by faith. John Elliott Gardiner and his forces here attempt to replicate the orchestral sound and style of Brahms's own time, using period bowing practices for the strings and mellow Viennese horns, to cite a few examples. The result is a magnificent and deeply moving performance that features excellent integration of the orchestra and chorus. Gardiner molds a huge crescendo of imposing terror in the funereal march of the second movement but always keeps the textures clear and balanced. He manages to convey both the symphonic scope of this work and its polyphonic imagination--Brahms looked back to Baroque as well as Renaissance sources and in the process created a rich and potent new style. Charlotte Margiono's rosy soprano is angelic but at the same time tinged with a sense of longing for what has been lost--which makes the musical consolation offered by the end of the seventh movement all the more profound. Baritone Rodney Gilfry brings warmth and passionate phrasing to his solos. And presiding over everything is Gardiner's masterful sense of the work's larger structure: the path traced by Brahms is revealed with great dignity but is free of sentimentality. This recording belongs in any basic collection. --Thomas May
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