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5 stars review in BBC Music Magazine

April 19, 2022

John Allison

PERFORMANCE ***** (5 Stars)
RECORDING **** (4 Stars)
LuxAeterna
Kodaly: Evening; Evening Sang; Matra Pictures; Ligeti: Lux Aeterna; Matraszentimrei Dalok; Three Fantasies atter Friedrich Höderlin; Morning Danish National Vocal Ensemble/ Marcus Creed
OUR Recordings 6.220676 50:30 mins
Lux Aeterna, the Eternal Light that lends its name to this new release, is also the text of one of György Ligeti's most extraordinary choral works. Composed in 1966, it has been likened to music from another planet, and its ethereal clusters of sound do indeed suggest light from space - or light going out into space. It´s ending, with seven bars of silence representing the ultimate 'light eternal', is the only unchallenging passage in the 16-voice, micropolyphonic score, which receives a performance of great virtuosity and breathtaking subtlety from the Danish National Vocal Ensemble under Marcus Creed.
For anyone unfamiliar with this repertoire, the disc will indeed shine new light on what choirs can do, and it covers a range of Ligeti's choral music, from the 'Night' (Ejszaka) and 'Morning' (Reggel) contrasts of the Zwei a cappella­Chöre - dating from 1955, the year before Russia's invasion of Hungary made the composer a refugee - to the demanding Drei Phantasien nach Friedrich Holder/in of 1982. Ligeti's roots and the mentoring influence of Zoltan Kodaly are revealed in the four earthy folksong arrangements comprising Matraszentimrei Dalok.
These were collected in the same mountain region that Kodaly celebrates in his a cappella masterpiece, Matrai kepek (Matra Pictures), which closes this disc. But it also features two other Kodaly treasures: Este (Evening), which in 1904 became his first published choral work, and Esti Dal (Evening Song), a haunting prayer for peace that must have seemed as urgent in 1938 as it does now. , April issue 2022