Magazine Gramophone (UK) Stephen Layton steers his peerlessly virtuoso musicians through this electric and innovative mix with his customary polish and dramatic energy.
March 4, 2012
Layton in Denmark for another Baltic voyage!
This new disc reinforces the extraordinary strengths of the Danish choral tradition. Here are voices of mature suppleness and agility, surveying new music by Nordic quartet of a Dane, a Latvian, a Swede and a Faroese, stirring from a deep wellspring of creativity and all sung in English. The oldest piece recorded here (a mere four years old) is Nemesis divina by Daniel Börtz, born in Sweden in 1943. This is a challenging "musical/metaphysical meditation" on the word "man" reminiscent of 1970s Berio but none the worse for it. Rasmussen`s "I" is equally challenging on first hearing, full of twist and turns.
The Nightingale (2011) by Latvian Ugis Praulins is essentially a 30-minutes concerto, sonsisting of a series of eight colourful tableaux based on Hans Christian Andersen`s tale of the Emperor and The Nightingale. It demands a astonish choral range of four octaves. The seventh section " The Artificial Bird", is a marvel of invention, with percussive imitations and multiphonics. The ornithological theme is continued with Bruun`s pair of Hopkins bird-poem settings. In an accessible and diatonic idiom, they make a splendid and satisfying conclusion the distinctive programme.
Needless to say. Stephen Layton steers his peerlessly virtuoso musicians through this electric and innovative mix with his customary polish and dramatic energy. Also running through it all like a golden thread is Michala Petri`s iridescent playing. She uses the full "chest" of recorders with mercurial ease. This is an unequivocal treat for connoisseurs of fine choral singing and recorder lovers alike.
Malcolm Riley, March 2012