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Stereophile 4.5 stars

April 18, 2022

Jason Victor Serinus

Stereophile
OUR Recordings 6.220676 (SACD), auditioned as DXD Download. 2021. Michael Emery, prod; Mikkel Nymand, eng.
Performance 4.5 stars
Sonics 4.5 stars
Perhaps it required visionary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick to first inform us of the interstellar reach of the music og György Ligiti. On this album, the frequently unfathomable otherworldly essence of his choral music is brought into sharp relief by its paring with three folklore -based choral settings composed by his predecessor, Zoltán Kodály.
Superbly recorded in DXD-the dynamics from the moderately sized Danish national Vocal Ensemble are startlink-the recording makes a convincing case for high-resolution engineering.
Take, for example, Ligeti´s “Hälfte des Lebens” (Halfway through life) from Phantasies after Friedrich Hölderlin (1982), which demands a quintuple forte from 16 voices. Wrapping you mind around what might sound like may begin begin to prepare you for the title work, Lux Aetarna (Eternal Light). Although its text may derive from Catholic Mass, no Pope ever envisioned a work that Ligity describes as “a 16-voices micropolyphonic piece with diatonic voices-leading of complex canons,…. A polyphonic texture so thickly woven that the individual voices become indistinguishable, and only the resulting harmonies, blended seamlessly one into another, can be clearly perceived.”
Imagine, in 1966, trying to paint an oral picture of the Mikly Way and the dimensions that lie beyond it via music that lasts a bit over nine minutes. In 1967 Magical Mystery Tour it is not. The difference with Kodály´s folk settings may be unbridgeable until you contemplate the meaning of the succession of seemingly nonsensical lyrics in his 11-minutes folk song settings Mátrai képek (Mátra Pictures) and realize that vast universes of pleasure and pain, fullness and emptiness, are conveyed by simple ditties. Jason Victor Serinus, April 2022