Listening to this album created a blissful out-of-body experience; I spent the evening very well, floating on the heavenly sound for more than an hour. No popular carols here--just masterfully crafted choral music of the O Magnum Mysterium variety. The Tiffany Consort presents eight stellar voices, just one voice per part, and these eight soloists mix like the most magical alchemy. Some choral groups are thick with singers, and the overall impact is a bit soggy and indistinct. The Tiffany Consort is crisp, clean, and in command.

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Francis Poulenc

Poulenc completed his last work, his Oboe Sonata , in Piano, chamber music and songs As a professional pianist, Poulenc wrote many pieces for his own instrument. He was a prolific writer of works of chamber music , often with piano, and some works for two pianos. He composed easily for woodwind instruments, scoring for example a piano trio with oboe and bassoon instead of the traditional violin and cello. Poulenc was less familiar with string instruments.


4 Motets pour le temps de Noël, FP 152 (Poulenc, Francis)

Seasonal favourites: Morten Lauridsen — O magnum mysterium Search for: The last of my seasonal favourites uses one of the oldest texts heard at Christmas. As so many Christmas-related texts do, it explores the immense contrast of sacred and secular, here between the great mystery of God born as a human being and the fact that He lies in a manger, watched around by animals—the profound and the prosaic, cheek by jowl. Throughout the last years, many composers have been drawn to this text—the settings by Palestrina, Victoria and Poulenc are among the most well-known—but the setting by Morten Lauridsen, composed in , has become not only the most celebrated in recent times, but also one of the most-performed contemporary Christmas pieces of the last two decades. Lauridsen has, it seems, little time or interest in the drama and dissonance of life, opting instead for untroubled subject matter and an indefatigably tonal palette. Its melody comprises the very same kind of short and long durations one finds in that music, and its contour matches closely the emotional undulations of the text, sounding both natural and comfortable. The result is a lush, humid brand of tonality that is undeniably inviting, but as i said before, becomes both dull and rather cloying when heard for long periods. In this context, it wins unconditionally, becoming one of the most ethereal paeans to the Nativity ever composed.

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