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I enjoyed this CD. The leading work, Lux Aeterna, is quite wonderful and beautifully performed. Despite the large choir and venue, these performance are well-controlled, intimate, and very well-engineered in my opinion. This is my first exposure to Lauridsen, having arrived by way of the a cappella music pouring out of the Baltic. As I have found elsewhere, there is a magic to the Baltic choral music which is not to be found here. I don't know what the magical melodic and/or harmonic formula is, but the Baltics seem to have a corner on it at present. Anyway, this music is very enjoyable, quite atmospheric, and totally worthwhile. In my view, the CD is weakened by tracks 12-16 ("Mid-Winter Songs"), which sound Copelandesque sans Copeland's distinctively memorable tunes. I hear hints of Copeland elsewhere in this music as well. Still, this is a good production that I have listened to several times, not the best in its genre, but definitely recommended if you like this type of music.
There is a fair amount of musical variety among the selections on this CD, and everything is beautifully sung and recorded. But the standout is the Lux Aeterna. It is that rare kind of work that is overwhelming on the first hearing and continues to grow on the listener with increasing familiarity . Very highly recommended.
I've heard other recordings of Lux Aeterna. Nothing comes close to the resonant, rich sound of this LAMC recording. For those who complain that the lyrics are not that articulate: i) It's Latin; very few people really understand it these days and 2) That's what the little booklet in the CD is for! The other cycles have a very different character but are still gorgeous. The Rose cycle is poetic, like Rilke's poems, and Mid-Winter Songs is haunting, dissonant and creates vivid images of the starkness of winter. The gem of the disc is O Magnum Mysterium. It moves me to tears and gives me goosebumps almost every time I hear it. Lauridsen's music is tonal and "audience friendly", so buy this disc even if you are Bach/Beethoven fan but are suspicious of modern composers. Unlike several modern composers, listening to Lauridsen is not "work", and does not require intellectual involvement (though there is plenty for you to find if you actually enjoy that sort of thing). Overall, this CD is a must buy for all choir music enthusiasts as well as classical music lovers.
I only discovered Lauridsen a few years ago, and I only got to hear Lux Aeterna when I ordered this CD cold. I can't stop listening to it, a month later. This is one of the very finest vocal classical music albums (make that one of the finest classical albums, period) that I have ever heard. Yes, it is mainly sacred music. If you enjoy that, you will be ecstatic. If you don't, the music is so good that I'd suggest shutting up and enjoying the music. The performance is so fine that I can't imagine any other group doing it as well.
Again, breaking my rule against reviewing CDs, for music that is truly exceptional. This is the CD that I play most often, outstripping #2 (Verdi's "Don Carlos", if you must know) by a factor of three to one. Lauridsen has been compared to influences ranging from Brahms to Arvo Pärt - he is surely the preeminent American composer of choral music working today.
All of the works featured on this CD: "lux Aterna", "Chansons des Roses", and "Mid-Winter Songs" are ethereally beautiful. Personally, it's the "Chansons des Roses", which set several of Rilke's 'rose poems' to music, that leave me breathless every time.
This is an extraordinary CD, and one which I highly recommend.
This is a wonderful addition to the collection of any lover of choral music. Lauridsen's choral compositions are highly regarded, and often performed by vocal ensembles with for good reasons; his music is easily accessible to listeners, while also being musically satisfying to those performing. Lux Aeterna contains some very moving settings of Latin christian texts, in addition to a lovely setting of French poems with the "rose" as the common theme among the poems. The performances on this CD are first rate, and I would highly recommend this CD!
A collection of transcendent works that envelope and elevate the soul!! Bravo to Morten Lauridsen and Paul Salamunovich who appear to be a match made in heaven....Since the title piece was actually written for and dedicated to the conductor by the composer, I'm left wondering what it would have been like to have had initial recordings performed by the original inspirators of composers of the great, classical works who wrote those pieces for them. We're lucky to have this one for posterity and as a definitive reference since these pieces are going to be performed for centuries to come........
This is a magnificent recording. I am a major choral music junkie and find American choirs (for the most part) lacking compared to European choirs (mainly English); however, the Los Angeles Master Chorale is the exception. Paul Salamunovich has worked wonders with this choir over the years and it is a shame that he is retiring. I am so pleased that Morten Lauridsen has written choral works to make the LAMC shine and a fitting swan song for its conductor. This recording is beautiful beyond words and I heartily recommend it to all who love choral and sacred music. I enjoyed all the tracks -- especial Lux Aertena -- and hope Lauridsen writes more works of this kind of beauty in the future.