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There's so much to love about this CD. I purchased several copies a few years ago for myself and for friends for Christmas because I just fell in love with all the songs on this CD and how beautifully they were performed. I, too, am a singer and I love to sing A Cappella as the singers do on this CD. I have recently purchased two more of these CDs for friends who heard the music when I played it on my car CD player. They absolutely raved about the music and I promised myself to give each of them one of these CDs for Christmas. I listen to my own CD all the time...if and when it wears out, I will purchase another one as soon as possible. Everything about the music on this CD is wonderful!
This is some of the loveliest music ever written or performed; a wide selection from ancient to traditional to (relatively) modern, exquisitely performed by the legendary Robert Shaw chorus. I go to sleep listening to this music; it is magical. Shaw is reckoned to be one of the finest choral arrangers and directors in the world: this is one of his best offerings.
Listening to this recording is like sitting through evensong in a small gothic church in the South of France. In fact, it was recorded primarily in the church at Quercy where Robert Shaw held his choral institute and festival. This timeless music stunned me when I first heard it and and cannot stop listening to it. The 12 works collected here span from the 16th century to the 20th century, but the performances, interpretations and acoustics make all of the music sound immediate and contemporary. The title text, translated as "O Great Mystery," is featured in three separate compositions by Victoria, Lauridsen and Poulenc. The mystery ostensibly deals with the the incarnation, but these fresh but timeless, sensitive but vital, performances seem to lovingly embrace both heaven and earth. The words are specifically Christian, but the music delicately exults in the universal dichotomies of temporal and eternal, real and ideal. One is almost surprised to find such intelligent and sincere sacred music being made on the verge of the 21st century. The paradigm of choral music itself seems medieval, especially when performed in stone churches, but with the baton of Robert Shaw these mysteries sound like compelling good news. My hope is that this recording becomes widely heard and deeply appreciated, and given the success of the more narrowly appealing CHANT, there is still hope. One could only imagine what miracles might happen if everyone would spend even a few minutes caught up in "O Magnum Mysterium."
What an inspired collection of music. Hearing three different settings of O Magnum Mysterium by Tallis, Poulenc, and Lauridsen simply blew me away. As always, Robert Shaw got the maximum performance out of his singers; the clarity of tone and precision of the singing allow one to simply sink into the music. Every time I have a bad day, I'm planning to play this CD to regroup.
Don't pay $50+ for this item. This recording was reissued in 2006 for a normal price. There is some confusion because the 2006 recording was credited to The Choir of Europe. The 2000 version was credited to The Nordic Choir. But a careful comparison of the information on the recording reveals that the recordings are the same. Other websites list both versions of the recording. [...] In fact, if you are a Lauridsen fan, you probably already own the reissue.
Buy this version instead:
Lauridsen: O Magnum Mysterium / Lux Aeterna / Madrigali / Les Chansons Des Roses