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We listen in the compilation to the expressive medium of the human voice at its best and finest in sublime religious chorals from the Renaissance to the present day.
The two works from the Renaissance are Thomas Tallis' masterpiece 'O Nata Lux' (born of light), the luminosity of which acquires another layer of beauty through the otherworldly sound of the saxophone; the second, the famous 'Miserere' by Gregorio Allegri representing the conflict between darkness and light is traditionally performed during the service of Tenebrae (shadows).
Tavener's trance-like work, 'Mother of God, here I stand' and Rachmaninov's magnificent 'Bogoroditse Devo', both derive from the mystical musical traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Church and both are parts of extended nocturnal works, in the case of Tavener from 'The Veil of the Temple' and in the case of Rachmaninov from his exemplary work 'All-night Virgil'.
Early mystical Latin poetry has inspired modern, living composers represented in this compilation who have developed links wit Voces8:
Lauridsen in his 'O Nata Lux' uses simple means to create a universe of spiritual joy and hope.
The first and last pieces in the compilation are both titled 'Ubi Caritas' and they are exactly 3.48 minutes each but belong to different composers and their music has different timbre. The first by the Norwegian, Ola Gjeilo draws from the Gregorian chant while the concluding piece by Paul Mealor, a resplendent and celebratory motet was commissioned by Prince William and was sung at the Prince's wedding to Catherine Middleton in 2011.
Finally, in recent years the boundaries between pop and classical music have become blurred. Two beautiful transcriptions represent this trend: 'Teardrop' from 'Massive Attack's' album 'Mezzanine' and the ballad 'The Luckiest' which appeared on the soundtrack of the film 'About Time'.
I first became aware of Voces8 when the conductor of my chamber choir decided to add Underneath the Stars to our repertoire. Since then I have enjoyed watching various YouTube clips but thought it was about time to support them by buying a CD. The singing on this disk is of the consistently high standard you would expect and it's also a slick production. The mixing of ancient and modern works pretty well, although a couple of the contemporary pieces feel slightly out of place. The line-up of singers was somewhat different to what I'm used to, with some that I consider integral to the group - such as the bass Jonathan Pacey - not taking part in the recording.
I agree with another reviewer: whoever thought that white text on an orange background would work for the sleeve notes was misguided.
We are an acappella choir of 14 and are currently rehearsing Ubi Caritas by Ola Gjeilo. Voces 8 sing this this exquisite piece of music better than anyone!!! This CD is the perfect way to unwind. It is such a truly beautiful album of Voces8 at their finest ! just buy it!!!!!
This is a beautiful recording and well worth 5 stars. However the accompanying booklet is Terrible - whoever thought that white text out of a yellow/orange background was a good idea should review his/her Graphics course. I would have liked to read the background to the tracks and info on the singers but due to my previous comment this was impossible. The producers need to revisit this.
Been meaning for ages to buy a Voces8 CD. This is a beautifully produced album. Four stars only because The Luckiest sees V8 bleed into pop territory which would be fine were it on a relevant album. Every time this track comes on I look at the stereo because it's so anomalous. The others are superb. Nimrod and Miserere sublime.
Bought this for one track (Ave Maria 1) and pleased to find that I like most of the other tracks too. Overall I prefer their CD 'Eventide' but that's just personal preference. If you want beautiful harmony and calming sounds this is a good buy.
Stunning - even if you aren't particularly a fan of 'church' music, this is nonetheless a wonderfully relaxing and spiritually uplifting CD. There is one track in particular that intrigued me, and that was Massive Attack's 'Teardrop'. Not something you'd usually find on a CD like this. But it's really good!