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Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to sing Ola Gjeilo's "Luminous Night of the Soul" and "Sunrise Mass" with my choir, and about the same time I noticed that he was getting a lot of airplay on Classic FM. He has to be one of the most talented composers working today, especially considering his young age. He uses instruments and voices in new ways to achieve his own distinct sound - yet the music is somehow familiar and very soothing. This album contains a lovely mix of his orchestral and choral works. I have marked it down only because it woes not contain the magical "Luminous Night of the Soul" (which does not appear to be available on any CD).
Working with the Chamber Orchestra of London, cellist Matthew Sharp, and the Tenebrae and Voces 8 choirs, Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo (YAY-lo) hangs unhurried choral curtains that flutter gently, occasionally augmented by simple but elegant piano pianissimos. “Northern Lights” is the beacon, an a cappella lighthouse sparkling in Voces 8’s icy, minor-key air. In “Tundra,” Reichian ghosts flit through piano figures played by Gjeilo himself, chased by a string quartet and Tenebrae’s soaring vocal flights. Some of these works are unabashedly programmatic, such as “The Spheres,” with its orbiting, overlapping melodies. However, all suggest the stark, slowly shifting auroras of the Scandinavian night skies.