A stunning 3CD set featuring the most popular classical singers of our time.
The greatest Christmas melodies and captivating festive songs sung by the finest singers in the world. A must-have compilation this Christmas.
Includes best-loved artists Il Divo, Susan Boyle, Josh Groban, Katherine Jenkins, Collabro, Richard & Adam, Jonathan Antoine, Russell Watson, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and many more!
This album is the second release in the Naxos Czech Music Masters from Vienna series, and features the world premiere recording of Kozeluch’s magnificent coronation cantata. The coronation of Leopold II in Prague in 1791 came at a difficult time for European monarchs, although Leopold himself enjoyed a reputation as an enlightened ruler. Two musical works were commissioned for the occasion: Mozart’s opera ‘La clemenza di Tito’ and Kozeluch’s cantata ‘Heil dem Monarchen.’ The cantata, by turns celebratory, serene and darkly dramatic, was well-received and enhanced Kozeluch’s reputation in royal circles. It almost certainly played a part in his appointment in 1792 to the court of Leopold’s son and successor, the last Holy Roman Emperor Franz II.
The music of the 12th century poet and composer Hildegard von Bingen continues to exert a spell on the modern imagination, and not just among those who are (rightly) eager to seize on her as an early feminist icon. The chant melodies, rendered here with heartfelt elegance by the women’s chorus Vajra Voices under the direction of Karen R. Clark, are striking in both their shapeliness and the spiritual fervor that runs through them. To a modern listener, accustomed to hearing melodic lines combined in contrapuntal mesh or harmonic byplay, the spareness of these textures - even with the deft accompaniment of Shira Kammen on the vielle (a bowed string instrument) and medieval harp - can make them seem attenuated. But listen more closely, and Hildegard’s careful attentiveness to the liturgical texts, with all their implications, becomes ever more affecting.
This well-planned Naxos programme is carefully laid out in two parts, each of viol music interspersed with harpsichord and organ pieces and ending with an anthem. It gives collectors an admirable opportunity to sample, very inexpensively, the wider output of Thomas Tomkins, and outstandingly fine Elizabethan musician whose music is still too known. Though he is best known for hid magnificent church music, it is refreshing to discover what he could do with viols, experimenting with different combinations of sizes of instruments, usually writing with the polyphony subservient to expressive harmonic feeling, as in the splendid and touching Fantasia for six viols. Perhaps the most remarkable piece here is the Hexachord fantasia, where the scurrying part-writing ornaments a rising and falling six-note scale (hexachord). The two five-part verse anthems and Above the stars, which is in six parts, are accompanied by five viols, with a fine counter-tenor in Above the stars and a bass in Thou art my King.