on March 26, 2013
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
"Colorful" collection of repertoire. Nice balance between experimental modern (requires serious listening) and more traditional modern. One of Chanticleer's best, in my opinion.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This compilation is essential listening, especially (but not exclusively) for those already introduced to the marvels of Chanticleer. It features a wide variety of contemporary madrigals all dedicated to the theme of love. Gorgeous polyphony, entrancing dissonance; the music is very difficult, but Chanticleer's vocalism is exemplary, as always. The whole feel of the album takes some getting used to for the uninitiated. After a few listenings, though, one can fully perceive its unique and sublime beauty.
Highlights abound. The first three tracks, all lullabies by Steven Stucky, are brilliantly executed, but it is track four, Village Wedding by John Taverner, that first knocked my socks off. It seems to represent the absolutely ideal match between composer and performer, between written and sung text. It consists of a wonderful poem by Greek poet Angelos Sikelianos, with a recurring excerpt from the Eastern Orthodox wedding ceremony interspersed throughout. Taverner is himself a member of the Eastern Orthodox church, and the song is as much a spiritual experience as a musical one.
Another fantastic piece is Words of the Sun, by Chinese composer Zhou Long. It is probably the most accessible song on the CD, with numerous lovely subtleties and nuances that can be fully appreciated after multiple exposures.
Lastly, I'd like to express my sincere conviction that In Time Of (by Steven Sametz, set to a poem by E.E. Cummings) is the single most gorgeous piece of music I have ever had the great fortune to hear. The sonority is perfectly balanced, each arching phrase better than the one before. Please, for the sake of pure unadulterated beauty, purchase this CD. You will not regret it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Just recently had the opportunity to hear Chanticleer in concert...this CD certainly gives a cross section of their range...especially liked the "Tang Poems" and "Words of the Sun", which they performed live...very esoteric mix of musical styles...well worth the purchase for Chanticleer lovers!
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2000
Format: Audio CD
First of all let me state that the 4 stars isn't for the performance...which is truly outstanding...it is for a few pieces that are a tad sub-par. I also want to mention that its not that the pieces are modern either, I happen to be extremely sympathetic to modern music.
I usually don't like to do reviews this way, but I'm going to make a few comments piece by piece:
1) CRADLE SONGS - The first two of this trio of lullabies are great...the ones from Brazil & Poland are hauntingly beautiful...I'm not so crazy about the one from Tobago. A fairly strong piece, its certainly interesting.
2) VILLAGE WEDDING - This is one of the best three pieces on the album, and probably the best. Hearing John Tavener's work next to his contemporaries is an easy indicator of why he is considered one of this century's greatest and certainly one of the greatest living composers. Simultaneously it is joyous, austere, reverent & spiritual. Simply beautiful & amazing.
3) CANTI D'AMOUR - This is an up & down work. I'm not sure what the composer had in mind, but I find the first part to be amusing. It reminds me of barbershop quartet. It has more somber moments too that are quite moving. Overall though, its okay.
4) WORDS OF THE SUN - After the Tavener piece, this is my favorite one. I would like to hear some of Zhou Long's other works. It is a very subtle piece. Very Chinese too, yet simultaneously western. This is one of my favorite pieces by eastern composers of western music. Lyrically, it is amazing. Its borrowed from a 20th century Chinese poem that is gorgeous in English, I'm sure its even more so in Chinese. Musically, it is very stirring.
5) TANG POEMS - This piece too is written by a Chinese composer (Chen Yi) and it is distinctly Chinese. I am intrigued at some of the techniques used by the composer. I am really pleased with the piece, although I'm sure some find it a little "too eastern." It is extremely pretty if one is accustomed to eastern melodies. The 2nd part is a bit sharper and probably less accessible than the first part.
6) THE RUB OF LOVE - One of the duller pieces on the album.
7) IN TIME OF - Sublime. The opening few bars are unearthly. Definately one of the three best pieces. They definately need to keep this one in their concert repetoire (along with the Tavener and the two pieces by Chinese composers.) This is one of those works you have to hear to believe.
8) LOVE SONGS - This is a quirky collection of tunes by Augusta Read Thomas. It runs the gamut of serious to extremely silly. There are some strong points here, but some of it is too silly to stand the test of time ("Alas, The Love of Women"). Eventhough it is extremely unconventional, the part entitled "For Stony Limits Cannot Hold Love Out" is powerful. It is piercing & strange, but it really works with the text.
There are times when I love everything on this CD, and times when some of it gets on my nerves. It is, however, never boring and the performances are superb. I highly congratulate Chanticleer for not sitting on their laurels. This is adventursome stuff and it works 90% of the time, which is more than I can say for 99% of the ensembles out there.
I highly recommend this disc for "Village Wedding," "Words of the Sun," "In Time of," and "Tang Poems."
Pick it up, be adventuresome. Enjoy.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Chanticleer is one of the USA's finest choral ensembles, and they have picked a marvelous and diverse program for this recording -- with something that would appeal to absolutely everybody. The inclusion of two "husband-wife" pairs in the choice of music also makes for a special connection to the theme of the disc. Of special note to this reviewer are the "delicious" sonorities of Bernard Rands's "Canti d'Amor" and Augusta Read Thomas's "Love Songs" -- Chanticleer is a group who is able to pull off this difficult music beautifully. This recording was absolutely deserving of the Grammy that is received -- one of the finest discs of modern choral music in the past few years.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Chanticleer must surely be the greatest vocal chamber group in America. On this disc, the virtuosity of these twelve men is stretched to all possible limits in a programme of highly contrating contemporary works. Every item on this disc is a premiere recording, and it all depends on what you like. I, of course, find the Tavener "Village Wedding" to be a very arresting piece and Chanticleer prove themselves to be worthy interpreters of it. The incomparable music of Augusta Read Thomas, with very fierce dissonances, deliciously "blue" melodies and even wild sporadic laughter at one point, could not be more different that the Tavener, nor for that matter could the exquisite works by the Japanese composer Zhou Long or the colourful madrigal-like pieces by Steven Stucky. Yet, whatever you like or don't like about it, all this music is united by the incredible talents of this group. I was at times staggered by their flexibility and meticulousness.
This CD makes for utterly rewarding listening, containing as it does many surprises and an eclectic range of pieces. Congratulations to Chanticleer and Teldec for making it- let's hope for more like it in the future!
2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Almost every song on this CD is bad-- but two stunning exceptions make this CD well worth buying: Village Wedding (Track 4) and In time of... (Track 16). They are both (especially the latter) absolutely breathtaking-- buy this disc just for them.