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Endbeginning [Super Audio CD - DSD]

New York Polyphony Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Endbeginning + Times Go By Turns + Tudor City
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 28, 2012)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Super Audio CD - DSD
  • Label: Bis
  • ASIN: B0077FM4I2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,416 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "My end is my beginning, and my beginning my end." February 29, 2012
Though most every lover of fine music knows about the female vocal group Anonymous 4 this new recording introduces to many of us the magnificent musicianship of the New York Polyphony, a quartet of male voices who sing unaccompanied with a blend of vocal resources that is hauntingly beautiful and richly diverse. Fprmed in 2006, the artists are Geoffrey Williams, countertenor,'Geoffrey Silver, tenor,' Christopher Dylan Herbert, baritone, and Craig Phillips, bass. Critcs reviewing their performances throughout the U.S. and Europe, including the Miller Theatre Music Series at Columbia University; Dallas Chamber Music Series; Ireland's Ardee Baroque Festival; Denmark's Vendsyssel Festival; Festival de Música de Morelia, Mexico; and the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center have praised them for `a rich, natural sound that's larger and more complex than the sum of its parts.'

The recording endBeginning was recorded in the superb acoustics of the 14th century church of Länna, Sweden, and features rare and never-before recorded works from the Franco-Flemish Renaissance by composers Crecquillon, Brumel and Clemens non Papa. The program concludes with Jackson Hill's brilliant paraphrase of Machaut's 14th century rondeau, My end is my beginning, commissioned by the ensemble in 2009. To quote the insert `The music was partly used liturgically, for instance Brumel's Mass for the Dead, which incorporates the first known polyphonic setting of the Dies irae as its extensive centerpiece. Similarly the Lamentations by Crecquillon--a setting which is possibly appearing on disc for the first time--would have been used in churches during Holy Week, with the destruction of Jerusalem as mourned by the prophet Jeremiah standing as a symbol of the Passion of Christ.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good polyphony June 3, 2013
This is a very good disc of some excellent and slightly out-of-the-way polyphony 16th-Century polyphony reflecting on loss and death. The two major works are Brumel's Requiem and Crequillon's setting of the Lamentations with a motet each by Josquin and Clemens non Papa. The disc concludes with a new work by Jackson Hill. It's a very good programme, very well sung.

The Brumel and Crecquillon works are not often recorded, but are very good indeed. Brumel's Requiem is a lovely setting - slightly spare and rooted in chant but none the less beautiful for that. Crecquillon's Lamentations have a richer feel but share the melancholic mood of the Requiem. I'd not heard the work before and am very glad to have found this recording because it is a truly lovely piece. Rather to my surprise, I also liked the Jackson Hill piece, a "re-imagining" of Ma Fin Est Mon Commencement by Machaut, which uses distinctively 21st-Century harmonies and effects but is meditative and rather lovely in its way.

New York Polyphony are a very good ensemble. They are an all-male quartet who sing one to a part and at lower pitch with a countertenor taking the top line. They are technically very good and their overall sound is lovely - restrained, smooth and well blended. My one reservation is that this mellowness of sound sometimes slightly masks the meaning of the texts: Dies Ire, for example, sounds more laid-back than wrathful, and a little more variety would have been welcome. The only other recording of the Brumel Requiem I know is by The Clerk's Group which for some may go a little too far in the direction of harshness in places but does convey the meaning of the words rather better. It's a matter of taste and will depend on what you like.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime Listening Experience March 12, 2012
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We should all be extremely grateful for the informative review of 5 stars given by the first reviewer. I enjoy Renaissance and Early Music and have purchased all of the New York Polyphony cds to date (there are 3 including this one) after hearing them a few weeks ago on WQXR-FM one morning and falling in love with their sound. While I did not play this cd on a SACD player, nor did I hear it on a 5.1 surround stereo system, but I did play it on an ordinary cd player with a reasonably priced Sherwood stereo and bookshelf Polk speakers, and it is simply sublime. The inate beauty of the music, the production and those amazing voices will enthrall even the most uninterested listener. It is simply that good all on its own.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful polyphonic sounds from a talented quartet April 2, 2012
By M L
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This c d is a wonderful addition to the music library of any fan of classical polyphony. This supremely talented and dedicated group performed in Dallas last year, and I have been a fan ever since. Delighted to see they have come out with another c d. Recommended!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Blending, Exquisite Recording April 2, 2012
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The men of New York Poliphony are singers of the highest caliber. They produce such full and rich sounds on every track that at times they sound more like a choir of 30 rather than a quartet. I've already added this album to my regular choral rotation. Highly recommended.
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