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Whitbourn: Annelies

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Whitbourn: Annelies
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Audio CD, January 22, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The first major choral setting of The Diary of Anne Frank takes the teenager's remarkable and
penetrating observations, written whilst hiding in an Amsterdam attic, as the basis of its extraordinary
and moving libretto. Whitbourn's music for this work has been described as 'woundingly beautiful'
(The Daily Telegraph). He reflects sounds of the Westerkerk bells and tunes heard on the radio in the
Annexe, along with representations of Anne Frank's Jewish and German heritage, details that add to a
score 'whose respectful understatement is its greatest strength' (The Times).

Review

British composer and conductor James Whitbourn breaks new ground on a familiar subject. Whitbourn is the first to compose a major choral setting of the Diary of Anne Frank. It is a seminal work called Annelies, which is the full name of the brave young, Anne. The work is a relatively recent composition and this is a new recording on the Naxos label. The work is scored for choir, soprano and chamber orchestra all which work together to produce a profound musical and personal experience. In the liner notes, Whitbourn explains, 'all the instruments are associated with the Jewish tradition and culture and while there is no actual quote of traditional Jewish melody,within Annelies, I have often drawn on the melodic contours and expressions in my phrases.' --WQXR Radio, January 27, 2013

The story of the Jewish family that hid itself away for almost the whole of the Second World war was encapsulated in the book The Diary of Anne Frank. To a libretto of Melanie Challenger using words from Annelies's diary, James Whitburn has created a choral setting here recorded for the first time in its chamber version. In fourteen sections it is, in effect, an abridged version of the book from the time they go into hiding, to the capture and the concentration camp. To give this message of hope widespread circulation, Whitbourn has opted for music that could be described as a 'pop' classical cantata. It will thus appeal to a very wide audience. Using a range of musical styles from religious chant through to popular song, it bridges the worlds of the church and the concert hall. Originally scored for full orchestra and premiered as part of the UK's National Holocaust Day, this first appearance on disc was recorded in the United States using, in place of the orchestra, a clarinet, piano, violin and cello. As the composer states, it is the same quartet as used by Messiaen when writing his Quatuor pour la fin du temps. It too was written in his prison camp, though musically the similarity ends there. Whitbourn was the disc s producer and he must have been pleased by the elegant playing of The Lincoln Trio and the singing - in many modes - from the Westminster Williamson Voices, while the ethereal quality of the soprano, Arianna Zukerman, is an ideal choice for the solo role that brings the work to its peaceful conclusion. The sound quality is very good. --David's Review Corner, David Denton
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Westminster Williamson Voices, The Lincoln Trio
  • Conductor: James Jordan
  • Composer: James Whitbourn
  • Audio CD (January 22, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B00A8QBFQE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,365 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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James Whitbourn is a British composer of amazing depth and emotion. His abilities as a composer are shown in this work, Anneliese, to be one of singular talent, tackling a subject deeply ingrained in the post-WW2 holocaust history since the publication of Anne Frank's Diary. This is the first musical representation of that diary allowed by the Frank family, and brings home in one musical piece more emotion than I have felt listening to any work other than some Requiems which are part of the classical stratosphere. I feel certain this work will join those in the fullness of time. It is seldom that I am moved to tears these days by new works, but this one does it several times, brilliantly performed by the Westminster Williamson Voices under the direction of Dr. James Jordan, joined by the Lincoln Trio with soprano Arianna Zuckerman (of that famous musical family) singing the part of Anneliese. If you are a lover of classical music, this is a must-have for your library.
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"Listening to this very moving and powerful performance and reflecting on its message is a painful, tearful, heartrending and, at the same time, an uplifting experience. This oratorio does more than justice to the often told events which, through the fate of an innocent young girl, embody the tragedy of the Holocaust. In 2014 she would have been 85. What might little Annelies have become with all the optimism, insight,love and youthful eloquence she exhibited.
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This is a fantastic CD. I was lucky enough to be at the live performance in Princeton, NJ just before the recording was made. The CD truly captures the energy and detail of the live performance - BRAVO! This is a great piece of music from Mr. Whitbourn - and a stunning performance led by James Jordan. The choral singing is spectacular!
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A competent performance of a very powerful composition.
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By .Christ. on September 15, 2014
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Nice!
~Santa
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This piece must be heard live and understanding of a young life, a dishonor that can't be undone, and the asking for forgiveness is made. This is now the diary. However, it is about Anne Frank. This piece was originally performed with chorus and full orchestra (London/Slatkin) and then was re-scored for chorus and piano trio (for the Williamson Voices, of whom I am quite fond of) and now the final version which is displayed by these amazing musicians and the incredible musicality of the Voices and their ability to transmit this story to the audience. This is a work that MUST be studied. It must be performed. It WILL continue to speak to generations to come. I congratulate the choir, the instrumentalist, the concise conducting of a master musician, and most to the composer, who knows how to shape a piece, rework and reshape and rework until it is perfect. This is Annelies.
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By .Christ. on September 15, 2014
Format: MP3 Music
Nice!
~Santa
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To be able to take the journey involved with this GRAMMY nominated recording was one of our great life privileges.The playing of the instrumentalists took us on a great musical journey, and Arianna Zukerman's deep connection to the spirit of the work was a source of inspiration to us all. The texts chosen from the diary of Anne Frank provide listeners with memory so that this horrendous event for Anne and six million other human souls is kept in our conscious lives.
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