CHOIR OF SAINT IGNATIUS LOYOLA
GINASTERA: Lamentations; SCHNITTKE: Concerto for ChoirMusic From St Ignatius Loyola ~ Volume VIII
Alberto Ginastera, Alfred Schnittke
CHOIR OF SAINT IGNATIUS LOYOLA
“Two a cappella choral masterpieces by two of the past century's best. Both have become standard rep for top choral groups, and both require top-flight choirs just to get through them at all… the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola more than qualifies… I can't imagine a better live performance, and it's indeed a live performance that this CD has captured. Kent Tritle has not only done stunning work with his choir, but a fabulous job shaping these complex works. Recommended, for all sorts of reasons.”
Steve Schwartz, ClassicalNet – October 2011
"[The Schnittke] is well sung... The performance of [the Ginastera] is terrific."
Turok's Choice - No.214, October 2009
"[Ginastera's Lamentations are] sung brilliantly here. Absolutely exquisite is the the singing in "Ego vir videns". The Choir not only sings [the Schnittke] with power, but with commendable sensitivity to the many shadings of mood that color this journey of the faithful. Recorded sound...is strong and clear...this is a most distinguished and useful release."
Greenfield, American Record Guide - September / October 2009
"...ferocity with which the 44 professionals of [St Ignatius Loyola] launch into Ginastera's Lamentations..."
Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine - June 2009 [ * * * * ]
"The Choir of St Ignatius Loyola cope admirably with the numerous challenges [of the two works]...the most striking aspect of the choir's interpretations is its warmth and depth of feeling. They sustain a breathtaking atmosphere of ethereal melancholy in the middle movement of the Ginastera, and the Schnittke is thrillingly ardent... superb performances."
A. Farach-Colton, Gramophone - August 2009
"...two works whose differing sound worlds would seem not to fit one another on a concert, despite the similarity of subject matter. That they do so is due to the imagination of the conductor of the choir."
Alan Swanson, Fanfare - July / August 2009
"Here...we have a splendid performance [of the Ginastera]... The Choir of St Ignatius Loyola sings Schnittke with a striking urgency... unmistakably in winning form. "
Howard Smith, Music & Vision - June 2009
"[In Ginastera’s Lamentations of Jeremiah] the depth of the St. Ignatius choir’s tone surrounds the notes and animates the intensity of Ginastera’s composition, the driving nature of the rhythms enhanced by the energetic articulation of the text. [In the middle movement] the choir convincingly darkens their aggregate blend, dragging the forward motion to a quasi-stasis befitting the setting. [In the 3rd movement] the musicians in the chorus betray their artistic connection to the setting and text, utilizing the full dynamic range of their ensemble and the acoustic possibilities the St. Ignatius church affords. Their remarkably rich texture not only does credit to the composition, it enhances it...
Presented with special pride and affection by the St. Ignatius choir, the 2nd piece on the recording is Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir... The St. Ignatius choir is remarkably at home in this repertoire, its sound saturated with vibrancy and resonance throughout the variegated textures and demands it encounters... Although seldom programmed since its première, the St. Ignatius choir captures a performance of this choral masterwork imbued with artistic integrity, perhaps best evidenced by the incredibly masterful diminuendo that concludes the piece, as if the prayers of the author are ascending the heavens to God’s ears...
The CD liner booklet is a very thorough and helpful supplement to the recording. It includes a brief biography and overlay of compositional education and background for both composers as well as an eloquent formal discussion of each piece by Kent Tritle's colleague Cleveland E. Kersh..."
Robert Myers, Classical Voice of New England
"this live recording captures a couple of tremendously affecting pieces... [Ginastera] gives us an opening movement that is strikingly aggressive and annoyed; this is no prophet that is melancholy and repentant but one who is angry... It puts a whole new spin on how you hear these things, and is a testament to the genius of the composer that he is able to grant us a fresh perspective on this age-old text and music. This is a wonderful discovery... [The Schnittke] is an extraordinarily moving and intricate piece that successfully marries the typical and well known techniques of the composer along with a passion and romantic sensibility that seems to come directly from Rachmaninoff’s Vespers ...this is a religious piece of music through and through with some gorgeous harmonies and profoundly heartwarming moments... this work is in a category of its own - a marvelous discovery for me, and, I’ll wager, for you as well... The Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola sings with an almost desperate affection in both of these works, while director Kent Tritle maintains a firm grip on the overall pace to wonderful effect. Highest recommendation."
Audiophile Audition - April 2009 / Four Stars * * * *
PROGRAM NOTESIn our 20 years of presenting concerts on the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series on Park Avenue, we have brought a great deal of lesser-known yet exquisite choral music to our New York City audiences. There have been many musical epiphanies along the way, from Arvo Pärt’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and Miserere (both New York premieres) to Olivier Messiaen’s Trois Petite Liturgies to many works by living American composers. One of our most profound discoveries was Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir. I could see from the first rehearsal how moved our singers were by Schnittke’s intensely personal choice of text (which we were singing in Russian) and by his incredible tool kit of techniques which brought that text alive. That was in early 2005. We unanimously felt that Concerto for Choir was a piece we needed to record, and so we revisited it in 2008. The audience at our performance of this live recording was rapt and silent (in spite of our creaky pews!) You may hear the occasional rumbling of the Metro North Railroad, which runs under Park Avenue. Above all, you will hear the devotion and commitment of these fine musicians to this crucial but still under-performed addition to the 20th Century canon of great choral music.
-- Kent Tritle, October 2008
Hailed by The New York Times as “a finely polished, stylistically nimble ensemble,” the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola is comprised of New York’s finest professional choral singers led by Music Director Kent Tritle. The Choir’s “tremendous expressive and dynamic range” and “remarkable vocal discipline and finesse” (The New York Times) is featured in the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert series, now entering its 20th season. Each member is a soloist in his or her own right in a variety of genres including early music, opera, oratorio and contemporary repertoire. The core group of 19 members sings a demanding schedule of weekly parish worship services in a wide range of repertoire, with particular emphasis on new works, the sacred Renaissance repertoire and Gregorian chant. The Choir may be heard on recordings for the MSR Classics and AMDG labels. In March 2006, the Choir was invited as the headline chorus at the Southwestern American Choral Directors Association convention in St. Louis, MO.Kent Tritle is one of America’s leading choral conductors. He is founder of Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, the acclaimed concert series at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York; Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York and of Musica Sacra; Director of Choral Activities at the Manhattan
School of Music; and a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. An acclaimed organ virtuoso, Tritle is also the organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra.
In his 22 years of presenting concerts on the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series, Mr. Tritle conducted the Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola in a broad repertoire of sacred works, from Renaissance masses and oratorio masterworks to premieres by notable living composers. As the Director of Music Ministries at St. Ignatius Loyola, Tritle directed a program that annually produces more than 400 liturgies with music. In his tenure there from 1989-2011, he led the church’s professional choir in critically acclaimed performances and developed the 50-voice volunteer Parish Community Choir. Kent Tritle has made more than a dozen recordings on the Telarc, AMDG, Epiphany, Gothic, VAI and MSR Classics labels, many of which have received high praise in Gramophone, American Record Guide and The Choral Journal.
Mr. Tritle holds degrees from The Juilliard School in organ performance and choral conducting and has been on the Juilliard faculty since 1996. He is currently teaching choral conducting, and directing a graduate practicum on oratorio in collaboration with the school’s Vocal Arts Department.
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