Chorus Gloriosus

The CD Chorus Gloriosus contains works for choir and organ, recorded at Studio Acusticum with soloist Helena Holmlund. The CD blasts off into a jubilant Te Deum by Sven-David Sandström. The same text, interpreted by James MacMillan is also co-inhabiting the album. The finale consists of Sofia Gubaidulina's Jauchzt vor Gott.

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"Chorus Gloriosus" is the latest recording the Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble. And features the world-renowed Organ Acusticum–one of the finest concert organs in the world. Organ Acusticum stands in the concert hall of Studio Acusticum in Piteå, Sweden […]. The recording begins with “Te Deum” by Sandstrom. Written for Thanksgiving Sunday (celebrated in Sweden on the second Sunday if October), it is a mixture if Swedish and Latin. Interspersed with a cappella segments it is a dialogue between the wonderful instrument and the choir. Stunning choral exclamations are woven into dynamic organ interludes and the result is a portentous work of art.

British composer Kenneth Leighton’s breathtaking “Crucifixus Pro Nobis” is an ideal programming for a Good Friday service. Although the work itself is titled in Latin, the entire work is sung in English. A tour-de-force for choir and organ, “Crucifixus’” first segment “Christ In The Cradle”, is written to tenor solo with a thinly textured organ accompaniment. Tenor Rodrigo Sosa performs this with true mastery and sensitivity. “Christ In The Garden” is a passionate, heart-wrenching work that evokes the intensity of Christ’s prayer at Gethsemane. “Christ In His Passion again features a tenor solo in a chilling description of the crucifixion. The choral ensemble is also featured in this movement, while the organ is incidental, largely due to the complex and highly descriptive passages of text. “Hymn” the concluding segment, I a stunning a cappella work – a fitting, solemn movement that describes one‘s view of the cross in a plea of repentance. […]

The strength of this recording, though, lies in the second “Te Deum, composed by renowned Scottish composer Sir James McMillan. […] McMillan’s compositional technique shines in this stunning and magnificent work. The piece, which at times divides the chorus into twenty-one parts, begins and ends with a four-part male chorus. “Jauchzt der Gott”, by Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina, triumphantly concludes the recording. Now living in Hamburg, Germany, Gubaidulina’s music has a profound spiritual basis; she is a devout Orthodox Christian and believes that the function of art is to achieve “re-ligio”, to restore the connection between God and man.

“Jauchzt der Gott” was commissioned in 1989 by Gidon Kremer for a service in the context of a music festival in Austria. For almost the entire piece, the choir sings only the “Jauchzt” [“shout for joy”] Plainsong-like phrases interspersed with varying textures resolve to a relaxed ending with a soprano pedal point and low-pitched murmurings in the organ. "Chours Gloriosus" contains absolutely astounding music performed exquisitely by the Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble.
Choral Journey