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Sjaella & Ensemble Nobiles: Hugo Distler (1908-1942)

Sjaella & Ensemble Nobiles:  Hugo Distler (1908-1942) 

© 2012 (CD ROP6068)
total time 65:55

Title available on iTunes


Catalogue no.: ROP6068

EUR 16,95

19 % VAT incl., excl. Shipping costs


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Commemorating the 70th anniversary of Hugo Distler’s death, two successful vocal ensembles from Leipzig perform together on a single CD for the first time. The three- and four-voice motets recorded by the young ladies of the Sjaella sextet and the five young gentlemen of the Ensemble Nobiles represent some of the highlights from Distler’s choral oeuvre: the Jahrkreis op. 5, and the Geistliche Chormusik op. 12. One of the composer’s best-known works, the Totentanz op. 12 no. 2, stands at the heart of this disc.

The fourteen motets for Eternity Sunday contained in the Totentanz op. 12 no. 2 were set to music by Hugo Distler and form the work’s musical part. Distler accompanies the motets with non-musical verses that narrate a dialogue between death and his numerous victims. While on the present recording some of the victims’ roles are spoken by the singers themselves, Heinz-Martin Benecke lends death his charismatic voice.

The Totentanztopos is known especially through its pictorial representations of death’s hold on human life thatwere popular during the fourteenth century. The LübeckTotentanz, for example, depicts clerics and lay people, from the Pope to an innocent child, in descending hierarchical order and separatesthem from each other by a dancing image of death clothed with a shroud. Its central message is: everyone, be he emperor or slave, will perish.

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American Record Guide (18.03.2013, William Trotter):

„The combined Sjaella and Ensemble Nobiles groups, apparently performing without a conductor, sing superbly, with the pure, vibratoless tone production necessary to make Distler's music reverberate with the ethereal a capella purity he intended. His style is suberbly established in the opening track, „Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied“ (Sing to the Lord a New Song). It clearly reveals his emphasis on lean, linear counterpoint rather then impressively build up fortissimos. In mostly three – or four-voice construction, each vocal line lives a life of its own, interacting with the others in occasional line crossing with pungent harmonies or piquant passing dissonances, often floating melismatically often enlived by difficult, puls-quickening crossrythms, and usually closing with extraordinarily satisfying quiet cadences.“

Klassik.com – CD Review (13.12.2012, Dr. Matthias Lange):

„Sjaella und das Ensemble Nobiles entsprechen mit ihrem Klangideal und der Jugendlichkeit ihrer Stimmen wunderbar der Faktur der Distlerschen Sätze. Alle wichtigen interpretatorischen Entscheidungen erweisen sich als tragfähig. Ergebnis ist eine rundum überzeugende Distler-Platte, die sich in der gar nicht so schmalen Diskographie deutlich behaupten kann.“

Pizzicato - CD Review (März 2013, ge)

„Die beiden Vokalensembles 'Sjaella' und 'Nobiles' liefern uns einige sehr schöne Beispiele, wie kunstvoll Distler den schlichten Volksgesang formte. […] Die schöne Balance zwischen kristallinen Oberstimmen, weicher Mittellage und warmer Tiefe sorgt für eine klare, präzise Gestaltung von Wort und Musik.“

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