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Choral Tradition

This week: two early Masses by Mozart... "early" meaning Mozart was only 12 or 13 years old when he composed both of these works! The recordings come from two large CD box sets issued by Teldec and Philips in 1991 for the Mozart bicentennial year.

Two choral cantatas by Mendelssohn this week: his setting of Psalm 42, and Die erste Walpurgisnacht (The First Walpurgis Night), based on a poem about the Faust legend by Goethe.

This week, two sections from the original (much longer!) version of Mahler's early cantata, Das Klagende Lied (Song of Lamentation); and a setting of Psalm 23 by Alexander Zemlinsky.

This week: early and modern liturgical music by Polish composers, including works by Penderecki and Gorecki, performed by the Silesian Philharmonic Choir.

This week: Bach Cantatas, with the choruses performed chamber-style, one-voice-per-part, by La Petite Bande, Sigiswald Kuijken conducting.

This week, 20th-century choral music by Alberto Ginastera and Alfred Schnittke.

Featured this week: Elgar's cantata The Music Makers and Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, both performed live by Dutch choirs.

Choral music for Henry VIII, performed by the vocal ensemble "Alamire" with Andrew Lawrence King conducting. Though Henry's reputation forever rests with the tyrannical later years of his reign, during his first 20 years as king (starting in 1509) he was one of Europe's greatest arts patrons... and a pretty good composer in his own right. There's no choral music by Henry VIII on this CD, but we will have time for one of his instrumental works at the end.

A new CD of "American Choral Premieres," featuring sacred choral works by American composers including Hovhaness, Easley Blackwood, and George Rochberg, with texts drawn variously from the Bible, non-Biblical sacred writings, and poetry. Performers are the William Ferris Chorale directed by Paul French.

This week, Mendelssohn's hybrid symphony-cantata "Lobgesang" (Hymn of Praise), published as his Symphony No.2 in Bb, Op.52, written for a celebration of the 400th anniversary of printing.

Today, a new CD on the Hungaroton label featuring choral works by Ottorino Respighi and his younger contemporary László Lajtha.

This week we revisit some recordings that introduced many music lovers to some lesser-known choral works of Mozart back in the mid-1950s, on a new CD from Archipel sourced from Vox LPs ca.1954-55.

The King's Singers have released a new CD, "Romance du Soir," featuring pieces from their concert repertoire that they just hadn't gotten around to recording... before now. The selections alternate between the Romantic era (Saint-Saens, Brahms, Schumann, Richard Strauss, Elgar, Arthur Sullivan) and earlier masters like Wilbye, Lassus, and Ludwig Senfl. A special treat is the "new" (well, written in 2001!) work composed for the King's Singers by American composer Libby Larsen as a "valentine" to the group: it's called "A Lover's Journey."

The Choir of Lichfield Cathedral in England has a rich tradition. In the early 1980s they recorded for the Abbey/Alpha label, and some of these recordings have just been reissued on Griffin GCCD-4064 on a CD called "A Lichfield Celebration." They sing liturgical music (hymns, psalms, anthems, Magnificats etc.) by various British composers as well as Gabriel Fauré and 17th-century German composer Johann Crüger.

This week, two choral masses from the late 17th century by Johann Caspar Kerll (1627-1693) featuring the Dresden Boys Choir.