Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Charles Gounod - Mors et Vita - Hendricks, Denize, Aler, van Dam, Plasson







It was the ambition of Gounod to write a great sacred trilogy. He counted the " Redemption " the first part, " Mors et Vita" (" Death and Life") the second, and was engaged upon the third at the time of his death. Both the " Redemption" and " Mors et Vita" are in turn themselves trilogies. " Mors et Vita" was dedicated by Gounod to Pope Leo XIII. The text is arranged from the liturgy of the Catholic Church and the vulgate, and is throughout in Latin. In his preface Gounod thus explains his purpose : " This work is a continuation of my sacred Charles Gounodtrilogy, the " Redemption." It will perhaps be asked why, in the title, I have placed death before life. It is because in the order of eternal things death precedes life, although, in the order of temporal things life precedes death. Death is only the  end of that existence which dies each day; it is only the end of a continual 'dying.' But it is the first moment, and, as it were, the birth of that which dies no more." The first part of the work, " Death" is nothing more or less than a Requiem Mass; the second part is termed " Judgment ;" the third deals with Eternal Life.

Throughout this recording the musicianship of the performers is magnificently on display. Though the work is on the whole too long, as a recording one can sit back and wallow in the rich score, the beautiful voices of Barbara Hendricks, Nadine Denize, John Aler and Jose van Dam, and the wonderfully controlled emotion of Maestro Michael Plasson. The chorus is magnificent and the orchestra performs with a rich variety of color and character.  

Performer: Barbara Hendricks, Nadine Denize, John Aler, José van Dam, Christoph Kuhlmann, et al.
Orchestra: Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse
Conductor: Michel Plasson


flac, scans

1 comment:

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