Various Artists – Crooners & Divas (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 02:34:19  minutes | 1,42 GB | Genre: Jazz, Easy Listening, Vocal Pop
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Digital Booklet | © Music square

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Valentin Silvestrov – To Thee We Sing – Sacred Choral Works – Latvian Radio Choir, Sigvards Klava (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 00:59:59 minutes | 968 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: highresaudio.com | Front Cover | © Ondine Oy, Helsinki

Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov (b. 1937) is an important contemporary voice in vocal music. In this new release Silvestrov’s hauntingly beautiful vocal works are performed by the Latvian Radio Choir under their director Sigvards Kļava.
     During his artistic career Silvestrov has explored a number of musical styles and techniques, such as avant-guard, post-modernism, neo-classicism, dodecaphony, aleatoric writing and pointillism. The fall of the Soviet Union, however, allowed Silvestrov to eventually compose spiritual works, inspired and influenced by his love of the Russian Orthodox Church music.
     Silvestrov imbues with his own unique sound and bursts of surprising harmonic moves. Silvestrov’s compositions are invested with the composer’s own unique personality, musical sensibility and sense of beauty.
     Latvian Radio Choir’s previous releases on Ondine have been highly successful. For instance, the recording of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil (ODE 1206-5) was chosen as the Record of the Month, Editor’s Choice and received a nomination in the Gramophone Awards in 2013.

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Antonio Vivaldi – L’Amore per Elvira – Mhairi Lawson, La Serenissima, Adrian Chandler (2006)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 01:15:33 minutes | 1,3 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: LINN | Digital Booklet | © LINN Records
Recorded: March 2006, St Andrew’s Church, Toddington, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

L’Amore per Elvira is the title La Serenissima have given this disc, referring to the fact that the three chamber cantatas it includes deal with the ups and downs of love for a lady of that name. Put together they tell a neat little story; the lover timidly declares his feelings; the lover must go on a journey and makes a tearful farewell; the lover returns for a joyous reunion. Each consists of a pair of recitatives and arias, and while the latter are full of the kind of striking and demanding vocal writing we have learnt to expect from Vivaldi, it is the opening recitatives which seem most determined to grab the attention. From the trembling trills at the start of Tremori al braccio or the slightly overwrought Elvira anima mia to the excitable Lungi del vago volto, each sets the mood for its ensuing cantata with memorable boldness and imagination.
Mhairi Lawson brings to them her characteristically bright and powerful tone and strong sense of drama. The three instrumental works which interleave with the cantatas on this disc Adrian Chandler presents with an engaging combination of keen-edged incisiveness and silky tone.
Amid the current welter of Vivaldi recordings, however, there is no doubt that with well programmed and performed releases such as this, La Serenissima are winning an important place for themselves. —Gramophone, January 2007

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