Various: American Polyphony (CD Review - The New Zealand Herald, 2015)

* * * * *  5 Stars Some Aucklanders have had the pleasure of experiencing the artistry of Stephen Layton in person when he conducted Bach's Bach's Mass in B minor and St John Passion with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in 2012 and 2014. Those familiar with the many CDs featuring Layton with his chamber choir, Polyphony, were not disappointed. Polyphony's celebration of Arvo Part's 80th birthday w

Bach: St John Passion (CD Review - Music Web International, 2013)

Bach : St John Passion - Music Web International Stephen Layton and Polyphony perform the St. John Passion every year around Easter time, usually at St. John’s Smith Square in London. This recording was made in the days that followed their performance there on 6 April 2012. Bach revised the work several times, as is explained in the excellent note by the eminent Bach scholar, Christoph Wolff; this

Handel: Messiah (CD Review - Music Web International, 2010)

In a sense this release brings my experience to date of Messiah on CD full circle. The very first Messiah that I acquired was a live recording, also from St. John’s Smith Square and captured by Hyperion. That was the 1985 version by The Sixteen and Harry Christophers (now on Hyperion’s Dyad label, which I still regard highly. Since then several other CD versions of Handel’s great masterpiece have

Handel: Messiah (CD Review - Music Web International, 2009)

THUMBS UP Choosing a version of Messiah used to be comparatively easy. If you wanted a big-scale performance in the Victorian tradition, you went for one of Sir Malcolm Sargent’s recordings with the Huddersfield Choral Society or even for Sir Thomas Beecham’s with everything on board except – perhaps even including – the kitchen sink. Sargent is still to be had, in stereo on a 6-CD budget Classics

Lauridsen: Lux aeterna (CD Review - Fanfare USA, 2005)

I had seen the name of Morten Lauridsen with growing frequency over the past few years; he seemed to be attracting an ever-larger reputation among choral circles for a body of music that singers love to perform. But even though as long ago as 1998, I had noted a CD of his Lux aeterna and other choral works garnering a Grammy nomination, and several other recordings of his music have since emerged,

Pärt: Triodion (CD Review - Choir and Organ, 2003)

I had never been to Venice before this summer, and the relentless beauty of the place overwhelmed me. This new CD, too, is relentlessly beautiful: just as one palazzo follows another on the Grand Canal, so here one polished gem succeeds another in performances of an intensity that raises the hair on the nape of the neck. I haven't heard a choral recording to beat it in years. Stephen Layton and Po