Accentus / Laurence Equilbey

Mendelssohn: Christus; Cantates Chorales

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AllMusic Review by

Conductor Laurence Equilbey continues to broaden the range of repertoire in which the choir Accentus excels. This album presents a sampling of some of Mendelssohn's (relatively) small-scale sacred choral works. Each of them demonstrates the sweet euphony characteristic of so much of the composer's writing. The single-movement cantata Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich, and the chorus from Christus, "Es wird ein Stern aus Jacob aufgehn" are especially lovely examples of the choral serenity Mendelssohn was so skilled at creating. Christus consists of six movements from the unfinished oratorio, with three movements devoted to the Nativity and three to the Passion. In the cantatas based on Lutheran chorales, O Haupt voll blut und wunden and Vom Himmel hoch, it's easy to hear the influence of J.S. Bach in the music's contrapuntal richness and the grandeur summoned in the choral passages. The soloists, soprano Sandrine Piau, tenor Robert Getchell, and basses Markus Butter and Laurent Slaars are all top-notch, singing with exceptionally pure, warm tone, and unmannered delivery. Accentus sings with its accustomed full, sumptuous blend; immaculate intonation; and shapely sensitivity to the music's nuances. Ensemble Orchestral de Paris capably matches the choir's subtlety and musicality. Naïve's album is beautifully engineered, with absolute clarity and spacious ambience. Highly recommended for fans of Romantic choral music.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:11
Christus
2 0:32
3 1:20
4 4:55
5 6:25
6 3:29
7 1:50
O haupt voll blut und wunden
8 6:07
9 4:14
10 1:33
Vom himmel hoch
11 5:06
12 2:11
13 0:46
14 3:08
15 0:50
16 1:35
blue highlight denotes track pick