Paul Hillier / Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Baltic Voices 1

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Beautifully recorded, beautifully sung, beautifully directed, and beautifully presented, there is really only one thing wrong with Baltic Voices Vol. 1: it's almost too beautiful for too long. Cyrillus Kreek's Psalms of David is beautiful with tonal waves of choral beauty borne aloft by the wonderfully blended voices of the Estonian Chamber Choir. Sven-David Sandström's adaptation of Purcell's Hear my prayer, O Lord is beautiful with sighing surges of sculpted sound molded by Paul Hillier's expert conducting. Einojuhani Rautavaara's Lorca Suite is beautiful, but perhaps a little harsh and possibly a little driven, but still beautiful. Veljo Tormis' Latvian Bourdon Songs is beautiful with humming and howling beauty, it's true, but still beautiful. Sandström's Es ist genug is beautiful, mournfully, miserably beautiful, but still beautiful. Arvo Pärt's ...which was the son of... is beautiful, arguably a little too austere and chaste, but still beautiful. By the time the disc gets to Peteris Vasks' Dona nobis pacem, all of this choral beauty is getting to be a bit too much of a good thing. But thankfully, Dona nobis pacem is accompanied by the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, which makes Vasks' astoundingly beautiful -- gnarly, oblique, and severe, but still profoundly beautiful -- Dona nobis pacem an aural relief after nearly an hour of almost too much beautiful choral music. In small doses, this is a very, very beautiful disc. But listening to it straight through may be too much beauty for any listener.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Psalms of David (Taaveti laulud), for chorus
1
2:38
2
3:08
3
2:13
4
2:51
5
6:30
Lorca Suite, for mixed or children's choir
6
1:10
7
1:49
8
2:05
9
1:27
Latvian Bourdon Songs, for chorus
10 2:11
11 3:08
12 3:25
13 2:42
14 3:10
15 2:29
16
10:36
17
7:37
18 15:06
blue highlight denotes track pick