Elīna Garanča


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Meditation, mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca's 2014 release on Deutsche Grammophon, is an album of serene vocal and choral works that express religious feelings with an operatic touch and showcase the Latvian singer's warm and radiant voice. Choosing pieces from the early Baroque era to contemporary works, Garanca presents a soothing program that is consistent in its comforting tone and gentle treatment, though as a purely musical consideration, it tends to flow a bit too evenly and predictably. Insofar as the selections represent the Christian tradition, including settings of the Ave Maria, the Salve Regina, the Sanctus, the Agnus Dei, and the Regina Coeli, the character of the collection admits little variety, except for the general alternation between penitential and quietly ecstatic moods. There is an exception to the calm, classical norm in the commercial slickness of Dievaines by Latvian composer Ugis Praulins, which is out of place with its oversized vocals and bombastic orchestration (track 3). However, this CD is a serious attempt to present sacred music in a way that will please Garanca's large audience, and on the whole the music is presented tastefully and with genuine emotion. In addition to the listeners who are attracted by its religious theme, this album has crossover appeal for followers of easy listening and casual classical fans.

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