Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton

Ēriks Ešenvalds: Northern Lights

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AllMusic Review by James Manheim

One critic has dubbed the music of Latvian composer Eriks Esenvalds "relentless rapture," and it's true that the choral pieces here, mostly unaccompanied (a harp is a nice addition in three of them), do not vary widely in mood. But one can't blame Esenvalds for moving into what is clearly a wide-open space in the market between Baltic holy minimalism and the harmonic and philosophical warm bath of John Rutter's music. Esenvalds negotiates this happy medium very well, with just enough sentiment in the big soprano lines to make you feel good, but not enough to invite charges of schlock. The music has the spareness of the Baltic choral school even if it takes a few steps in the direction of conventional tonality, and Esenvalds responds to the various texts, some of them in English (he has attracted commissions in both Britain and the U.S.), through melodic shape more than through harmony or tempo. He couldn't have found a better set of collaborators than the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge and its conductor, Stephen Layton, who amplify the music with intriguing effects in the chapel they know well. This can be safely recommended for those enamored of the accessible side of British choral music, and even for those who like Pärt and his friends.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 03:30 Amazon
2 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 04:13 Amazon
3 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 05:27 Amazon
4 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 06:40 Amazon
5 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 05:55 Amazon
6 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 03:28 Amazon
7 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 03:25 Amazon
Merton College Service
8 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 03:39 Amazon
9 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 02:44 Amazon
10 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 05:34 Amazon
11 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 02:45 Amazon
12 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 04:46 Amazon
13 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 02:43 Amazon
14 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 03:04 Amazon
15 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 04:26 Amazon
16 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 05:17 Amazon
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