Various Artists

Sacred Classics

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Sacred Classics Review

by Blair Sanderson

Sacred Classics is a two-disc compilation of favorite religious arias and choruses selected from EMI's extensive catalog of fine performances. Covering a wide range of Baroque, Classical, and Romantic works, this collection provides representative excerpts from major oratorios, cantatas, and masses, though the arrangement of pieces is somewhat arbitrary. The casual listener may be puzzled by this set's inconsistency of mood. The triumph of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus and Vivaldi's In excelsis Deo is contrasted with the serenity of Fauré's Pie Jesu and Bach's Jesu bleibet meine Freude, and such alternation of tone may be acceptable. However, the stark difference between the subdued Bach/Gounod Ave Maria and the boldness of Handel's Zadok the Priest is rather jarring, and similar mismatches occur elsewhere to startle the unsuspecting. Other listeners may take exception to the program, which relies too heavily on Bach and excludes other great composers of sacred music. Surely, room could have been provided for Monteverdi, Beethoven, Bruckner, and Rachmaninov. Even so, this collection is best viewed as an introductory sampler and is recommended for novices. The performances date from 1957 to 1984, and the sound quality of these ADD tracks is a little variable but not enough to pose a difficulty on most sound systems.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56
1 04:00 Amazon
2 06:42 Amazon
Requiem, for 2 solo voices, chorus, organ & orchestra, Op. 48
3 03:23 Amazon
Gloria, for 3 solo voices, chorus, trumpet, oboe, violin (ad lib), 2 violas, 2 cellos, strings & continuo in D major, RV 589
4 02:28 Amazon
Cantata No. 147, "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben," BWV 147 (BC A174)
5 03:36 Amazon
6 03:16 Amazon
7 06:12 Amazon
Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem), for soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op. 45
8 05:48 Amazon
The Dream of Gerontius, oratorio for soloists, chorus & orchestra, Op. 38
9 05:41 Amazon
Mass in B minor, for soloists, chorus & orchestra, BWV 232 (BC E1)
10 06:37 Amazon
Stabat mater for 2 sopranos, tenor, bass, chorus & orchestra
11 07:01 Amazon
Requiem for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, K. 626
12 03:26 Amazon
13 06:45 Amazon
Requiem Mass, for soloists, chorus & orchestra (Manzoni Requiem)
14 09:31 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 04:43 Amazon
Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio), in six parts, BWV 248 (BC D7)
2 02:13 Amazon
L' Enfance du Christ, oratorio for soprano, 2 tenors, baritone, 3 basses, chorus & orchetsra ("trilogie sacrée") H. 130 (Op. 25)
3 09:21 Amazon
Requiem, for 2 solo voices, chorus, organ & orchestra, Op. 48
4 05:25 Amazon
5 03:30 Amazon
Die Schöpfung (The Creation), oratorio, H. 21/2
6 04:26 Amazon
Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons), oratorio, H. 21/3
7 03:52 Amazon
Elijah (Elias), oratorio, Op. 70
8 03:48 Amazon
9 03:22 Amazon
10 12:59 Amazon
St. Matthew Passion (Matthäuspassion), for soloists, double chorus & double orchestra, BWV 244 (BC D3b)
11 07:33 Amazon
12 02:31 Amazon
St. John Passion (Johannespassion), BWV 245 (BC D2)
13 04:01 Amazon
14 02:15 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick