Voces8 – Winter (2016) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Voces8 – Winter (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 1:05:14 minutes | 1,12 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital Booklet  | © Decca/London

Conjuring up a pristine, snow-covered landscape through an immersive choral sound, Voces8’s new album Winter captures the serene beauty of the season. Winter features pieces by composers from northern climes, including Arvo Pärt’s “Nunc Dimittis,” arrangements of Ólafur Arnalds’ “For Now I Am Winter” and Henry Purcell’s “Cold Song” as well as a world premiere written for the album by the young British composer and recent Decca signing, Rebecca Dale.

This seasonal release is only occasionally connected with Christmas, and it’s notable and, probably for many listeners, desirable for that reason alone. The subject is winter itself, as seen in stark Nordic landscapes and reflected, presumably, in the music composed within them. That often means the Baltic countries, where holy minimalism rules these days. The Estonian giant of the style, Arvo Pärt, is here, but a bigger presence is Latvia’s Peteris Vasks, whose music is becoming more widely known. The English ensemble Voces8, in fact, has pointed to his music as the inspiration for this collection. So start by sampling the aptly titled Plainscapes, where the choir is accompanied by violin and cello. Compared with Pärt, the music is not so affectless, but it has the same kind of clean restraint. Minimalist composers are usually grouped together on recordings, but part of the aim of Voces8 here seems to be to create a program that links Baltic minimalism to other sparse modern styles. The results are interesting if rather subtle: what you hold in your hands or on your screen is an hour-plus of slow-moving music of homogeneous texture and sound, but the colors do shift as the program proceeds. There is one world premiere, Rebecca Dale’s Winter, and most of the pieces aren’t terribly common. The lack of texts is a minus, discouraging deeper engagement with the music and giving the impression that the album is intended as background music, when there’s actually more to it than that. ~~ AllMusic Review by James Manheim


01. Arnalds: For Now I Am Winter – Voces8
02. Praetorius, M.: Es ist ein Ros entsprungen – Voces8
03. Dale: Winter – Hakon Samuelsen and Huw Watkins and Mari Samuelsen and Voces8
04. Pott: Balulalow – Voces8
05. Pärt: Nunc Dimittis – Voces8
06. Vasks: Plainscapes- Plainscape I – Hakon Samuelsen and Mari Samuelsen and Voces8
07. Vasks: Plainscapes- Plainscape II – Hakon Samuelsen and Mari Samuelsen and Voces8
08. Vasks: Plainscapes- Plainscape III – Hakon Samuelsen and Mari Samuelsen and Voces8
09. Alexander: Come Wander With Me – Benjamin Roskams and Voces8
10. Holst: In The Bleak Midwinter – Voces8
11. Vasks: The Fruits Of Silence – Huw Watkins and Voces8
12. Rachmaninov: Vespers (All-Night Vigil), Op.37- “Nyne otpushchayeshi” – Voces8
13. Bingham: The Darkness Is No Darkness – Voces8
14. Traditional: The Snow It Melts The Soonest – Eleanor Turner and Voces8