This time, a mini-cornucopia (if there is such a thing) of varied treasures, from 1567 to 2016.
Missa Papae Marcelli, Motets, Palestrina. Performed by the Sistine Chapel Choir.
“This new recording by the Vatican’s resident choir, made under studio conditions in the Sistine Chapel, is devoted to Palestrina. It features three world premiere recordings, including the original (and long inaccessible) 1567 edition of Palestrina’s most famous work, the ‘Pope Marcellus’ mass. Hearing his works sung in the hallowed venue for which he composed them makes clear why Palestrina was called the ‘Saviour of Church Music’.” (cover)
The Tchaikovsky Project. Volume 1: Pathétique, Romeo & Juliet. Performed by the Czech Philharmonic.
“With this album, pre-eminent Russian conductor Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic launch their extensive Tchaikovsky Project – a multi-year journey to shed new light on the great master’s symphonies and major orchestral works. Benefitting from extensive preparation time, the best possible recording conditions and the conductor’s lifelong dedication to Tchaikovsky’s music, the interpretations of Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic are bound to set a new standard.” (cover)
Danse Macabre. Performed by Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal.
“The supernatural meets technical wizardry in this spectacularly recorded program of rare and familiar music to celebrate Halloween. Kent Nagano conducts some of the best-loved classics of the macabre alongside rarities such as Balakirev’s tone poem Tamara and Charles Ives’s Hallowe’en.” (cover)
Island Songs, Olafur Arnalds.
New to the World rather than the Classical collection (on account of being a bit hard to pigeon-hole!), but a lovely post-classical album by BAFTA-winning composer (for the soundtrack to Broadchurch) Olafur Arnalds. A 7-week recording project in which the composer travelled around his home country of Iceland, performing with an array of musicians and other performers, ranging from poet Einar Georg Einarsson, through the South Iceland Chamber Choir to Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir, singer from Of Monsters and Men. The result is spectacularly beautiful, as always.