Barber, Mahler, Bach, Chopin, Ravel, Wolf, Berg & Debussy

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COMPOSERS: Bach,Barber,Berg & Debussy,Chopin,Mahler,Ravel,Wolf
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Transcriptions
WORKS: Works by Barber, Mahler, Bach, Chopin, Ravel, Wolf, Berg & Debussy
PERFORMER: Accentus Chamber Choir/Laurence Equilbey
At first sight a collection of instrumental works and songs transcribed for chorus seems intended for specialists. Several of the arrangements are by Clytus Gottwald, a leading name in contemporary choral performance. On the other hand, the thrill of recognising familiar things newly arrayed – in this case, pieces by Bach, Barber, Berg, Chopin, Debussy, Mahler, Ravel and Wolf – is the particular pleasure and enchantment of these encounters, 11 in all, spaciously and resonantly recorded by a choir whose director is clearly inspired by a mission, that explains why this disc could prove as popular here as it has already done in France.


Historically, one role of transcription has been to increase awareness of recondite repertoire. On this count, Wolf’s ‘Das verlassene Mägdlein’ and ‘Auf ein altes Bild’ are sure to reach out to new and interested listeners. By contrast, Mahler’s Adagietto and ‘Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen’ hardly need new advocacy. Nonetheless, it’s good to hear them superbly done this way, though the collage of texts by August von Platter, ‘Kein deutscher Himmel’, added to the Adagietto like an extension of Mann-Visconti myth-making, raised an eyebrow. Nicholas Williams