Pachelbel: Vespers

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Kerll,Krieger,Pachelbel
LABELS: Signum
WORKS: pachelbel Vespers (premiere recording): Ingressus in C minor (originally in D minor); E minor (orig. G minor); G (orig. A), P97; G minor (orig. A minor); B flat (orig. C), P88; Magnificat in C (orig. E flat); in F (orig. G); krieger • Kerll Krieger: Sonata à 5 in A minor; Kerll: Sonata à 5 in G minor
PERFORMER: The King’s Singers; Charivari Agréable/Kah-Ming Ng
CATALOGUE NO: SIGCD198

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The marriage of the King’s Singers and Charivari Agréable has created the ‘dream-team’ for this enchanting addition to the late middle-Baroque repertoire. There are five ‘Ingressi’, the opening sentences of Vespers together with the Gloria, and two Magnificat settings. Sandwiched between are two richly textured five-part instrumental sonatas by Johann Caspar Kerll. The ensemble is unbeatable.

The six King’s Singers blend superbly, yet each becomes distinctive and expressive in their prominent moments, for instance the fugue setting of ‘Sicut erat’ ending the third Ingressus with each entry pointed clearly before the voice recedes into the ensemble. Charivari Agréable in turn play as if singing, breathing between phrases and virtually texted in musical dialogue such as the final ‘Sicut erat’ of the third Ingressus. 

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High points include the Gloria of the first Magnificat, slow and contemplative, as if awestruck, with suspended dissonance piled on dissonance. The minor mode generates striking harmonies too in the fourth Ingressus, exposing an ingenious choice of bassoon instead of cello or gamba in the bass.The sound is excellent bar one small niggle: the buzz of harmonics from fairly close-recorded voices singing loudly can momentarily cloud the ensemble. For the rest, clarity is exemplary. Not to be missed. George Pratt