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Tom Huizenga
National Public Radio, December 2013

NPR Classical’s 10 Favorite Albums Of 2013

…the Latvian Radio Choir…led today by Sigvards Kļava, the choir sports a surprisingly large (for just two dozen singers) and lustrous tone, a highly polished vocal blend and breathtaking precision. It’s all on display in Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil, an hour-long, a cappella set of Russian Orthodox church music that is at once joyous and meditative, rapturous and wistful. The Latvians soar, shine and spin diaphanous fabrics of sound, as lovely as rays of light through stained glass, all the while instilling the words with genuine emotion. Listen to this gorgeous recording with the volume raised considerably. © 2013 National Public Radio



Tom Huizenga
National Public Radio, December 2013

NPR Music’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2013

This album rejoices in the awesome power and beauty of the unadorned human voice. From Latvia, a small country big on singing (and the host of next year’s World Choir Games), comes the Latvian Radio Choir and a transcendent performance of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil. The group of 27, led by Sigvards Kļava, sings with a unique, luminous bloom, as voices toll like church bells, soar in rapturous praise and intertwine in myriad colors and textures. Notoriously treacherous to sing, Rachmaninov’s jewel of Russian Orthodox music taxes a choir’s control of breath and pitch. But the Latvians manage the technique and the emotions in the music with natural, transparent and resplendent mastery. © 2013 National Public Radio



Lindsay Koob
American Record Guide, November 2013

This splendid Baltic ensemble strikes a very happy medium between eastern and western choral approaches, delivering these milestone works not only with incredible warmth and richness of tone, but with striking technical precision, uncanny dynamic control, and subtlety of nuance.

I have several recordings of this in superaudio sound, but none sound better to me than this one. As I said about the sound of their Liturgy recording, it’ll leave the listener “swimming joyfully in a glowing sonic sea”. Don’t hesitate. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Tom Huizenga
National Public Radio, June 2013

NPR Music’s 25 Favorite Albums Of The Year (So Far)

Among Latvia’s many choruses is the Latvian Radio Choir, considered one of the finest in the world right now. The group’s new recording of Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil is a stunning display of the power of two dozen unaccompanied voices. Within this liturgical music, Rachmaninov weaves an orchestral complexity of textures and colors. Voices toll like church bells; they swell and dovetail seamlessly from multiple planes of sound. The group’s blend of upper voices is especially breathtaking. © 2013 National Public Radio



Brian Wigman
Classical Net, June 2013

For being such utterly beautiful music, this piece doesn’t seem to get a whole lot of attention. That’s a shame, because you can’t help but be captivated by it once you listen. Hopefully this excellent release from Ondine will help remedy that.

Right away, the disc pulls you in with some wonderfully intoned bass chants…and instantly add a sense of authenticity. So too does the excellent singing of the Latvian Radio Chorus…there is an extraordinary amount of lovely sound without the need to draw anything out or linger. The whole ensemble is impeccably blended…

…Ondine provides its usual high quality sound. I listened in stereo only, but I wouldn’t doubt that this Hybrid SACD provides a pretty special experience on high end players. Whatever the format you choose, make this a priority. © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review




James Manheim
Allmusic.com, May 2013

…[the] Latvian Radio Choir[,] under Sigvards Klava[,]…is a virtuoso group, and they have the sheer power needed for the music. The basses hit the low notes and are captured in full color by Ondine’s engineers. On balance, a beautifully engineered and generally very strong version of a work… © 2013 Allmusic.com Read complete review




Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, April 2013

…exceptionally silky in its tonal qualities, beautifully—and unhurriedly, as the timing indicates—sung, with some suave and exceptionally spacious surround sound adding to the experience in a way that magnifies the already brilliant choral magnificence of Rachmaninov’s scoring. These 25 singers outdo themselves in a performance of clarity and genuine affection, jettisoning any sense of excessive emotive outbursts in favor of a more controlled and churchly presentation. No matter how many of these you have, this is one you must have. © Audiophile Audition Read complete review



Donald Rosenberg
Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 2013

Be prepared to enter another realm while listening to this resplendent recording of Rachmaninoff’s a capella choral pieces, often referred to as “Vespers.” The Latvian Radio Choir, led by Sigvards Klava, brings ultra-refined focus and passion to the 15 pieces that make up this collection. © 2013 Cleveland Plain Dealer Read complete review



Tom Huizenga
National Public Radio, April 2013

…this new version by the Latvian Radio Choir and conductor Sigvards Kļava is among the best. There’s no orchestra, just voices, yet Rachmaninov applies terrific coloristic and orchestral effects. In one section, sopranos ring out like tolling church bells. And here, listen for the rich, symphonic layering he gets with groups of voices shining like rays of light through stained glass. © 2013 National Public Radio



James R. Oestreich
The New York Times, March 2013

…there is much to savor in an excellent performance by the Latvian Radio Choir, conducted by its artistic director, Sigvards Klava.

This version stands with the best for sheer beauty of choral sound.

This disc will provide an excellent entry into the work’s glories for those not yet familiar with them and a nice alternative for those who are. © 2013 The New York Times Read complete review



Infodad.com, March 2013

The All-Night Vigil by Rachmaninoff…is fascinating to hear on Ondine’s very well-recorded SACD with the Latvian Radio Choir under Sigvards Kļava. The Latvian Radio Choir’s basses…are strong and quite expressive, and indeed the expressiveness of the entire ensemble is what makes this recording so special. The harmonization is particularly good here…and the voices interweave with strength and emotional commitment throughout…the work has plenty of passion in the “intensity” sense, and is delivered in this recording with style, attentiveness to detail, and a fine sense of choral balance and emotional commitment. © 2013 Infodad.com Read complete review



Dominy Clements
MusicWeb International, March 2013

The Latvian Radio Choir…[has] a full and expressive sound generated by a warmly natural choral tone…Solo singing is done by un-named choral members and is distinguished, idiomatically well suited to the music and highly polished.

I for one will be very happy to have this as one version of Rachmaninov’s finest choral work…

…there is a lot to be said for choral singing of such poise and refinement. There’s plenty of dynamic range and expressive depth here…The relaxed tempi and beautifully modulated sound all have a cumulative effect which is life enhancing. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Nice
BBC Music Magazine, March 2013

Performance
Recording

The range of dynamics, honoured by Ondine’s first-rate production in Riga’s Church of St John, is stunning: have the climaxes ever blazed quite like this? Layering always impresses, especially in the balance between vibrant, human alto lines and seraphic sopranos in ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul’. Basses, as you might expect with Baltic singers, have the lower resonances Rachmaninov requires. And conductor Sigvards Klava really shapes the longer-term arguments, especially in the crucial Resurrection setting, ‘Blessed art thou, O Lord’, which is imbued with a special air of awe and mystery.

…this performance is a remarkable achievement. © BBC Music Magazine




Malcolm Riley
Gramophone, February 2013

…one must not overlook the importance of Rachmaninov’s mastery of choral writing. Regarded as one of the most challenging pieces to perform in the a cappella repertory, his monumental All-Night Vigil is really the last great crowning achievement of Russian Orthodox choral music, a masterpiece from a composer at the peak of his creative powers.

Since the score’s tempo directions lack any metronomic indications, conductors have to judge carefully how to negotiate the work’s many gear changes and dynamic topography. Sigvards Kļava’s spacious approach pays great dividends. There is a wonderfully kaleidoscopic…palette of vocal colours throughout, with plenty of sonorous bloom for those celebrated deep bass notes. Praise also goes to the tenors, whose highest notes sound so effortlessly sweet and fluid, and to the upper voices, who bring out the tolling bells in the Nunc dimittis most beautifully.

The Latvians’ unanimity of attack is well-nigh perfect…

This is a sublimely beautiful yet rapturous recording. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone






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4:19:29 AM, 17 April 2014
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