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Classical Music Review

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When the Soul Speaks
Choral Music by Jan Jirásek


Composer: Jan Jirásek
Conductor: Jan Míšek
Performed by: Bonifantes Boys Choir & Czech Soloist Consort
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 25 January 2019

When the Soul Speaks demonstrates the abilities of the Bonifantes Boys Choir & Czech Soloist Consort through the performance of Latin Christian masses, Buddhist mantras and Quran excerpts, and traditional Czech hymns -- together presenting the idea that different religions and cultural customs can stand together side by side...

Jan Jirásek (Czech and Moravian Christmas Carols; Parallel Worlds) brings us another ethereal experience with When the Soul Speaks. The album, in three sections, begins with 'Missa propria', based on Latin Christian mass liturgy. These mass settings transcend time with youthful voices and contemporary compositions that resonate with the settings of ancient masses and chants.

They are followed by the 'Mondi paralleli' cycle, which continues with the Christian liturgy, but developed with texts from Buddhist mantras, Islamic texts, and ideas from Judaism. This synergy of various faiths being professed through single voices presents the idea that perhaps, beneath various opinions, there is the same intention of praising a higher power and discovering how to become one’s best self.

The album concludes with the three-piece cycle 'Tam, kde sláva nepřestává', which explore the fundamentals of the Czech church and state, while also looking at the violent, tumultuous times of of the Czech heritage’s beginnings and how the nation has developed since.

It's another beautifully crafted and expertly performed offering from Jirásek. These 13 tracks (45 min, 18 sec) are emotionally draining and spiritually rewarding.


Darren Rea

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