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Classical Music Review

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In Heaven


Composer: Petr Eben
Conductor: Jiří Skopal
Performed by: Jitro Czech Girls Choir
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 10 May 2019

The Jitro Czech Girls Choir, under the leadership of conductor and music director Jiří Skopal, presents yet another vivid exploration of the depths of traditional Czechoslovakian music on their fourth release for Navona, In Heaven...

Lovers of choral music are in for a treat with Jitro Czech Girls Choir's presentation of various works by composer Petr Eben's. The album kicks off with the five-part 'Liturgical Chants', designed to express the spiritual and musical code of European culture.

The emotional depth of chants is expressed in three parts of the cycle 'Four Choruses on Latin Texts'. Written in 1973 for children’s or girls’ voices, the work is based on anonymous medieval texts.

The six-part 'Catonis Moralia' is also derived from Latin texts, this time from the 3rd Century; their translation by Czech philosopher, pedagogue, and theologian Johann Amos Comenius is used as the basis for combining the style of Baroque dance suites with instrumentally conceived choral polyphony.

The poetry of Vítĕzslav Nezval forms the backbone of the 10-part 'Ten Poetic Duets', one of which, 'Scorrendo Tranquillamente', highlights the vocals of soloist Barbora Novotńa. The album concludes with 'About Swallows and Girls', a miniature analogy of Bach’s 'Art of the Fugue'. Here, Eben has offered a wealth of variations of vocal arrangements of Bohemian, Moravian, and Silesian folk songs while retaining their folkloristic flavour.

Fans of Choral music will embrace this and, if you normally shy away from this genre, this might just be the album to convert you.

Track listing:

Liturgical Chants (Liturgické zpěvy)
František Vaníček (organ)
01 - Introitus. Psalmus 29 Ad Introitum (2:28)
02 - Graduale (1:46)
03 - Evangelium (1:26)
04 - Offertorium. Psalmus 29 Ad Offertorium (1:44)
05 - Communio. Psalmus 29 Ad Communionem (1:37)

Four Choruses On Latin Texts (Čtyři sbory na latinské texty)
06 - Mater Cantans Filio (2:49)
07 - De Angelis (1:54)
08 - De Spiritu Sancto (1:58)

Catonis Moralia (Katonova Mudrosloví)
09 - Preludio (1:25)
10 - Allemande (2:04)
11 - Courante (1:42)
12 - Sarabande (1:46)
13 - Air (3:06)
14 - Gigue (1:49)

Ten Poetic Duets (Deset poetických duet)
Barbora Novotná (soloist), Michal Chrobák (piano)
15 - Allegretto (1:25)
16 - Allegro Moderato-Ondeggiando (1:18)
17 - Allegretto Maestoso (1:32)
18 - Allegretto (1:24)
19 - Molto Agitato (0:51)
20 - Allegro Moderato (1:47)
21 - Impetuoso (1:36)
22 - Scorrendo Tranquillamente (2:39)
23 - Moderato (1:07)
24 - Semplice – Calmo (1:17)

About Swallows And Girls (O vlaštovkách a dívkách)
25 - Babe, Babe, Tiny Swallow (Dívča, dívča, laštovička) (1:24)
26 - Were You At Home? (Či´s něbyl doma) (1:09)
27 - The Daybreak (Svítání) (1:09)
28 - The Swallow Is Flying (Jaskuvečka lítá) (2:12)
29 - The Bench Of Ours (Ta naša lavečka) (1:18)
30 - Swallow, The Tiny Bird (Laštovička, malý ftáček) (1:03)
31 - A Cuckoo Calls Cuckoo (Kukačka kuká) (1:29)
32 - Oh, My Swallow (Ach, laštověnka) (2:36)
33 - The Swallow Is Flying (Vlaštovička lítá) (1:39)


Darren Rea

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