Gyorgy Orban, Ars Nova, Katalin Kiss - Hungarian Choral Music

Published Tuesday 21st July 2015
Gyorgy Orban, Ars Nova, Katalin Kiss - Hungarian Choral Music
Gyorgy Orban, Ars Nova, Katalin Kiss - Hungarian Choral Music

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 158102-25550
LABEL: Convivium CR028

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

The booklet blurb on this CD is mainly about the success story of the Ars Nova Vocal Ensemble from Kecskemét, Hungary. Under founder and artistic director Katalin Kiss the group has won first prize in its category at all of the international competitions it has entered including twice winning the World Choir Championship. Yes, the singing on this disc is outstanding and those who appreciate contemporary choral singing will add this to their wish list as soon as possible. The content is all by Gyorgy Orban (born 1947) who is a Hungarian from Romanian Transylvania. It is mainly but not exclusively liturgical so we get, for example, four "Mary Songs" and a Mass for 12 voices. All is sung very well indeed although it would be beyond the capabilities of most amateur choirs. Most is sung a cappella but some are accompanied by the Accord Quartet. I enjoyed what I heard although it has to be said that at 46 minutes it is a short programme. Names that came to mind as I listened include Bela Bartok although the sources are probably shared Hungarian folk music rather than Orban emulating his compatriot. At other times I was reminded of Gyorgy Ligeti, Krzysztof Penderecki and also our own Sir John Tavener. Orban is a contemporary composer who is able to look back and reflect upon his musical heritage and produce music that is both challenging and accessible and if your tastes run to exploring off the beaten track this is worthy of further investigation.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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