British choral ensamble VOCES8 explores the meaning and sound of evening.

08.04.14
VOCES8
WGBH

WGBH CD of the Week: Eventide   

Eventide: the slow transition from day to night. Seasoned British choral outfit VOCES8 is known for their ability to transition artfully from Renaissance music to jazz and pop arrangements, but for their debut album on the Decca label, they honed their sound to capture the coming of evening.

Eventide features classical works by Tallis, Bruckner, Britten, as well as modern composers. Their repertoire stretches beyond the expected to tackle music like Karl Jenkins’ "Benedictus," John Williams' "Hymn to the Fallen." The group also commissioned Ola Gjeilo’s "Second Eve"  for this album. The result is a soft and ethereal mix of voices that simultaneously calms and excites. Critic David Sonin writes, “to hear VOCES8 is an aural experience for their crisp intonation, sensitive attention to phrasing and the ability to produce a sound that spans the entire range of vocal colour."

The album features VOCES8's extraordinary vocals and technical facility, which blend with solo instrumental accompaniment courtesy of Christian Forshaw’s saxophone, Matthew Sharpe’s cello, and Lavinia Meijer’s harp to Tallis’ "Te lucis ante terminum" and the plainchant (the two pieces that bookend the album). They offer an approach to the feel of sound that is fresh, attractive, and relaxing.

Each performance is impeccable, and although Eventide lacks the traditional tension of vocal compilations, it makes up for it in sheer listenability. VOCES8 has achieved an accessible, impeccable performance worthy of taking you from day to night.

Hear Eventide all week on 99.5 WCRB.

Watch the CD preview here