The end to a remarkable journey
M. Haugner | USA | 10/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is with some sadness that I write this review, because this disc marks the third and final installment of the Baltic Voice series, a musical endeavor that explores an exceptionally diverse and rich canvas of choral music that has otherwise been largely neglected. Paul Hillier and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir form a remarkable ensemble of musicians, and the selections of music as well as the performances never cease to be impressive in any of the three volumes that have been released!
The third volume contains music that expands upon the tonal and harmonic languages found in the first two volumes. While there are still some pieces that can be considered more traditionally tonal, we find many selections veer off into dissonance and "sound effects," (such as Saariaho's "Nuits, adieux" where we find the voices whispering, panting, groaning, and so forth) while others use techniques more reminiscent of minimalism. This is by any means not disparaging; on the contrary, I find it rather engaging and multifaceted, two terms that could incidentally be used to characterize the entire series.
There is no doubt in my mind that this CD deserves five stars. The quality of the recording is superb; the choir performs the often arduous selections with a commanding vigor; and the musical selections offer welcoming contrasts between music that is tonal, at times dissonant, other times simplistic, but all the while rewarding to the intellect. If you have bought the previous volumes, do yourself a favor and round off this remarkable musical journey! If you have not bought or listened to previous volumes, and you love choral music and are willing to let your mind and soul experience unexplored and profound music of the genre, I encourage you to look into this series."