Voces8 - Vocal music at its finest

Mendalla

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There are only eight members in Voces8 (hence the name) but the sound they produce ... just wow. The group was founded in 2005, turned pro in 2007, and has been through many lineup changes. Only one original member remains and he is the artistic director. Most of the members are British and products of various UK college choirs and music schools, but there is one American in the current lineup. Everything is sung a capella in a very traditional style, even their settings of popular music. They do a lot of modern choral repetoire like Eric Whiteacre but dip into the classics, popular music, and folk music, too.

A piece by modern minimalist composer Arvo Part:


A setting of the Nunc Dimittis from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer by Paul Smith;


And my favorite so far, Samuel Barber's Agnus Dei, which is a setting of the traditional Agnus Dei from the Mass to Barber's incredible Adagio for Strings that Barber himself did in the sixties.

 
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Mendalla

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Their latest is a performance of a setting of a poem by Octavio Paz by American composer Eric Whiteacre.

 

Mendalla

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And the piece above as well as the Part in the first post are taken from a massive project they are undertaking to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Voces8. There will be four albums, each associated with a theme related to one of the classical elements. Wish I had this a few years back when I undertook a series of UU sermons on the spiritual meanings and ideas associated with the four element. The full list is:

Remembrance, invoking death, loss and the return to earth;

Devotion, focusing on the flames of love, sacred and secular;

Redemption, celebrating rebirth and the renewed breath of life;

Elemental, returning us to the ebb and flow of nature.

Remembrance is out (came out last November) with the rest to come over the course of this year.

The collective title is After Silence, taken from an essay by Aldous Huxley, specifically the quote, "After silence, that which comes closest to expressing the inexpressible is music." (which is en route to becoming my new sig).

Website for the project.
 
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