Hear selections from new releases with our weekly Choral Featured Album Fridays at 11 a.m. central on the Choral Stream.
This week on the Choral Featured Album, we present The Darkest Midnight: Songs of Winter and Christmas, the new release from a cappella ensemble Papagena. Comprising 19 tracks, the record spans seven centuries of seasonal music. Read more about the record below (from the Papagena website):
The all-female vocal ensemble Papagena makes its debut on SOMM Recordings with The Darkest Midnight, a sublime collection of songs for winter from the Middle Ages to the modern era embracing the secular and the sacred.
Casting a dark glamor all of its own, the bleakness of winter has prompted some of the most bewitching, brittle and bright songs. Alongside traditional Christmas anthems can be found legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell's The River in an achingly melancholic arrangement and American composer Don Macdonald, whose When the Earth Stands Still is movingly poignant and still, twilit and shining.
Celebratory songs marking the Christmas season — the exuberant In dulci Jubilo, burnished, glowing harmonies of Angelus ad virginem, sublimely serene Es ist ein Ros entsprungen and infectious Shchedryk/Hark How the Bells from Ukraine — are heard alongside lilting Irish songs from antiquity and the charming Scottish lullaby Balulalow. Songs from England, Germany, Norway and Toi le coeur de la rose from Ravel's L'enfant et les sortileges round off a recording that includes first performances of eight arrangements and is marked by sheer beauty of sound.
ResourcesThe Darkest Midnight (Amazon)
Papagena (official website)