György Orbán: Hungarian Choral Music (CR028)
Review by Cross Rhythms
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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.
Steven Whitehead, for Cross Rhythms, 21st July 2015
Cross Rhythms was started by Chris and Kerry Cole over 30 years ago. They saw that a media voice for the Christian faith was vital to get the Christian response to society’s ills back into the marketplace of everyday lives.
The radio began in 1983 with a half-hour programme on Plymouth Sound, an ILR station in Devon. The magazine was first published in April 1990, the first festival was held in 1991, the website was initially launched in 1995, the first Community Radio licence was awarded in 2002, the Media Training Centre was launched in 2012 and a Cross Rhythms supported online radio station in Bethlehem was launched in 2015.
Through all these mediums, Cross Rhythms is typified by using contemporary Christian music that can culturally engage with people who are outside the churches in today’s society. Cross Rhythms has also looked to communicate the Christian faith in a language that is accessible to contemporary culture but doesn’t water down it’s truths.
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