In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Swedish conductor Stefan Parkman (b. 1952), began his musical career by singing in the Uppsala Cathedral Boys' Choir. At the Royal College of Music in Stockholm he studied singing, as well as choral conducting with Eric Ericson and orchestral conducting with Jorma Panula. He was director of the Boy's Choir at Uppsala Cathedral from 1974 to 1988, and conducter of the Royal Philharmonic Chorus in Stockholm from 1985 to 1993. Since 1983 he has been conducter of the Uppsala Chamber Choir. In 1988 he was appointed chief conducter of the Danish National Radio Choir, having been a regular guest since 1983.
Stefan Parkman has conducted most of Scandinavia's symphony orchestras and ensembles. He performs regularly with the Swedish Radio Choir, and often works with Stockholm Opera and the Drottningholm Festival Opera and Ballet. As a freelance conducter Stefan Parkman appears with numerous ochestras and ensembles in Scandinavia, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Opera in Stockholm. He regularly conducts the Swedish Radio Choir, the Rundfunkchor Berlin and the BBC Singers, teaches choral conducting at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and gives master-classes in Scandinavia and elsewhere. He also appears as a soloist, primarily as the Evangelist, in baroque oratorios and passions. In 1997, he was made Knight of the Dannebrog by Queen Margerethe II of Denmark, and in 1998 he was elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.
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Review: The best known choral piece by Brahms is his German Requiem. Since his teenage years he was involved with choral groups and continued to work with them throughout his life. He wrote numerous songs for a cappella ensembles as well as with accompaniment. The most familiar of these pieces is the Zigeunerlieder, op. 103. These Gypsy songs are usually performed by a soloist and piano, but were originally written for a quartet. This phenomenal recording by the Danish National Radio Choir highlights some of Brahms' work in the choral genre.
Songlist: Drei Gesange, Op. 42, Funf Gesange, Op. 104, Vier Gesange, Op. 17, Sechs Quartette, Op. 112, Zigeunerlieder, Op. 103
Review: The German-born Brahms (1833-1897) is considered one of the greatest Romantic composers, while the Danish National Radio Choir (Stefan Parkman, Chief Conductor) is one of the most respected European Choirs performing today. Their pure yet robust sound is a fine complement to the mastery of form that Brahms' works display. Indeed, one of the distinguishing characteristics of his style was his fascination with the contrapuntal forms so often identified with the Baroque and pre-Baroque era: canon, motet, fugue, and the variations thereof. It was accepted at that time to use a folk song or other well-known melody as the basis for the composer's own originality, which was demonstrated through his technical facility and manipulation of accepted idioms. A series of 'Marienlieder' comprise a third of the recording, along with seven motets and three compositions commissioned for the Hamburg Industrial Exhibition of 1889. A recording of excellent virtue.
Songlist: Marienlieder, Op. 22:, Der englische Gruss, Marias Wallfahrt, Der jager, Ruf zur Maria, Magdalena, Marias Lob, Two Motets, Op. 29:, Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein rein Herz, Two Motets, Op. 74:, Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Muhseligen?, O Heiland, reiss die Himmel auf, Fest-und Gedenkspruche, Op. 109:, Unsere Vater hoften auf dich, Wenn ein starker Gewappneter, Wo ist ein so herrlich Volk, Three Motets, Op. 110:, Ich aber bin elend, Ach, arme Welt, Wenn wir in hochsten Noten sein
Review: Zoltan Kodaly is best known for his research of folk music and his contribution to the field of music education. A large part of his output is concentrated in the area of choral music. The four works heard on this recording come from the early third of the twentieth century. The Missa Brevis for chorus, alto, tenor, bass solos and organ, is the latest of these pieces and was expanded from his Mass for solo organ. Matrai kepek (Matra pictures) is a set of five pieces which are based on Hungarian folk songs from the Matra region ordered to form a narrative thread. Kodaly's music is dramatic with colorful writing.
Songlist: Missa brevis' (8 Movements), Jezus es a kufarok (Jesus and the traders), Este (Evening), Matrai Kepek
Review: The 75 professional singers of the DNRC are directed by Stefan Parkman, who has conducted most of Sweden's symphony orchestras and several excellent choirs. Probably the least-known of Richard Strauss's (1884-1949) major works are his compositions for unaccompanied chorus--not surprisingly, because only the most accomplished choirs are qualified to perform them. When they are performed, however, the rewards are great: 16 part harmony with antiphonal block passages alternating with intricate polyphony. Six pieces: 'Der Abend Op. 34 Nr. 1,' 'Hymne Op. 34 Nr. 2,' Deutsche Motette Op. 62,' 'Die Cottin im Putzzimmer,' and 'An den Baum Daphne,' featuring the Copenhagen Boys' Choir. This is beautiful, fine, intricate stuff, with soaring harmonies and solos. Extensive liner notes with all lyrics and histories.
Songlist: Der aben op 34 nr 1, Hymne op 34 nr 2, Deutsche mottette op 62, Die gottin im putzzimmer, An den Baum Daphne
Review: Stefan Parkman, who has conducted most of Sweden's symphony orchestras and those of other Scandinavian countries and numerous other choirs, directs the 75-strong DNRC in the work of German composer Max Reger (1873-1916). The work has two parts, 'Sechsstimmige Chore, Op. 39, which has 3 movements, 'Schweigen' (Silence),' the premier recordings of 'Abendlied' (Evening Song), and 'Fruhlingsblick' (a glimpse of Spring); and Funfstimmige Motetten, Op. 110, which also has 3 movements, 'Mein Odem ist schwach,' (My breath is corrupt), 'Ach, Herr, strafe mich nicht' (O Lord, rebuke me not), and 'O Tod, wie bitter bist du' (O death, how bitter is the remembrance). Although Reger was never a popular composer, his craftsmanship and colossal output have earned him abiding respect in the musical world--this is beautiful music, perfectly performed! Comprehensive liner notes with all lyrics and history.
Songlist: schweigen, abendlied, fruhlingsblick/ funfstimmige motetten op 110 (ssatb), mein odem ist schwach, ach, herr, strafe mich nicht, o tod, wie bitter bist du
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