In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Founded in 1946 as a special ensemble for the particular needs of the radio station, the SWR Stuttgart Vocal Ensemble has devoted itself to the propagation of new, less familiar or virtuoso choir music for more than fifty years in concerts and radio productions, setting new standards in the process.
As one of five choirs of the ARD (group of public radio and television stations in Germany) and part of a choir landscape probably unparalleled in quality and intensity in the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, the 36 singers have developed a very specific artistic profile under their chief conductor Rupert Huber. And for this reason the Ensemble is the first choice of many promoters at home and abroad for the performance of modern classical music, however above all when the most difficult works of contemporary music are to be performed - and for many composers, conductors and orchestras it is an invaluable partner. As a result, the choir has a reputation as one of the best ensembles of its kind anywhere in the world.
The SWR supports this development with the specific placement of composition orders for its choir. The list of works premiered by the SWR Stuttgart Vocal Ensemble is long, and includes compositions of such successful masters as Wolfgang Rihm, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Helmut Lachenmann, Isang Yun, Mauricio Kagel, Milko Kelemen and Hans Zender, however also numerous works of composers of the younger generation, such as Toshio Hosokawa, Hanspeter Kyburz and Manuel Hidalgo.
In its studio productions the SWR Stuttgart Vocal Ensemble primarily concentrates on its a cappella repertoire. For its numerous performances at renowned concert halls and festivals at home and abroad, the choir frequently cooperates with leading modern music ensembles and in the area of works for choir and symphony with the SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conductors such as Ingo Metzmacher, Peter Eotvos, Michael Gielen, Pierre Boulez, John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Neville Marriner, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Sir Georg Solti have directed on these occasions. The concerts are generally broadcast as live recordings and reveal the precision and tonal culture of the ensemble, as do the numerous releases on CD.
Since 2003 Marcus Creed is artistic director of SWR Stuttgart Vocal Ensemble and focus on a cappella productions.
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Review: Last year, in celebration of Elliot Carter's 100th birthday, the thoroughbred of choral ensembles performed and recorded a program of the great man's complete works for choir - a cappella, men's voices, and accompanied. Now, for the first time, a thoroughly modern recording of Carter's complete works for choir is available - and in performances that will serve as the template for all future ensembles. Once again, the SWR Vocal Ensemble under the direction of Marcus Creed has distinguished itself as one of the most adventurous and capable choirs performing in the world today!
Songlist: Tarentella, Let's Be Gray, Emblems: Maryland, Virginia, Caroline, Emblems: When it is All Over, Emblems: By the Great River, Heart Not So Heavy as Mine, Musicians Wrestle Everywhere, To Music, The Defense of Corinth, Harvest Home
Review: Here is a highly intelligent collection of reflective and joyous music for the Christmas season! Soprano McFadden and Baritone Olaf Bar join the Mainz Cathedral Choir and Stuttgart Vocal Ensemble in this all-accompanied collection of some of the most beautiful, classical Christmas music of all time. Ten songs, the 3 movements of Michael Praetorius' "3 Motetten aus Polyhymnia Caduceatrix & Panegyrica," Bach's "aus dem Weihnachtsoratoium BWV 248 Hirtenmusik," Haydn's "Ein Magd, ein Dienerin," Otto Nicolai's "Weihnachtsouverture" and Benjamin Britten's "Men of Goodwill" are favorites. Wondrous Christmas pieces from the 16th to 20th centuries, sung by a multitude of talented voices.
Songlist: Motetten aus "Polyhymnia Caduceatrix & Panegyrica, In dulci jubilo, Puer natus, Wachet auf, Hirtenmusik (Sinfonia), Arie "Grožer Herr, o starker Koig", Ein' Magd, ein' Dienerin, O Jesulein sub, stimmiger Chor a-cappella, Weihnachtsouverture, Vom Himmel hoch, Variations on a Christmas Carol
Review: Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Andre Jolivet each wrote one composition for unaccompanied chorus. Olivier Messiaen produced two. His 1937 motet "O Sacrum Convivium" brings the mystifying sound of his organ works into the vocal medium, and 1948's "Cinq Rechants" has an esthetic all its own. Never before had anyone composed so radically for chorus. Andre Jolivet's 1953 "Epithalame" is similarly groundbreaking. The renowned composer and director Rupert Huber leads talented, 37-strong mixed-voice SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart in this difficult, striking material. Here are 3 pieces by Debussy (our favorite: ), 3 by Maurice Ravel (our favorite: "Ronde,") 5 by Messiaen (Niokhama palalan souki), 3 by Jolivet (Au son de sa lyre, Allegro maestoso"), and one by Chausson, "Ballata pour quatour vocal op. 29." Unlike any choral music we've ever heard-stunning!
Songlist: Trois Chansons de Charles d'Orleans, Dieu! qu'il l'a fait bon regarder!, Quant j'ay ouy le tabourin, Yver, vous n'estes qu'un villain, Trois Chansons, Nicollete, Trois beaux oiseuax du paradis, Ronde, Cinq Rechants, Hayo kapri tama, Ma premiere fois terre, Ma robe d'amour, Nikohama palalan(e) souki, Mayoma kali, Epithalame, Ouvrons les portes de l'amour, Moderato, Fille du souffle, Allegro semplice, Au son de sa lyre, Allegro maestoso, Ballata pour quatuor vocal op. 29 (1896/1897)
Review: The Petite Petite Messe solennelle is one of Rossini's last large-scale works. Even though a late work, and a religious work at that, Rossini manages to bring his sparkling wit and operatic flair to the proceedings. The present recording is the first CD recording of the original version for four voices accompanied by two pianos and harmonium. Rupert Huber and the SWR Vocal ensemble Stuttgart perform with style and commitment bringing their enthusiasm for "New Music" to this rediscovered masterwork.
Songlist: Kyrie, Gloria, Gloria in Excelcis Deo, Gratias agimus tibi, Domine Deus, Qui Tollis, Quoniam, Cum Sanctus Spiritu, Credo, Credo in unum Deum, Crucifixus, Et Resurrexit, Preludoio Religioso, Sanctus, O Salutaris Hostia, Agnus Dei
Review: Rare recordings of the music of this popular contemporary composer. Amazing choral virtuosity from the SWR Vocal Ensemble and director Marcus Creed. Gyorgy Kurtag was long overshadowed by his fellow Hungarian Gyorgy Ligeti, but in recent years his music has become far better known. Kurtag was the teacher of the renowned pianists Andras Schiff and Zoltan Kocsis at the Liszt Academy in Budapest.
Songlist: Omaggio a Luigi Nono op. 16, Eight Choruses to Poems by Dezo Tandori op. 23, Songs of Despair and Sorrow op. 18
Review: Few composers have exercised as vigorous a political conscience as did the late Luigi Nono. Beginning his career as a dedicated 12-tone composer (and Schoenberg's son-in-law), Nono consciously sought to revolutionize both music and society in his large output. Significantly, many of Nono's compositions were highly expressive and individualistic settings of texts from authors as diverse as Nietzsche and Latino Labor Leader, Caesar Chavez, to the anonymous inscriptions of political prisoners. The miracle of Nono's music is the tremendous beauty and intensity he was able to forge using such disparate material. The compositions on this disc, masterfully performed by Rupert Huber and the Vokalensemble Stuttgart, are definitive readings of some of the most difficult choral music EVER composed. And yet, despite all the avant garde techniques, the sonic impact of these scores has the otherworldly beauty of Gregorian chant. Make no mistake; this is an essential recording of music by one of the 20th century's greatest composers!
Songlist: Da Un Diario Italiano , Cori Di Didone , Das Atmende Klarsein
Review: Rachmaninov's passionate setting of the Russian "All Night Vigil" is to the Eastern Orthodox liturgy what Bach's B Minor Mass is to the West. Consulting Rachmaninov's manuscripts and correspondence, and working with Russian language and cultural specialists, the virtuoso SWR Vocal Ensemble, under the direction of Marcus Creed, has drawn upon every artistic source available to make this new recording of Rachmaninov's transcendent Vespers.
Songlist: Vespers ("All Night Vigil"), Op. 37
Review: Robert Schumann's a cappella choral works have established themselves on the concert stage far less than those of Mendelssohn or Brahms. He himself, however, accorded them a much higher position among his works, writing that they were composed "with true passion," and that nothing of their kind existed. The 37 mixed voices of SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart show us exactly what he was talking about. Here we have "Romances and Ballads I, II, III and IV, five songs in each, and op. 69 and op. 91, six tunes in each, for a total of 32 cuts. These are impassioned, romantic vocal gems. Some favorites: "Schon Rohtraut," "Ungewitter," "Schnitter Tod," "Im Walde," "Der Schmid," "Der Sanger," "Romanze vom Gansebuben," "Brautgesang," "Tamburin" and "Jager Wohlgemuth." Masterful compositions by Schumann, wonderful, spirited interpretations by SWRVS. Recommended!
Songlist: Romances and Ballads I op. 67, Romances and Ballads II op. 75, Romances and Ballads III op. 145, Romances and Ballads IV op. 146, Romances and Ballads op. 69, Romances and Ballads op. 91