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Customer Reviews

Rare Find

Having recently discovered Octarium following the release of its newest recording Modern Masters, I was compelled to gather as much of the ensemble’s music as I could. The album “Essentials" is a delight. Octarium’s early music is exquisite; tracks such as Palestrina’s Sicut Cervus and Byrd’s" Sanctus and Benedictus" are delivered with the agility, ease and sense of line one would expect from an ensemble as high caliber as this group. The solo voice on Stanford’s "Blue Bird" gives one of the most beautiful performances of this piece I have ever heard.

Where Octarium exceeds expectations is in its renderings of Samuel Barber’s iconic "Adagio for Strings" choral rework "Ave Maria" and Anton Bruckner’s "Os Justi." As an individual who has performed with and listened to larger choirs perform these works many times over, I am thrilled to hear this talented ensemble’s recording of them.

Octarium performs these difficult works with aplomb. Its singing is assertive and driven, yet sensitive. And the artists carry through the long phrases (particularly the Ave Maria) with control that leaves this lifelong singer humbled.

Perhaps the most beautiful moment on this album comes at the end of the Os Justi, where Octarium sings with the grace of a placid lake in early morning … still and calm in its ebb and flow.

It is not every day that one discovers new art that brings goose bumps to the skin and tears to the eye. This new fan is, for one, overjoyed.

Lots of good stuff in one place

On the whole, a good album of some of the most beloved and oft-performed choral works out there. Occasional minor tuning issues (esp. in Ecco Mormorar L'onde) crop up now and then, but they are barely noticeable at their worst.

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Customer Ratings