Singer Pur Featuring The Hilliard Ensemble
Rogers Covey-Crump : discography

Oehms Classics OC 354

Playing time: 60'47

Recorded June 1/2 2003 (Metcalf), September 8/9 2003 (Metcalf, Sciarrino), January 19-21 2004 (Moody, Rihm), Niedermünsterkirche Regensburg


Singer Pur Featuring The Hilliard Ensemble

Rihm, Sciarrino, Moody, Metcalf

Singer Pur & The Hilliard Ensemble


Wolfgang Rihm: 4 Passionsmotetten
 1.  “Tristis est anima mea” [2:47] 
 2.  “Ecce vidimus eum” [3:56] 
 3.  “Velum templi scissum est” [3:30] 
 4.  “Tenebrae factae sunt”  [4:45] 

Salvatore Sciarrino
 5.  “Responsorio delle tenebre” a sei voci (2001) [8:41] 

Ivan Moody
 6.  “Lamentation of the Virgin”  [13:18] 

Joanne Metcalf: “Il nome del bel fior” (1998)
 7.  “Maria I” – countertenor solo [2:48] 
 8.  “Quivi è la rosa” - soprano, countertenor, tenor [4:51] 
 9.  “Maria II” – Singer Pur [2:39] 
 10.  “Il nome del bel fior” - Hilliard Ensemble [4:16] 
 11.  “Maria III” – Hilliard Ensemble [2:34] 
 12.  “Io sono amore angelico” - Singer Pur [2:33] 
 13.  “Maria IV” – Tutti [2:40] 


Singer Pur
Claudia Reinhard, soprano (1-6, 8, 9, 12, 13)
Klaus Wenk, tenor (1-6, 8, 9, 12, 13)
Markus Zapp, tenor (1-6, 9, 12, 13)
Manuel Warwitz, tenor (1-4, 6)
Reiner Schneider-Waterberg, baritone (1-4, 6)
Marcus Schmidl, bass (1-6, 9, 12, 13)
Andreas Hirtreiter, tenor (5, 9, 12, 13)
Guido Heidloff, baritone (5, 9, 12, 13)

The Hilliard Ensemble
David James, countertenor (solo 7, 10, 11, 13)
Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor (10, 11, 13)
Steven Harrold, tenor (10, 11, 13)
Gordon Jones, baritone (10, 11, 13)


The German vocal group Singer Pur, founded by former singers of the boy's choir Regensburger Domspatzen, has produced an impressive number of releases since it first got together as a unit in 1994. This disc for Oehms Classics, Singer Pur Featuring the Hilliard Ensemble, teams it with the English a cappella group the Hilliard Ensemble and highlights Singer Pur in some of material written expressly for them by contemporary composers. The four composers featured all bring a different approach to bear on the 2,000-year legacy of unaccompanied Western sacred music.

The first four pieces are Passionsmotetten by German composer Wolfgang Rihm. These are among the most appealing works of Rihm yet, sounding a little like late-Renaissance mannerisms shot through with a variety of intersecting ideas and techniques, although its total effect is eclectic, and ultimately a little obscure. The Responsorio delle tenebre of Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino is intriguing, as the voices of Singer Pur interweave about fragments of chant that slide around in a slippery microtonality. Young English composer Ivan Moody has contributed a lot of ink in terms of articles about music and in liner notes, though his work is not yet well represented on disc. Moody's Lamentation of the Virgin is good, and certainly the most traditional of the music on Singer Pur Featuring the Hilliard Ensemble, stylistically reflecting Moody's apprenticeship with Sir John Tavener. Singer Pur has saved the best for last, a very effective setting of Canto XXIII of Dante's Inferno entitled Il nome del bel fior by American composer Joanne Metcalf. It is a beautiful and moving piece, with Metcalf striking a balance between self-expression, technique, and responsiveness to the opportunity of working with such a fine ensemble as Singer Pur. In this work, Singer Pur is joined by the Hilliard Ensemble, mostly in alternating choruses but finally together as a choir. While Singer Pur Featuring the Hilliard Ensemble may not be for all tastes, it is an eye-opening and enjoyable disc, demonstrating once again that music of the twenty-first century is to be embraced, not feared. ~ David Lewis, All Music Guide