New CD Information from OUR RECORDINGS – “Half Monk, Half Rascal” – Poulenc Vocal Music from Danish National Vocal Ensemble cond. by Stephen Layton

Half Monk – Half Rascal

Vocal Music by Francis Poulenc

Danish National Vocal Ensemble conducted by Stephen Layton

Catalogue Number: 8.226906 • UPC 0636943690628 • UK Distribution via Select

Dealer Price: £8.69             Release Date March 26th 2012



Sept Chansons (La blanche neige; A peine défigurée; Par une nuit nouvelle; Tous les droit; Belle et ressemblante; Marie; Luire); Quatre petites priers de Saint François d’Assise (Salut; Tout puissant ; Seigneur, je vous en prie; O mes très chèrs frères); Ave verum corpusUn soir de neige (De grandes cuillers de neige; La bonne neige; Bois meurtri; La nuit, le froid, la solitude); Laudes de Saint Antoine de Padoue (O Jesu; O proles; Laus Regi; Si quaeris); Chansons françaises (Margoton va t’à l’iau; La belle se sied; Pilons l’orge; Clic, Clac, dansez sabots; C’est la petit’ fill’ du prince; La belle si nous étions; Ah! Mon beau laboureur; Les tisserands); Chanson à boire


Product & Repertoire Information

OUR Recordings is proud to announce the release of this recording of marvellous music by Francis Poulenc, which is standard repertoire for all professional choirs. For this disc Stephen Layton and the Danish National Vocal Ensemble put together a program representing both Poulenc`s secular and sacred choral music.

Poulenc was a man of contradictions. The traditionalists called him a modernist, the modernists called him old-fashioned. The contradictions were most glaring – a declared homosexual and devout Catholic in the first half of the twentieth century, very courageous indeed!

He wrote modern music but couldn’t help creating melodies. That was to be both his good fortune and his misfortune. He understood how to write for both instruments and voices, and his music is today regarded as belonging to the highest echelons of 20th Century composition – not just in France but all over the world. He draws upon influences of Haydn and Mozart with the addition of a little Stravinsky, a little folk music, a little jazz, and a good deal of Parisian café music.  He wrote no symphonies or piano sonatas – though he was a talented pianist – and created his own interesting instrumental ensembles and combinations. He wrote some of the best loved and most performed wind music of the 20th century. Generally though, he is regarded as being at his very best in his profoundly original operas, in piano pieces and of course in his vocal music.


Artist Information

Conductor Stephen Layton was born 1966, the son of a church organist. As a child, he was a chorister at Winchester Cathedral, and received scholarships to Eton College and later King’s College, Cambridge as an organ scholar. In 1986, while still a student, Layton founded the mixed-voice choir Polyphony and in 1993 he was appointed the musical director of the Holst Singers.

Layton’s subsequent appointments include principal guest conductor of the Danish National Choir (1999), chief conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Choir (2002), Fellow and Director of Music of Trinity College, Cambridge (2006) and Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the City of London Sinfonia (2010).

Layton guest conducts widely and has worked with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Academy of Ancient Music, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. A champion of new music, Layton has premiered new repertoire by many composers, including Arvo Pärt, Thomas Ades, James Macmillan, John Tavener, Colin Matthews, Morten Lauridsen and Ugis Praulins.

Stephen Layton’s eclectic discography encompasses a vast range of repertoire, composers and genres, and has received numerous awards, including Gramophone Award and the Diapason d’Or in France for best choral disc, two Grammy Nominations and the Spanish CD Compact Award.

In January 2007 the choral landscape in Denmark was radically changed when DR (Danmarks Radio) unveiled an ambitious project: the launch of the newly established Danish National Vocal Ensemble. The new ensemble consists of a core membership of 18 singers, however when the music so requires, they are joined by their colleagues in the Danish National Choir/DR.

The Danish National Vocal Ensemble is fast establishing themselves as one of the world’s most innovative choral groups, offering creative, thematic programming. The unique philosophy of having a flexible membership has opened up a wide range of repertoire and performing possibilities, focusing increasingly on the masterworks of the Baroque and contemporary works by Danish and Nordic composers.

The choir has sung opera at the Royal Opera as well as sacred music from the Baroque with Concerto Copenhagen, and has toured Europe performing with several continental orchestras, including the NDR Orchestra in Hamburg, the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and the Bergen Philharmonic. While their primary base of operation is Copenhagen, the choir has toured extensively throughout Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Poland, as well as giving concerts in London and St. Petersburg. Prior to their recent restructuring, the Danish National Vocal Ensemble performed under the direction of Stephen Layton from 1999- 2011 and as of May 2011, Olof Boman has assumed leadership as the ensemble’s principle conductor.


Further Information

“Half Monk, Half Rascal” will be fully serviced to press and advertising will include the main classical music magazines. Further advertising is planned in due course. For a review copy and any further information, please contact John Cronin at Music & Media Consulting.

This CD “half Monk – Half Rascal”  follows the release of the highly praised disc entitled “The Nightingale – New Nordic Music for Recorder and Choir” (released in late2011) with Michala Petri and Danish National Vocal Ensemble, also conducted by Stephen Layton. One further CD is planned for late 2012/early 2013.

The Nightingale – New Nordic Music for Recorder and Choir

Catalogue Number: 6.220605 • UPC 747313160563 • UK Distribution via Select

Dealer Price: £8.69                            Release Date November 28th 2011

Half Monk; Half Rascal - Press Release - March 2012 (131.0 KiB)

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