Voted Best Classcial Vocal Album of 2012
I-Tunes - 2012
"...There are several stunning a cappella numbers; others come with instrumental accompaniments, both solo (cello, saxophone) and ensemble (string quartet). There’s one prominent soprano solo. The composer accompanies several pieces beautifully at the piano. Gjeilo obviously knows how to balance abd blend vocal and instrumental sound... I’ve never seen anything less than rave reviews of Bruffy and his Pheonix Chorale... Their absolutely flawless technique and gorgeous, burnished sound make them, without a doubt, one of America’s handful of top professional choirs. And you won’t believe how utterly amazing a great choir can sound until you hear this one as captured in Chandos’s Super-Audio hybrid sound. Soloists and instrumentalist leave nothing to be desired...If you like to stay abreast of significant new developments in the modern choral world, you simply can’t pass Gjeilo’s work up."
Lindsay Koob - American Record Guide - July/August 2012
Guy Engels - Pizzicato magazine - June 2012
“...I can’t imagine any music lover not being enchanted with this superbly sung album, recorded in spacious Super Audio sound that is simply riveting. Highly recommended!” *****
Steven Ritter – Audiophile Audition.com – 25 April 2012
"Warmly appeasing choral music by the Norwegian Ola Gjeillo, with occasional instrumental support (from piano, saxophone and cello). Mainly mellow in tone, though Dark Night of the Soul strikes deeper." ***
Terry Blain - Gramophone magazine - June 2012
“...Bruffy, the Pheonix Chorale and associated performers do not put a foot wrong. Chandos’s SACD sound is marvellous...”
Guy Rickards – Gramophone magazine – May 2012
“...The Phoenix Chorale has made some impressive discs already for Chandos and this latest release is fully up to previous standards. I listened to this SACD as a conventional CD and in that format the sound was excellent.”
John Quinn – musicweb-international.com – 6 April 2012
“...The Phoenix Chorale is superb throughout the collection, apparently convinced by the music... The recording is rich and warm, like the music, and gives plenty of prominence to the accompanying instruments ... beautifully sung and recorded collection of music that makes for very easy listening indeed.”
William Hedley – International Record Review – April 2012
“...The 27 professional voices of Arizona-based Phoenix Chorale under Charles bruffy paint limpid washes of sound with polished intonation, ensemble and balance. The music draws on sacred texts, some ubiquitous, others novel, and, save a couple of moderately-paced pieces, all the tracks are slow and meditative. Listeners and choirs wanting more of this ‘brand’ of choral music and will find plenty here, delivered with fine engineering and full sleeve notes.” ****
Matthew Power – Choir & Organ magazine – March/April 2012
Performance ***** Sonics *****
“...The Phoenix Chorale are on top form here, clearly fully at home with their new composer’s music and delighting in every magnetic moment. Charles Bruffy’s vastly-experienced direction is as usual sensitive and technically assured. I am trying not to be too effusive here, because this music (and its singing) had a considerable emotional effect for me. Gjeilo’s poise, depth of humanity and root simplicity comes across in every bar, making this a very memorable experience. Given an impeccable recording, both in stereo and multichannel modes, well-written and fulsome notes ... a truly heartfelt performance, there is only one word to describe this album. Unmissable.”
Geohominid – SA-CD.net – 13 February 2012
First, a disclaimer: I am one of the singers of the Phoenix Chorale, so obviously, I can't be very objective. That being said, this is one of the most gorgeous, transcendent, and spiritual choral recordings I've ever heard. From my vantage point, I think this is largely due to the synthesis of Ola Gjeilo's unique compositional "voice," the musicians' (both singers and instruments) enthusiasm for and comfort with the musical material, and the interpretive creativity of conductor Charles Bruffy. This combination resulted in an extremely high-quality collaborative outcome, on many different levels.
I could describe other qualities of this recording, but again, I'm biased, so instead I'll leave it up to the lovers of beautiful choral music to listen and decide for themselves!