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Beautiful, bleak and brawny, Et Lux – Wolfgang Rihm’s bravura take on the Requiem Mass – makes its first appearance on disc in quietly dramatic, finely delineated performances. Composed in 2009 for string quartet and four-part mixed voices, the hugely contrasted, hour-long piece is as much an interrogation of liturgical tropes as an invocation of them. Cleverly, Paul Van Nevel doubles the vocal parts, lending them a heavenly choral aura wholly in keeping with Rihm’s intentions. Pitted against the Minguet Quartett’s contemporary sensibilities – shifting between tender supplication and confrontational toughness – the textured renaissance richness of the Huelgas Ensemble is thrown into sharply acidic relief. Atmospherically recorded, with poetically pointed notes by Paul Griffiths.

MICHAEL QUINN Read the full review on Agora Classica

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