SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

TORBJORN DYRUD: Out of Darkness—the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Soloists/ Nidaros Cath. Choir/ Vivianne Sydnes – 2L Pure Audio Blu-ray + SACD

This spectacular recording ushers in a new voice in passion plus expression, enhancing a genre with new ideas and solemnity.

Published on March 8, 2014

TORBJORN DYRUD: Out of Darkness—the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Soloists/ Nidaros Cath. Choir/ Vivianne Sydnes – 2L Pure Audio Blu-ray + SACD

TORBJORN DYRUD: Out of Darkness—the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Geir Morton Oien, trumpet/ Erlend Aagaard Nilsen, trumpet/ Lars Sitter, percussion/ Sarah Head, readings/ Nidaros Cathedral Choir/ Vivianne Sydnes – 2L Pure Audio Blu-ray DTS-HD MA (192k/24-bit 5.1) + multichannel SACD MCH 5.1 DSD 2L-099 (2 discs), 55:32 [Distr. by Naxos] ****:

Though it’s often touted as a Passion, Out of Darkness is much more than that; it represents not only the last days of Christ on earth, but instead carries us metaphysically and mystically through the resurrection event also, in effect bring the story to an often-needed conclusion that pure Passion narratives simply do not provide. In this Dyrud is introducing somewhat of a new genre to the tried and true sacred narratives that so inundate the Christian year, especially during the major pre-Easter Lenten season.

The piece is divided into seven scenes and remains a purely “concert” experience, with the choir moving position at the beginning of each scene. This serves, according to the composer, the inherent drama of the story. The narrator’s part should always be in the native tongue of the country where it is performed (in this case it is in English), though there are Latin texts as well, expressive of the composer’s own faith experience and affiliation. The piece is exceptionally optimistic as one might guess, the composer’s intent of the final gospel events as being the light of mankind, offering a way out of the darkness.

The two trumpets and percussion make for an exuberant and also exceptionally intense orchestrated experience where the brass and percussion are able to elevate us to the highest heights and also describe the lowest feelings inherent in the narrative; using this combination was truly a stroke of genius on the part of Dyrud, and I am constantly amazed at the elasticity and effectiveness of this ensemble. The choir is first rate, carrying the load in this piece sans soloists, and 2L’s sound is typically sensational, though as usual the SACD version seems to add some depth and softness to the experience that the Blu-ray misses, though barely.

I encourage anyone with an interest in contemporary sacred expression to get this release. Audiophiles will want it on general principles.

—Steven Ritter




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