Portland State Chamber Choir  •  Ethan Sperry

Naxos, 2020

Gramophone Critics’ Choice 2020
Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Choice (May 2020)
Stereophile Records to Die For 2021
Stereophile Recording of the Month (June 2020)
  • 1
    O salutaris hostia
  • 2
    The Heavens’ Flock
  • 3
  • 4
    My Thoughts (Мысли мои)
  • 5
  • 6
    The Legend of the Walled-In Woman
  • 7
    In paradisum

For those seeking comfort and an escape from the manifold stresses and uncertainties currently facing mankind, there will be much in this new collection of choral music by Ēriks Ešenvalds that will warm the soul and give solace while also providing a salutary reminder of the essential fragility of our existence. … A stunning, timely triumph, therefore, full of ravishing, transformative and deeply touching music. (Malcolm Riley)

As the days grow shorter and the curtains are drawn earlier, I am lured back to the Portland State Chamber Choir’s ravishing all-Ešenvalds album, Translations, mostly for its highly soothing, comforting factor but also for the stunning choral performances under Ethan Sperry. Another Naxos bargain, full of emotional relish. (Malcolm Riley)

The music is gorgeous, filled with an ethereal beauty that speaks to me of celestial realms. The singing is equal in quality to the finest I’ve heard on record. And the recording quality is exemplary: If Translations were available in even higher resolutions than 24/96, I would have rated it 5 stars for sonics instead of 4.5, something I very rarely do. (Jason Victor Serinus)

In June 2020, Stereophile selected Translations, an album of choral works by Latvian composer Eriks Ešenvalds, as recording of the month. JVS called the choral album “equal in quality to the finest I’ve heard on record” and described its sonic quality as “exemplary.” I second Jason’s impressions. My two favorites include the title track, which features extended choral tonalities and shimmering singing handbells played like Tibetan singing bowls. The second is In paradisum, which produces a ravishing but wordless choral tapestry behind the solo instruments, its vocal tonalities shimmering subtly and changing, making it the most beautiful choral recording I’ve encountered. (Robert Deutsch)

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