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Juno Nomination for "Tree of Life",
The Path to Paradise
Dec 2017 : Sony Music Entertainment Canada is pleased to announce a new recording from celebrated Canadian Daniel Taylor and the Trinity Choir.
The latest Sony choral disc entitled
CBC Radio - Listed in their Top 10 Classical Albums for 2017
"The Trinity Choir, Daniel Taylor and Sony Classical are on a roll with their third album in as many years. Their latest, The Path to Paradise, is hot off the presses, its official release is on Dec. 1, but we’ve already got our advance copy on repeat.
The repertoire spans 1,000 years, from Gregorian chant (the antiphon "In Paradisum") to Arvo Pärt’s 2001 "Nunc dimitis," by way of works by Renaissance composers Thomas Tallis, John Sheppard, Orlando di Lasso, William Byrd and Nicolas Gombert - mostly motets for Holy Week, chosen for their enlightening commentary on the theme of salvation.
Comprising singers from Canada and the U.K., the Trinity Choir’s laser-beam intonation and blend are as impressive as ever. The album’s centrepiece is Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere, performed here with the perfect balance of precision and soul. The standout track is Pärt’s Magnificat, whose haunting homophony will leave you breathless."
December 10th 2017, CBC Radio 2 In Concert:
Paolo Pietropaolo featured The Path to Paradise as his CD of the week!
Feb 11th 2018 CBC Radio 2 Choral Concert:
Kathryn Duncan also featured The Path to Paradise CD
New Review Of Daniel Taylor And The Trinity Choir In Our Sony Recording "The Path To Paradise"
"It is hard to summarize in few words the new discographic opus by the superb Canadian counter-tenor Daniel Taylor at the head of Trinity Choir, The Path to Paradise: the path in question leads us from anonymous medieval plainsong to the start of the Baroque era with Allegri (and his famous Miserere), by way of Tallis, Sheppard, Lassus, and finally a several-century hiatus takes us up to Arvo Pärt.
The most striking aspect of the album, other than the great unity of musical vision regardless of the period of the works, remains the extraordinary vocal quality which Daniel Taylor demands - and achieves. Taylor didn’t just begin his career as a counter-tenor any old where: he performed at Glyndebourne, at the Met, in Munich, in Amsterdam, and indeed all across the world of big stages - before he turned towards choir and orchestra, and even production.
This is a magnificent album which is not to be missed."
"World-renowned counter tenor and vocal music director Daniel Taylor delivers his latest album and
another stunningly beautiful disc of incredible vocal music, The Path to Paradise. In The Path to Paradise
Daniel Taylor and The Trinity Choir record an inspiring journey through more than 1000 years of an a capella
landscape, tracing the soul’s lifelong pilgrimage towards a shifting dream of salvation.
During these uncertain times Daniel Taylor proposes, with these moving and enlightening accounts,
a different vision of paradise."
AllMusic Review by James Manheim :
"Specialist recordings of Renaissance music tend to focus on a single style, composer, or period. Recordings aimed at general listeners tend to do the same, perhaps inviting listeners to draw analogies with visual art or with history. Conductor Daniel Taylor and his Trinity Choir do something entirely different. There’s a seductive surface to the choir’s sound, accounting in part for its popularity, but that’s not all there is to it: you don’t need obscure Renaissance works by the likes of John Sheppard and Nicolas Gombert to get by on a smooth surface. Instead, Taylor is trying to get you to hear Renaissance music with something like the ears of the people who first sang it and listened to it. Is it full-textured or simple? Polyphonic or chordal? Imitative in texture or free? Taylor’s program moves from one type to another. You can listen to more from any of these composers in other performances, but what Taylor does is get you to hear the differences, and to set them off beautifully. To this end, he also introduces contemporary, unaccompanied polyphony by Arvo Pärt (the much-recorded, but rarely so reverently recorded, Magnificat and Nunc dimittis), which brings the texture down to its simplest at the middle of the program and then has it expand again. Sony’s sound from St. Albans the Martyr church in London reveals lovely shades in the choir’s sound. Highly recommended, and a great place to start with Renaissance music for anyone."
The Independent UK Review of Path to Paradise CD :
"The influential impact of John Eliot Gardinerís work, particularly with the monumental series of Bach Cantatas, on choral recordings
continues to ripple outwards. Here, Daniel Taylor and The Trinity Choir offer a small but impressive survey of religious a cappella
music which seeks to dissolve the boundaries between old and new, home and abroad, by including Renaissance masterpieces by Byrd,
Tallis and Allegri alongside modern settings of traditional texts by Arvo Part. Taylor suggests he’s trying to restore, to
the cold stone surroundings of today’s churches, something of the former light and colour which once dazzled congregations,
and he does just that with Byrd and Tallis’s separate settings of the "Miserere" and John Sheppard’s less
well-known "Libera Nos". There’s a seamless passage between Renaissance polyphony, plainsong and Pärt’s shifting tintinabulli,
climaxing in an enchanting arrangement of Allegri’s "Miserere Mei, Deus" of unusual calm and charm,
particularly in the recurrent descending high ornaments, so often strident but here bathed in balm."
"This music reaches to us across the centuries, speaking beyond speech of the sublime authority of love
which pushes against the fragility of our existence.
The word sublime should never be used lightly, but if ever a collection of music warrants the term it's this one. In keeping with its title, this latest recording by Daniel Taylor and the Trinity Choir, their follow-up to Four Thousand Winter and the Juno-nominated The Tree of Life, offers a direct route to paradise, its figurative access achieved when the immediate space is filled with its glorious vocal performances.Though their works are set to sacred texts about the soul's lifelong struggle to achieve salvation, The Path To Paradise presents spiritually replenishing music whose rapturous beauty is capable of speaking to the faithful and non-faithful alike. Some recordings reflect back to us the ugliness and corruption of the world; this one presents a glorious realm of transcendent beauty that makes the one around us seem woefully wanting by comparison."
Review in the Montreal La Presse Feb 22 2018:
Publié le 22 janvier 2018
Le contre-ténor Daniel Taylor et The Trinity Choir (dont il est le directeur artistique) nous élèvent ici dans les hauteurs cťlestes des chants sacrés de la Renaissance.
Sauf deux oeuvres contemporaines du compositeur estonien Arvo Pärt (Magnificat/Song of Mary et Nunc Dimittis/Song of Simeon), ce répertoire réunit des musiques sublimes composťes par des organistes, chantres ou chefs de choeur tels Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652), William Byrd (1538-1623), Nicolas Gombert (1495-1560), John Sheppard (1515-1558) et Thomas Tallis (1505-1585).
Quatre siècles et demi plus tard, ces chants sont encore admirés pour leurs vertus méditatives et leurs propriétés mystiques, et demeurent ainsi profondément ancrés dans l’imaginaire occidental.
Les lignes pures sans vibrato de ces mélodies, ces formes anciennes de la polyphonie vocale, cette puretť de l’expression, cette grande force des interprètes habités... valeurs esthétiques et sacrées qu’Arvo Pärt a parfaitement saisies pour en nourrir son oeuvre.
Le sentier du paradis... effectivement!
Dec 21st 2016:
2016 Sony recital disc entitled
La Scena Musicale
By Kiersten van Vliet
1 February 2017
Its conspicuous release before Christmas is no accident, like the 2015 release of Four Thousand Winter, The Tree of Life is a selection of a capella Christmas pieces. Unlike the previous album, The Tree of Lifeis curated to lead the listener on a journey where stillness and silence are equal players to the music of Mouton, Tavener, Britten, Elizabeth Poston, Robert Parsons, and Pärt. On this disc, leading Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor is joined by soloists Jeremy Budd (treble), David Clegg (alto), Nicholas Pritchard (bass), and Ellen McAteer (soprano), as well as esteemed choristers from the Tallis Scholars, the Gabrieli Consort and the Monteverdi Choir, not to mention the same UK-based production team led by Nicholas Parker.
Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s Seven Magnificat-Antiphons is the conceptual centre on which the album hinges. Paradoxically, whereas the Pärt reaches out to the celestial unknown, the more familiar mainstays in Catholic services by unknown composers that bookend the album "Puer natus est" (Christmas Day introit) and "Veni, Veni Emmanuel" (a plainchant Antiphon from Vespers) form the earthly foundation from which the remaining selections take flight. It would be easy to wax poetic about the superior blend Taylor et al. achieve beneath the venerated rafters of St. Augustine’s Anglican Church in Kilburn, London, but for brevity’s sake I will only mention my favourite moments here: the plaintive, yet refined Hymn to the Virgin by Britten; the gloriously simple homophonic Jesus Christ the Apple Tree by Elizabeth Poston; the overwhelming waves of sound in Tavener’s Hymn to the Mother of God; and, of course, the Pärt, but then again, I am always pro-Pärt.
Far from merely a seasonal disc, you could have selections from this album on rotation year-round, especially if you are in the business of making playlists of exceptional choral music; as a whole, it is an aural pilgrimage for even the most agnostic among us.
FINANCIAL TIMES, UK, Dec 22 2016
The Tree of Life - review
An atmosphere of spiritual calm pervades a programme embracing a range of simple and rapt choral favourites
The running theme of this disc is the Seven Magnificat-Antiphons by Arvo Pärt, written for the seven days leading up to Christmas Eve. They bestow an atmosphere of spiritual calm that pervades a programme embracing a range of simple and rapt choral favourites, Tavener’s "The Lamb", the youthful Britten’s "Hymn to the Virgin", and Elizabeth Poston’s lovely "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree".
Daniel Taylor gets first-rate singing from The Trinity Choir. Looking at some of the names in its ranks, the quality of the choir’s sound and ensemble is hardly surprising.
Christmas Gift Ideas from the Bach Choir and Friends
Posted on December 18, 2016
The Blog of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, by choir member David Ruhf
Also, another dear friend of The Choir, our beloved countertenor soloist, Daniel Taylor, has been working on a few recording projects for Sony with his new Trinity Choir, an assemblage of frightening talent from the highest echelons of choral performance. The two discs theyíve released, thus far, have both been of Christmas music. Four Thousand Winterwas released last year, and the follow-up disc is entitled Tree of Life. Both discs are absolutely stunning, and have at their centers large works of renaissance polyphony (Tallisí Videte Miraculum in the former, and Jean Moutonís especially-glorious Nesciens Mater, in the latter). Filling out the programs on both discs are smaller works, both ancient and modern, with the unifying link of unusual spiritual and intellectual depth. The engineering and sonics are fabulous (both were recorded in churches with exceptional acoustics in London), and the performances are tears-in-your-eyes revelatory. Particular favorite tracks are Matthew Martinís Adam Lay Ybounden, John Joubertís There is No Rose(unknown to me before the recording, now a reliable moment of transcendence), and all of Arvo Pšrtís Seiben Magnificat-Antiphonen. The Antiphons are particularly evocative, and Danielís group is my new reference recording, not least in part because of the inextricable and achingly complementary relationship between performers and acoustics in these works. No digital or electronic tinkering can outshine a fantastic choir in a fantastic room. If you need an escape from all of the holiday clatter, you could hardly do better than these recordings, which are available from Amazon and on iTunes.
December 11th 2016, CBC Radio 2 In Concert:
Paolo Pietropaolo featured The Tree of Life as his CD of the week!
hbdirect.com - Dec 2016
Having already released successful recordings for Sony Classical over the past decade, top Canadian and world-renowned counter-tenor and vocal music director Daniel Taylor follows up on his highly successful and critically acclaimed Four Thousand Winter album with another stunningly beautiful release of incredible vocal music. The Tree of Life includes stunning a cappella vocal performances by The Trinity Choir in a beautiful juxtaposition of poignant 20th century works with early music gems, all realized with Daniel’s dedicated attention to detail and creative expertise. The repertoire includes Arvo Pärt’s Magnifcat-Antiphonen, John Tavener’s The lamb and Hymn to the Mother of God and Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to the Virgin amongst others. The pure voices of The Trinity Choir include the best singers from the UK’s most lauded choirs and the best Canadian soloists of today.
Matthew Parsons - CBC Nov 2016
When Daniel Taylor's Trinity Choir released its 2015 Christmas album "Four Thousand Winter", it impressed even the committed scrooges here at CBC Music. And now, a year later, the choir has returned with a record in a very similar mould. Like its predecessor, "The Tree of Life" features music spanning two millenia: from chants dating back to the earliest days of Christmas celebrations, to contemporary works by Arvo Pärt and John Tavener. But this new album has a concept and a goal of its own.
"The Tree of Life takes the listener on a spiritual journey" wrote Daniel Taylor in the album’s liner notes, "guiding us through the notes to the moments of silence between them: here we remember, reflect and give thanks." The album is structured around Pärt’s Seven Magnificat-Antiphons, a collection of gloriously straightforward settings of sixth-century sacred texts. Around the scaffolding of these seven short pieces, Taylor and his choir build a meditative musical experience that’s a far cry from the standards-and-sleigh-bells approach to Christmas music. Tavener’s setting of William Blake’s "The Lamb" is so static, you might find yourself slipping into a trance by the end of its brief running time. Robert Parsons’s placid "Ave Maria" will immediately purge your mind of more familiar settings by Schubert and Gounod. And Benjamin Britten’s "Hymn to the Virgin" (written when Britten was only 16) cuts straight to the part of you that recognises beauty - regardless of what sort of spiritual journey you may personally be on.
Most of the words you’ll hear sung on this album are not from our time, or any time resembling it. They come from bygone societies, practising bygone versions of Christianity. But like Pärt and Tavener before him, Taylor finds contemporary resonance in them: "The Antiphons are the cry of a wounded people who have known loneliness and the loss of dignity," he wrote of the sixth-century texts in Pärt’s piece. "We need look no further than our own society to witness this loneliness. There is a lack of understanding, an ’othering‘ of the vulnerable and disabled, which denies those who live through the actions of their hearts and which blatantly overlooks the vulnerability in each of us." For Taylor, these ancient cries for help are as necessary today as ever. Perhaps this record can offer solace.
"Four Thousand Winter"
Besides his highly successful career as a counter-tenor Daniel Taylor has developed a parallel career as a conductor.
With such a pedigree itís unsurprising that this disc is marked by technical excellence and high standards of musicianship.
The carefully chosen programme includes some sub-groups of pieces. One such comprises the settings of Adam lay ybounden. Iíve heard Matthew Martinís piece before and once again it impresses here. The music is slow and rather mysterious - Daniel Taylor refers to its "cavernous sublimity". Iíd never heard before the setting by the Canadian composer and organist, Matthew Larkin. Itís a haunting composition for high voices in which the music moves in long, slowly undulating lines. Another grouping features settings inspired by the association of the rose with Christís birth. The performances of these carols are all excellent - the Joubert setting is beautifully poised.
At the heart of the programme lies Tallisís glorious and expansive Videte miraculum - he paces the Tallis perfectly. He and his expert singers unfold the long paragraphs in a wonderfully spacious manner. Everything seems to be in perfect equilibrium. Tallisís timeless devotional music is very well served here. So too is William Byrd in his equally devotional but much more intimate Ave Maria.
Daniel Taylorís touch as a conductor is sure and his expert singers serve him very well indeed. Their singing has been very pleasingly recorded in the benign resonance of the church of St. Alban the Martyr.
I hope there will be more recordings from Daniel Taylor and The Trinity Choir.
Advent got off to a wonderful start last night at Trinity College Chapel, Toronto.
Daniel Taylor and his relatively new ensemble, The University of Toronto Schola Cantorum, gave us a magical evening
of Advent and Christmas music spanning the 13th to the 21st century. The choir, consisting largely of U of T students
(aided and abetted by a number of Toronto professionals) sang beautifully in the resonant acoustics of Trinity College chapel.
It was also an occasion to introduce a splendid new SONY recording, "Four Thousand Winter", the debut CD of Dan's new ensemble, The Trinity Choir. Beautifully controlled, nuanced singing in the concert and the CD is utterly sublime. Toronto has another first-class choir to add to its already outstanding roster. Thank you and Bravi Tutti, Dan and everyone!
Howard Dyck, Nov 30th 2015
Daniel writes: Beautiful review in the December 5th Journal de Montreal helped our disc forward to #1 on iTunes - thank you to the people of Quebec!!
"Les amoureux de chants de chorale ou anciens seront ravis de cette collaboration entre notre contre-ténor et le chœur; ils y interprètent des chants du VIe siècle à nos jours." "
Lovers of choral and early music will be happy with this collaboration between our counter-tenor and his new choir; they interpret songs of the sixth century to the present day."
The Theatre of Early Music Sony recital disc entitled "Come Again, Sweet Love", was released in early June 2011.
A beautiful, exquisite recording that brings to light themes central to the music of Shakespeare’s time: love,
abandonment, fortune, death and the passing of time.
Come Again, Sweet Love CD Reviews:
"Accompanied by the voices and period instruments of the Theatre of Early Music, celebrated
countertenor Daniel Taylor here presents a collection of songs drawn from, or influenced by,
Shakespeare, composed by the likes of Gibbons, Purcell and Dowland. Vocal leads and arrangements
are shared: the results include a four-part madrigal setting of Gibbons’ "The Silver Swan";
solo pieces accompanied by theorbo, such as Taylor’s poised expression of a woman who "with
such sweetness and such justice reigns" in Purcell’s "By Beauteous Softness"; and tenor
Charles Daniels’s extended swoon of ardour through Dowland’s "Come Again, Sweet Love Doth Now Invite"."
The Independent, UK, June 2011
"As founder and artistic director of the Montreal-based Theatre of Early Music (TEM)
and a singer of international renown with over 60 recordings to his credit, Canadian countertenor
Daniel Taylor is now at a point in his career where, on the Sony label, he headlines a recording that
counts among its vocal performers Dame Emma Kirkby, Michael Chance and Charles Daniels as well as
Carol Sampson and Neal Davies. Drawing on repertoire inspired by, referred to or performed in the
plays of Shakespeare, this is a delightful and varied collection of solos, duets and madrigals
complemented by adept instrumentalists from two different ensembles: TEM’s Elizabeth Kenny and
Jacob Heringman on lute and Fretwork’s Richard Boothby and Richard Campbell on viola da gamba.
A most wonderful confluence occurs in the various combinations of voices as in Orlando Gibbonsí
The Silver Swan and particularly when countertenors Taylor and Chance duet in Robert Jonesí Sweet Kate
and Thomas Morley’s Sweet nymph, come to thy lover. Purcell’s By Beauteous softness and If music be the
food of love as well as Johnson’s Full Fathom Five are interpreted with tender affect by Taylor,
Sampson and Davies respectively. Charles Daniels is given the title track and Emma Kirby adds a
light-hearted flavour to Now what is love? This collection, recorded in London, is highly recommended
as a feast of love for a mid-summerís night."
The Wholenote - Written by Dianne Wells
“As FranÁois Filiatrault eloquently points out in the accompanying booklet, music was an integral part of Shakespeare’s plays, as references,
as actual songs to be performed and as background music played by an offstage consort. In this new album, Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor brings
together his favourite collaborators in his Theatre of Early Music for a rich, 21-track sampler of all things musically Shakespearean.
Of course, we get the title song, performed this time by tenor Charles Daniels instead of Taylor. Also present is veteran soprano Emma Kirkby in this beautiful-sounding recording made in London's Henry Wood Hall last June. Taylor sings solo for eight of the songs, including the gorgeous opener, "By Beauteous Softness," set by Henry Purcell and accompanied by Elizabeth Kenny on lute. Taylor’s voice, still lush, has darkened over the past few years, adding an even deeper lustre to the melancholy he clearly cherishes. Although the selection of songs covers all moods and occasions, the preponderance is for introspection, if not outright lament. And no one does this as well as Taylor these days. Kenny is a pleasure in a solo Galliard by John Dowland. Fabulous soprano Carolyn Sampson brings a powerful, lithe delicacy to "If Music be the Food of Love," in another Purcell setting. Baritone Neal Davies does well in the ensemble songs as well as in his one solo: John Dowland's "If My Complaints Could Passions Move." There could hardly be finer accompaniment to a rainy summer afternoon."
John Terauds May 31st 2011 Toronto Star
“If you Google the words Shakespeare and songs/music you will find dozens upon dozens of releases but this new 21-track CD by Montreal’s
Daniel Taylor will most likely rank up there as one of the best of contemporary times.
Taylor is a star of classical music who established the Quebec-based Theatre Of Early Music a decade ago that often records baroque, Elizabethan music. Taylor is known for his superb countertenor and on Come Again Sweet Love he covers mostly ballads written by Henry Purcell (1659-1695), Edward Johnson (1572-1601), Tobias Hume (1569-1645) and others of the era who sometimes used Shakespeareís text for their compositions.
There is a lovely song by Dame Emma Kirkby on Now What Is Love? with text by Sir Walter Scott . A few other singers help out as well, but Taylor consistently steals the show on this lengthy classical disc.
There are extensive liner notes making this a musicologists dream release and the few heavenly instruments with lute, viola, theorbo and bass makes this a delightful listen that harkens way back to the antiquities of popular song of the day.
The Guardian, Britain’s mainstay newspaper, heralded Daniel Taylor with "he is part angel, part man....Taylor sings beautifully."’
Allmusic Reviews Voice of Bach:
“The Bach album of choice...His voice is rich, smooth, and lyrical, and it is deployed to maximum effect in
music that seems to reflect the almost sensuous approach Bach took to the depiction of religious contentment.
a meditative mood that is intensified by his singing. The overall effect is lovely and increasingly hypnotic
as you listen longer. This major-label release is something of a milestone for Canada’s enthusiastic contingent
of Baroque performers, who have accumulated technical skills but not always the nerve to break out of conventional
ways of doing things. Taylor and his cohorts here are fresh and technically facile in equal measure.
Beautifully recorded, and strongly recommended. ”