“20 seconds … after which all I could say was ‘Hoorah!’ And I went on saying it, interspersed every now and again with ‘Wow!’… This is some of the most beautiful and moving choral singing I have ever heard.” So wrote BBC Music Magazine’s reviewer about the Danish National Vocal Ensemble’s recording of Francis Poulenc’s sophisticated choral music; one of the few but remarkable recordings the ensemble has released.
18 of Denmark’s best singers make up this ensemble with its high international standard. The Danish National Vocal Ensemble’s sound is transparent, bright and pure, and its precision is combined with a strong dynamic range. It is a world of sound that exhibits the essence of the famous Nordic choral style. The Danish National Vocal Ensemble has very close ties with Danish and other Nordic music: major composers like Per Nørgård and Sven-David Sandström have written music especially for the choir. Since 2011 the Danish National Vocal Ensemble’s chief conductor has been the Swede Olof Boman, but as of the start of the 2014 season he has been succeeded by Marcus Creed.
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble’s wide repertoire covers all aspects of choral singing, all the way from very recently written works to 500-year-old Renaissance music. The versatility is so great because the Danish National Vocal Ensemble can quite flexibly be transformed into smaller groupings, and because each of the 18 regularly employed singers can come forward as a soloist. This can also be heard on the Danish TV channel DR K, where the Danish National Vocal Ensemble in various formations sings Danish songs.
Each season the Danish National Vocal Ensemble appears in both a cappella concerts and with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and the Danish National Chamber Orchestra. The choir also appears with other ensembles, for example the Baroque orchestra Concerto Copenhagen and foreign orchestras like the Radio Symphony Orchestra from Hamburg, the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and the Bergen Philharmonic.
For the biggest tasks the Danish National Vocal Ensemble is supplemented with singers from the large Danish National Concert Choir.
The Danish National Vocal Ensemble has recorded a long succession of CDs. In 2012 the Vocal Ensemble was awarded the prestigious German Echo music prize for the CD The Nightingale, made with the recorder virtuoso Michala Petri. Other new CDs include Per Nørgård’s large choral work Libra and the above-mentioned recording of Francis Poulenc’s sophisticated choral music. A CD with music by Heise, conducted by Michael Schønwandt, is in the pipeline.
> visit the ensemble’s website.