…As for the orchestral playing, it leaves nothing to be desired; intonation is true and ensemble is razor sharp. Anima Eterna captures the music’s raw energy and succeeds in coupling it with eloquence and warmth, resulting in a wonderful blend of soul and virtuosity. In the end, these are sterling performances, certainly capable of going toe-to-toe with the period-instrument competition and well worth the time and effort to open your wallet.
…Elsewhere the whole kit of an old-instrument Fantastique – pungent brass timbres, shrieking clarinets, scary “bells” (the pianos) and death-march timpani – makes its mark. For its combination of unique orchestral size and recording quality, and overall Werktreu-ness, this new performance sits easily alongside, maybe even slightly ahead of, the other authentic contenders.
This is a striking example of the essential Milton Nascimento that has made him a beloved figure in Brazil - a lush, eloquent, unified concept album that cries for universal happiness and personal fulfillment, lashes out briefly at hypocrisy, and haunts the memory with its often stirring tunes. The record opens boldly with a tone poem accurately entitled "Evocation of the Mountains," and a gorgeous lengthy opening vocalese with a plush string backdrop, and it ends simply with the unadorned voice of Nascimento urging us not to analyze things if we want to be happy.
Anima mea explores the Christian concept of the soul through these masterpieces of medieval Sacred Music. Hildegard of Bingen’s beautifully exalted harmonies represent God’s order in the music of the spheres. The recently rediscovered Erfurt Ritual contains sung music from Master Eckhart’s historical context. These antiphons are performed here for the first time since 1525, along with chants from the liturgy of the Roman mass, music from the Notre Dame School, and a glorious Magnificat. The German duo Ensemble Cosmedin, who take their name from a church in Rome, are considered one of the leading ensembles for medieval and modern sacred music. Music of the soul—gentle and luminous.