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CD Le Vin Herbé (Frank Martin) (RIAS Kammerchor)

Disc of the month, Opera magazine
The RIAS Chamber Choir is magnificent, giving the narration a finely judged urgency and sense of inevitability. Diction is spot-on, and Martin’s subtle part-writing is beautifully sung. Sandrine Piau realizes the role of Iseut perfectly, her voice powerful but subtly coloured. She and Steve Davislim, equally fine as Tristan, touchingly convey the lovers’ innocent bewilderment at the force of what has overwhelmed them. The conductor Daniel Reuss and the Scharoun Ensemble have really got under the skin of this luminous music, and there is particularly strong playing from the pianist Majella Stockhausen-Riegelbauer. The recording has depth and atmosphere, the set is attractively presented, and the booklet essay is very informative about the work’s background. If this recording doesn’t win an award, there is no justice in the world.
Opera Magazine, Peter Reed, July 2007

10 in Classica Repertoire
Toute l’equipe réuni est absolument formidable, d’une elegance, d’un raffinement, d’une intelligence stylistique, mais aussi d’un invesstissement confondants. Un chef-d’oeuvre à connaitre de toute urgence – au même titre que le reste de l’oeuvre du compositeur, d’ailleurs.
Classica Repertoire, Timothée Picard, April 2007

**** Conductor Daniel Reuss and the Berlin radio chamber choir previously released an HM disc of Stravinsky's "Les Noces," and this two-disc set of "Le Vin Herbé" boasts the same primary virtue: an intense beauty of sound. This richness is ideal for Martin's sound palette, all wine red and bronze. The soloists excel at conveying passion as pain, especially radiant French soprano Sandrine Piau.
The Star-Legder (New Jersey), Bradley Bambarger, July 2007

Daniel Reuss and his performers treat this work of remarkable understatement as if it is infinitely treasurable.
Irish Times, Michael Dervan, June 29, 2007

Die Aufnahme mit Sandrine Piau, Steve Davislim, Jutta Böhnert, dem Rias Kammerchor und dem Scharoun-Ensemble unter Daniel Reuss ist von absoluter Makellosigkeit in der musikalischen Ausführung und einer bestechenden Stilsicherheit. Sensationell!
Wiener Zeitung, Edwin Baumgartner, April 2007

Gramophone, Editor’s Choice of July 2007
The Tristan story as you've never heard it before; a deeply moving experience. Driven along with a powerful sense of urgency by Reuss, this is an intense and deeply moving performance which, complete with lavish packaging and superlative recorded sound, brings to the catalogue something which it has never had before; a really first-rate and compelling performance of this most important of Martin scores.
Gramophone, July 2007, Marc Rochester

The RIAS-Kammerchor and Scharoun Ensemble, conducted by Daniel Reuss, give the piece a luminous performance. The choral sound is radiant and beautifully blended, and the soloists - Sandrine Piau, Steve Davislim, and Jutta Böhnert - sing with sweet, pure, unaffected tone. Harmonia Mundi's sound is clean, lively, and atmospheric. This recording reveals Le vin herbé as the masterpiece it is, and ought to bring it the broader public attention it deserves.
Stephen Eddins, All Music Guide, May 2007

Daniel Reuss has shown his sympathies with the Swiss master an earlier disc of the Mass and the Ariel Songs from The Tempest. His singers and instrumentalists show themselves completely attuned to this exalted score and sensitive to its luminous textures and powerful sense of mystery. The choir has perfect intonation and tonal blend. Expertly balanced recording too. In all, a wonderful issue.
performance: *****
sound: *****
BBC Music Magazin, Robert Layton, May 2007

Reuss, recognising the work’s ritualistic nature, allows it to unfold unhurriedly, and both the Rias Kammerchor and the Scharoun Ensemble relish Martin’s impeccably crafted, emotionally subtle challenge.
Times Online, May 2007

This Berlin-based recording is simply stupendous, with Sandrine Piau and Steve Davislim lyrically charged as the doomed lovers, the unrivalled RIAS Chamber Choir suitably detached in its narration and the splendid Scharoun Ensemble - members of the Berlin Philharmonic - projecting every detail of Martin's resourceful instrumentation. The beautifully nuanced recorded sound caps an essential release for anyone interested in the forgotten byways of mid-20th-century music.
Telegraph, Matthew Rye, May 2007

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