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Zemlinsky Complete Choral Works Gurzenich-Orchester Kolner Philharmoniker, James Conlon (EMI)

Conlon's latest Zemlinsky recording should be snapped up by anyone interested in how the European choral tradition developed in the early part of this century. Most of the works are early and Brahmsian, but it is the triumvirate of psalm settings which best demonstrates this composer's range and power. Both orchestra and chorus give winning, committed performances. HHHH

Acantus Acantus (Gimell)

While the dukes and bishops of medieval Italy listened to the "intellectual" church music handed down to us in countless manuscripts, the ordinary people had a vibrant and stylistically diverse sacred music of their own which went largely undocumented. Acantus bring this tradition vividly to life with singing and playing of the first order, coming as close as can be imagined to finding the authentic voice of "the people's religion". HHHHH