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“It’s an exhilarating, unworked sound (not for them the enthusiastic sound-production of a Voces8) and leaves you marvelling at the singers’ technical control and precise blend”.
Alexandra Coghlan, Gramophone

“A breath of fresh air...I want to hear them live” 
Norman Lebrecht,

Album of the week: Slipped Disk

SOMM Recordings is delighted to announce Hush!, the second release by the “extraordinary voices” (BBC Radio 3) of female quintet Papagena following their internationally acclaimed, Amazon classical chart-topping debut, The Darkest Midnight (SOMMCD 0189).

Hush! unearths a treasure trove of songs largely neglected on disc to deliver a stunning follow-up to The Darkest Midnight. Where it hymned the cold, harsh glamour of sun-starved winter, Hush! – playful, poignant, poetic and primed with the expectation of joy – celebrates the warmth and light of love.

Typically for Papagena, Hush! is a centuries-spanning, genre-defying, culturally diverse recital marrying sacred and secular, ancient and modern, classical, traditional and even stadium rock. The result is an often gorgeous, always intelligent exploration of “hush” as a harbinger of consolation, of tranquil release and of mild admonition to pause, listen, feel and relish the quietly exultant glories of being alert and alive to the fleeting moment.

Papagena’s beautifully blended, pristine vocal signature illuminates ecstatic heights, anguished depths and love in all its multi-hued splendour with a becoming thread of wit and humour.

First recordings include The Woman’s ‘If’, Jim Clements’ knowing setting of Caitlin Moran’s wickedly arch re-imagining of Rudyard Kipling’s If from a modern female perspective, Papagena’s Suzzie Vango’s arrangement of American rock icons Guns N’Roses’ anthemic Sweet Child O’Mine and Geoffrey Weaver’s exquisite re-working of Tchaikovsky’s touching depiction of the Christ-child, Legend (The Crown of Roses). Traditional songs from English and Celtic sources are heard alongside pieces drawn from the profoundly moving religious heritage of Eastern Europe and Sephardic music.

Hailed by arts site The Prickle as “a young female Hilliard Ensemble”, Papagena’s The Darkest Midnight was judged “stimulating, varied and full of interest” by MusicWeb International, adding: “What sets the disc apart is the superb singing [of] an outstanding ensemble”.

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