> Where Morning Goes - Spiritual Songs [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- June2002 MusicWeb(UK)






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WHERE MORNING GOES - SPIRITUAL SONGS
Ricky Ian GORDON (b. 1956) Angel's Wings; White Haired Woman; Will There Really Be a Morning?; God's World; Air; Stars and Luck (from Only Heaven)
Charles IVES (1874-1954) Down East; Serenity
TRAD Negro Spiritual: When I Lay my Burden Down; Fix Me Jesus; Hold On; Deep River; Good News.
TRAD arr COPLAND: Simple Gifts; At the River.
Samuel BARBER (1910-81) Sure on this Shining Night; St Ita's Vision
Ned ROREM (b. 1923) Alleluia
John CARTER (1937-?1989) Cantata
Clare Gormley (soprano)
Kevin Murphy (piano)
rec 11-16 Aug 2000, Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Centre, Ultimo, Sydney
ABC CLASSICS 461 766-2 [68.25]
A lovely collection, varied and moving.

The highlights are many. I single out Gordon's Stars with its delicious melisma and pristine quality. Gordon has quite a facility with melody perhaps influenced by Sonheim. Then there is Barber's lovely Sure on this Shining Night and the mood-related Serenity by Ives. The Australians are good at Barber. I recall a quite wonderful Knoxville by Molly McGurk on a Unicorn LP (long disappeared - never to resurface?). Perhaps Schirmers will send Gormley an appraisal copy of the Knoxville score. Another work in which she would excel is Arthur Bliss's Seven American Poems.

Rorem's Alleluia has the roughened vitality of William Mathias's choral writing even of Walton's Belshazzar. Reflective songs are counter-balanced by the vigorous such as the Toccata (around Ride on King Jesus) and the clipped and toe-tapping Fix me Jesus and Hold on (the latter two being brilliant Michael Ching arrangements). Failures are few - I didn't like the glutinous pace at which At the River and Deep River is taken.

There is a real liveliness in this well recorded collection and I am sure that this springs from Gormley's enthusiasm for the genre and her sensitive partnership with Kevin Murphy. It is a credit to her that she has sought out the less obvious as well as the more predictable.

How much better it would have been however if Gormley could tone down the vibrato. She does this very well in the quieter passages of the Carter cantata. Not that it is extreme but that stagey quality in the voice can jar with the clean affecting simplicity of the spiritual.

Credit to the production team for having such good judgement over the order of the songs. The disc works well at a single play-through.

Full notes and sung texts provided. English only. Well presented. One of the best collections of its type.

Rob Barnett


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