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Sacred - Inspirational and Spiritual Music for Choir and Orchestra
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Robert Shaw
John Aler (tenor)
rec. Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, November 1984
TELARC CD-80671 [69:16]

Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1986)
1. Ubi caritas from Four Gregorian Motets, Op. 10 (1960) [2:22]
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus/Norman Mackenzie
rec. Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, Georgia, USA June 2005
2. Lux aeterna from Messe de Requiem, Op. 9 (1947) [3:58]
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Robert Shaw
rec. Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, November 1986
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
3. Sanctus from Requiem, Op. 48 (1887, rev.1899) [3:30]
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Robert Shaw
William Preucil (violin)
rec. Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, November 1986
Morten LAURIDSEN (b. 1943)
4. O magnum mysterium (1997) [6:19]
Robert Shaw Singers/Robert Shaw
rec. Woodruff Arts Center, Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, June 1997
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
5. Ave verum corpus, Motet, K. 618 (1791) [2:55]
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Robert Shaw
rec. Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, May 1985
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
6. Kyrie from Mass No. 2 in G major, D.167 (1815) [3:41]
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Robert Shaw
Dawn Upshaw (soprano)
rec. Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, December 1988
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
7. How lovely is thy dwelling place from A German Requiem, Op. 45 (1868) [5:45]
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Robert Shaw
rec. Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, November 1983
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-47)
8. Lift Thine Eyes to the Mountains from oratorio Elijah, Op.70 (1846) [1:53]
9. He Watching over Israel from oratorio Elijah,Op.70 (1846) [3:53]
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Robert Shaw
rec. Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, May 1985
Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937)
10. Make me to weep lovingly with you from Stabat Mater (1925-26) [3:10]
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Robert Shaw
Christine Goerke (soprano)
Marietta Simpson (mezzo-soprano)
rec. Woodruff Arts Center, Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, November 1983
TRADITIONAL
11. Take Time to Be Holy [3.37]
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square/Craig Jessop
rec. Mormon Tabernacle, Salt lake City, Utah, USA, February 2001
Harrison MILLARD (1830-1895)
12. Abide with Me; ’Tis Eventide [7:02]
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square/Craig Jessop
rec. Mormon Tabernacle, Salt lake City, Utah, USA, February 2001
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
13. Rejoice, O Virgin from Vespers (All-Night Vigil) Op. 37 (1915) [3:10]
Robert Shaw Singers Festival/Robert Shaw
rec. Church of St. Pierre, Gramat, France, July 1989
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
14. Pie Jesu from Requiem (1887, rev.1899) [3:42]
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Robert Shaw
Judith Blegen (soprano)
rec. Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, November 1986
TRADITIONAL
15. Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (excerpt) [2:12]
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square/Craig Jessop
rec. Mormon Tabernacle, Salt lake City, Utah, USA, February 2001
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
16. Sanctus from Requiem, Op. 5 (1837) [11:57]


"In Robert Shaw I have at last found the maestro I have been looking for." Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957)

The Telarc label has delved into its cavernous vault of treasured recordings by the late choral conductor Robert Shaw to re-issue extracts of acclaimed sacred music discs. In other words this release is a ‘sampler’ to which the Telarc marketing department have given a suitably reverential and atmospheric title.

Sacred brings together sacred choral works, principally from the Classical and Romantic eras, conducted by Shaw primarily with his renowned Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. The issue also includes three works from the celebrated Mormon Tabernacle Choir under the baton of Craig Jessop all taken from their recording: The Sound of Glory. Both choral groups have achieved considerable success and have been the recipients of numerous Grammy Awards.

The eminent American conductor Robert Shaw (1916-99) had a long career, which spanned six decades and four cities. He was a major influence in transforming choral conducting into an art form. For more than half a century he was principally responsible for setting the standard of excellence for choral music. He enjoyed the status of patriarch of vocal music interpretation in America.

There are sixteen well chosen extracts on this release and these include in the main some of the best known and most inspiring sacred works in the choral repertoire. Three or four are lesser known scores such as: Harrison Millard’s Abide with Me; ’Tis Eventide and O magnum mysterium from contemporary composer Morton Lauridsen.

As one has come to expect with recordings from these artists the chosen extracts demonstrate their trademark characteristics of impeccable ensemble and appealing timbre. Shaw’s interpretations consistently provide refinement and subtle beauty as well as intensity and inspiring power. Crucially, Shaw’s readings never lose sight of that essential ingredient of ecclesiastical reverence.

The high spots are the brilliant and vigorous Kyrie from Schubert’s Mass in G minor with Dawn Upshaw; the much loved How lovely is thy dwelling place from Brahms’s A German Requiem; Mozart’s uncomplicated and serenely noble Motet: Ave verum corpus and the haunting Pie Jesu from Fauré’s Requiem. Those wanting something lesser known are catered for and I would suggest Rejoice, O Virgin from Rachmaninov’s outstanding Vespers (All-Night Vigil). Strangely there is nothing included from Shaw’s much-admired 1990 Telarc recording of the great Verdi Requiem.

Beautifully recorded and performed this is more than a mere Telarc sampler. Shaw conducts some remarkable choral singing on this aptly named release.

Michael Cookson

 



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