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High Flight Bob CHILCOTT(b. 1955) Oculi Omnium [2:23] Even such is time (1993) [11:02] High Flight (2008)* [5:48] A Thanksgiving (2008)* [3:32] Morten LAURIDSEN(b. 1943) O Nata Lux (1997) [4:12] O Magnum Mysterium (1994)** [6:33] Eric WHITACRE(b. 1970) Lux Aurumque (2000) [3:42] Cloudburst (1992)** [7:48] This Marriage (2004) [2:45] Alone (2011) [3:32] The Stolen Child* (2007) [8:50]
The King’s Singers; The Concordia Choir/René Clausen
rec. St. Mary’s Church, Harrow, UK, 13-17 May 2011; St. Joseph’s
Church, Moorhead, MN, USA, 10 May 2010*, 2003** DDD
Texts and English translations included
SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD262 [60:10]
I must confess I have had this CD to review for quite some
time and have found it difficult to make up my mind about it.
John Quinn reviewed it earlier for this website and so I also
refer you to his more detailed review.
Certainly the performances are all one would expect of the King’s
Singers, and the Concordia Choir provides a nice contrast. I
would suggest, however, that you should not listen to the whole
CD all the way through, as there is a certain sameness in the
music. Everything is basically tonal, with all three composers
using close harmony in their works. As one would expect, Bob
Chilcott writes idiomatically for the King’s Singers,
having been a longtime member of that group (1985-97). I find
his compositions here generally the most attractive, from the
simple, but beautiful Oculi Omnium - whose composition
date is not listed anywhere as far as I could tell - to the
more complex and rhythmically interesting Even such is time
and High Flight, The latter was composed for the King’s
Singers and SATB choir. The Concordia Choir, one of the best
known of U.S. college choirs, has a wonderful blend of voices
and their diction is also exemplary for a large choral group.
They do full justice to Lauridsen’s most popular piece,
O MagnumMysterium, even if it really didn’t
need another recording.
Three of the works on this CD are world premiere recordings:
Whitacre’s Alone, composed for the King’s
Singers as a prelude to The Stolen Child, and Chilcott’s
A Thanksgiving as well as High Flight. Eric Whitacre
has quickly become one of America’s most popular choral
composers and this disc gives a good sampling of his choral
output. Lux Aurumque is undoubtedly his best known work
and justifiably so in its deceptively simple chording and close
harmony. However, The Stolen Child, written for the King’s
Singers and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, is a
more complex work and leaves a deeper impression. The earliest
of his works here, Cloudburst, on the other hand, sounds
rather hokey with all its sound effects. The disc concludes
with Chilcott’s A Thanksgiving and well demonstrates
with its wonderful blend of voices the rapport the King’s
Singers and Concordia Choir obviously had in making this recording.
The music here is rather typical of what’s being composed
these days for college and for the more accomplished church
choirs. It is harmonically conservative, yet maintains enough
interest for singers even if it is best taken in small doses
by the listener.
The CD contains a rather thick booklet, which along with the
texts, has comments by each of the composers and photographs
of the performers. I should point out one editorial error that
could irritate Minnesotans: the production details list the
recording location as in Moorhead, MS (which stands for Mississippi)
rather than MN (Minnesota)!
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