WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

American Classics - American Choral Music


Release Date: 11/21/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559299   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Vincent PersichettiCharles IvesJohn CoriglianoLukas Foss,   ... 
Performer:  Seung Won ChoSusanne Mentzer
Conductor:  James Morrow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Texas Chamber SingersUniversity of Texas Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Even 40 or so years after it was written, Charles Ives' Psalm 90 still seemed radically, ingeniously cool to a certain familiar bunch of '60s-era college choir singers--and it still maintains the aura of its composer's special, inimitable musical sensibility that defies placement in any age or style. The University of Texas Chamber Singers, a first-rate choral ensemble with an impressive resumé that includes world-premieres and prestigious appearances both here and internationally, sings this and the rest of the program with the confidence, technique, and straightforward stylistic awareness required to show the distinct character and particularly engaging musical aspects of each work.

Some of these pieces remain more
Read more appealing today than others: John Corigliano's Fern Hill, for example, a masterful choral conceptualization of Dylan Thomas' poem that in style and mood recalls what Samuel Barber did with solo voice in his Knoxville: Summer of 1915, wears its nearly 50 years far better than Persichetti's Flower Songs do their 25. The reason: Corigliano's wedding of music and poetry seems to be the result of poetry informing musical style, while Persichetti's e.e. cummings settings are more about music than text. And although the music is certainly expertly crafted and beautifully scored (there are many very nice choral moments), the angular melodies and often ambiguous harmonic context eventually tires the ear and sets your attention adrift. Both the Foss and Copland works are very much of their time--the Foss typically frothy and overwrought, the Copland skillfully constructed but quaint in its harmonic/melodic ideas and structural technique.

Nevertheless, these are all excellent examples of these composers' choral writing, showing both the diversity and similarity of styles (particularly regarding rhythm and harmony) in the way they set poetic English texts. And thanks to James Morrow and his fine choir, we get to hear them performed to an exceptionally high standard. There are times when I wished for clearer diction (especially since, most unfortunately, no texts are provided!), slightly more precise word or phrase endings, and more consistent balances between orchestra and voices. But this really is very good singing and playing of works we rarely hear these days--a welcome and highly recommended collection!

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Flower Songs (Canticle no. 6) for chorus and strings, Op. 157 by Vincent Persichetti
Conductor:  James Morrow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Texas Chamber Singers,  University of Texas Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983; USA 
Venue:  Bates Hall, University of Texas, Austin 
Length: 19 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Bates Hall, University of Texas, Austin (01/21/2006 - 01/22/2006) 
2.
Psalm 90 "Lord, thou hast been" by Charles Ives
Performer:  Seung Won Cho (Organ)
Conductor:  James Morrow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Texas Chamber Singers,  University of Texas Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894-1924; USA 
Venue:  Bates Hall, University of Texas, Austin 
Length: 11 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Bates Hall, University of Texas, Austin (01/21/2006 - 01/22/2006) 
3.
Fern Hill by John Corigliano
Performer:  Susanne Mentzer (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  James Morrow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Texas Chamber Singers,  University of Texas Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; USA 
Venue:  Bates Hall, University of Texas, Austin 
Length: 15 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Bates Hall, University of Texas, Austin (01/21/2006 - 01/22/2006) 
4.
Behold, I build an house by Lukas Foss
Performer:  Seung Won Cho (Organ)
Conductor:  James Morrow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Texas Chamber Singers,  University of Texas Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Bates Hall, University of Texas, Austin 
Length: 10 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Bates Hall, University of Texas, Austin (01/21/2006 - 01/22/2006) 
5.
In the Beginning by Aaron Copland
Performer:  Susanne Mentzer (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  James Morrow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Texas Chamber Singers,  University of Texas Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
Venue:  Bates Hall, University of Texas, Austin 
Length: 16 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Bates Hall, University of Texas, Austin (01/21/2006 - 01/22/2006) 

Sound Samples

Flower Songs, Op. 157: No. 1. Flowers of Stone
Flower Songs, Op. 157: No. 2. Spouting Violets
Flower Songs, Op. 157: No. 3. Early Flowers
Flower Songs, Op. 157: No. 4. Is there a Flower
Flower Songs, Op. 157: No. 5. Yellow Flower
Flower Songs, Op. 157: No. 6. The Rose is Dying
Flower Songs, Op. 157: No. 7. Lilly has a Rose
Psalm 90, "Lord, thou has been our dwelling place": Psalm 90
A Dylan Thomas Trilogy: Part I: Fern Hill
Behold I build a house: Behold I build an house
In the Beginning

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In