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Welcome News: Choral Music of Carson Cooman

Cooman / Cambridge Consonance / Grossman
Release Date: 07/31/2012 
Label:  Gothic Records   Catalog #: 49280   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



COOMAN Ad majorem Dei gloriam. Set Me As a Seal. The Welcome News. That They May Rest. Surely It Is God Who Saves Me. O Lord, Increase My Faith. Love Came Down at Christmas. The Rose Tree Carol. Kings Are Sleeping. The Appleton Motets. Wherein Our Blessings Stand. O quam mirabilis. Bless the Lord, O My Soul. One Thing. Faith, Hope, Love. Hope and Love. Hope. Man Proposed, but God Disposes. Awake, My Heart. O Lord, I Will Sing of Your Love Forever Jeffrey Grossman, cond; Cambridge Consonance GOTHIC 49280 (65:46 Read more class="ARIAL12">Text and Translation)


Carson Cooman (b.1982) should be very familiar to Fanfare readers, as he is one of our critics, and I find his writings consistently lucid and informative. He is also arguably one of the most prolific composers living; the works on this collection cover seven years (2003-10), and go from opus numbers 503 to 897. You do the math.


As I have said before, perhaps the greatest miracle of Cooman’s art so far is that, despite this unremitting rate of production, each piece sounds quite fully formed and polished, doesn’t fall back on cliché, and strives for real expressive connection with the listener. His aesthetic is largely conservative, but depending on context, he can explore more modernist and progressive avenues. Cooman is both an organist and choir director in Boston/Cambridge, and the majority of these a cappella pieces were written as gifts for various friends, often on celebrations such as births and weddings, or as tributes. So most have an occasional feel, lovely offerings designed to bring warmth and pleasure to the recipients. They are resolutely tonal, always impeccable in their projection of text, and show a complete understanding of the rich balance between harmonic and contrapuntal elements.


A few recurrent personal traits color this music, even at its most “traditional.” I hear a substratum of neo-medievalism in some pieces, especially the opening Ad majorem Dei gloriam, in which I hear vestiges of organum. In The Welcome News (the title track of the disc), the more clearly visible source is American “Sacred Harp” singing (otherwise known as “shape note,” with roots going back to William Billings of Cooman’s Boston). This creates wonderful, bare harmonies that are tonal and yet unfamiliar (and links Cooman to contemporary composers such as William Duckworth and Neely Bruce).


Cooman also is able to focus in on one line of text or a single primal progression and spin out a development from it. When this happens, the results can be thrilling, such as the setting of the concluding line “a rose tree blossoms in deepest night” from The Rose Tree Carol , or the opening of One Thing. But the climax of the program comes at the end, with O Lord, I Will Sing of Your Love Forever , an anthem written in celebration of the 325th anniversary of King’s Chapel, Boston. Using a series of Biblical texts referring to kingship—of a religious nature—it is the longest work on the program, and the most ambitious. It has a recurrent Alleluia whose harmonic progression strikes me as very original, almost wrenching. Unquestionably this piece is the payoff that certifies Cooman’s ambition to make a deep statement, beyond fulfilling professional obligations.


Cambridge Concordance under Grossman sings with fervor, good diction, and excellent intonation. This will be of greatest interest to those committed to American choral music, and is yet another piece in the growing portrait of a composer who’s something of a force of nature.


FANFARE: Robert Carl
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Works on This Recording

1. Ad majorem Dei gloriam, Op. 878 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2010 
2. Set Me As a Seal, Op. 817 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2009 
3. The Welcome News, Op. 821 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2009 
4. That They May Rest, Op. 835 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2009 
5. Surely It Is God Who Saves Me, Op. 839 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2009 
6. O Lord, Increase My Faith, Op. 718 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2007 
7. Love Came Down at Christmas, Op. 847 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2009 
8. The Rose Tree Carol, Op. 880 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2010 
9. Kings Are Sleeping, Op. 869 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2010 
10. Appleton Motets, Op. 767: Peace I Leave With You by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2008 
11. Appleton Motets, Op. 767: The Lord Is My Light by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2008 
12. Appleton Motets, Op. 767: Watch Therefore by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2008 
13. Appleton Motets, Op. 767: Children of Light by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2008 
14. Wherein Our Blessings Stand, Op. 873 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2010 
15. O quam mirabilis, Op. 871 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2010 
16. Bless the Lord, O My Soul, Op. 875 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2010 
17. One Thing, Op. 893 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2010 
18. Faith, Hope, Love, Op. 503 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2003 
19. Hope and Love, Op. 881 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2010 
20. Hope, Op. 886 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2010 
21. Man Proposes, but God Disposes, Op. 782 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2008 
22. Awake, My Heart, Op. 885 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2010 
23. O Lord, I Will Sing of Your Love Forever, Op. 897 by Carson P. Cooman
Conductor:  Jeffrey Grossman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Consonance
Written: 2010 

Sound Samples

Ad majorem Dei gloriam
Set Me As a Seal, Op. 817
The Welcome News, Op. 821
That They May Rest, Op. 835
Surely It Is God Who Saves Me, Op. 839
O Lord, Increase My Faith, Op. 718
Love Came Down at Christmas, Op. 847
The Rose Tree Carol, Op. 880
Kings Are Sleeping, Op. 869
The Appleton Motets in Op. 767: I. Peace I Leave with You
The Appleton Motets in Op. 767: III. The Lord Is My Light
The Appleton Motets in Op. 767: IV. Watch Therefore
The Appleton Motets in Op. 767: V. Children of Light
Wherein Our Blessings Stand, Op. 873
O quam mirabilis, Op. 871
Bless the Lord, O My Soul, Op. 875
One Thing, Op. 893
Faith, Hope, Love, Op. 503
Hope and Love, Op. 881
Hope, Op. 886
Man Proposes, but God Disposes , Op. 782: Man Proposes, but God Disposes, Op. 782
Awake, My Heart, Op. 885
O Lord, I Will Sing of Your Love Forever, Op. 897

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