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Gloriae Dei Cantores - The Lord Is My Shepherd


Release Date: 09/30/2003 
Label:  Gloriae Dei Cantores   Catalog #: 3371   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Charles IvesConrad SusaNed RoremAlan Hovhaness,   ... 
Performer:  Stephen VeliePhilip MacNeilRosemary IngwersenSandra Pugsley,   ... 
Conductor:  Elizabeth C. Patterson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Cantores
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Gloriae Dei Cantores is one of North America's finest non-professional choirs, an example of how a first-rate conductor and top-tier singers with "day jobs" can join to produce performances that rival those of some of the world's best ensembles. This recent production is Vol. 3 in a series the label calls "American Psalmody", and it features psalm-settings (and a couple from Proverbs) by some of the more illustrious names in American choral music--Hovhaness, Rorem, and Pinkham--in addition to composers less readily associated with the genre--Robert Starer, Samuel Adler, Conrad Susa, Charles Ives, and even a French eminence, Darius Milhaud, who spent many post-World War II years living and teaching in the United Read more States.


Not surprisingly, the music is quite varied--and uniformly excellent. It's all firmly within the tonal camp, much of it with a decided Britten influence, both in its attention to natural rhythms and inflections of English as well as in the appealing mixture of disjunct melodies and acerbic harmony side-by-side with strikingly conventional structures and colors. Susa's The God of Love my Shepherd Is makes a stunning opener, and the choir shows its impressive mettle--including some very nice octave singing and a superb soprano sound--right from the beginning. The weird and wonderful Ives Psalm 100 provides its own challenges--again handily managed by the choir--and from there we're led on a continuously rewarding journey through rarely heard repertoire, all of which deserves wider attention.


Hovhaness' appropriately short (two minutes) Make Haste is a gem, and Robert Starer's Proverbs for a Son, a multi-layered 16-minute-long work that employs oboe, bass, and guitar, is a masterpiece that fully exploits its text and demands superior ensemble skills from the choir. Likewise Milhaud's concluding section of his Cantata from Proverbs, "A Woman of Valour", which calls for oboe, cello, and harp, and whose craggy harmonies and thorny melodic writing requires world-class singers. The loud, extremely emotive beginning to Philip James' By the Waters of Babylon seems overwrought next to these other works, and indeed this piece will appeal most to listeners who love those late-19th/early-20th century British choral/organ extravaganzas. But even this cannot compete with the program's finale, Bruce Neswick's I will set His Dominion in the Sea, a six-minute tour de force for organ, choir, and two sopranos.


Overall, the singing and instrumental work here is exceptionally fine. This is a very well-trained and rehearsed choir that understands the importance of clarity of articulation, appreciates the meaning of a complete bass-to-treble ensemble balance--and knows how to perfectly execute these techniques. The program is a sheer delight from beginning to end. The only drawback is the sound. The space--The Church of the Transfiguration in Orleans, MA--is simply too resonant, too reverberant to capture and properly convey the textural detail of the music--nor does it enable us to fully appreciate the essential, realistic quality of the Gloriae Dei Cantores ensemble. Although special mention is made in the liner notes regarding the venue and its significance--and there's no doubt that this church is a unique and beautiful space (with an especially terrific organ)--it's just not ideal for this kind of music or for the particular demands of a choral recording. Nevertheless, it's one of those sonic situations that the ear soon adjusts to, and fortunately doesn't in any way diminish the value of this program or of the ultimate enjoyment choral music fans will derive from it.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Psalm 100 "Make a joyful noise" by Charles Ives
Performer:  Stephen Velie (Chimes), Philip MacNeil (Chimes)
Conductor:  Elizabeth C. Patterson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Cantores
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1902; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 8 Secs. 
2.
The God of Love my Shepard Is by Conrad Susa
Conductor:  Elizabeth C. Patterson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Cantores
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 13 Secs. 
3.
Psalms (2) and a Proverb by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Rosemary Ingwersen (Double Bass), Sandra Pugsley (Cello), Linda Houle (Viola),
Joan Jackson (Violin), Timothy McKendree (Violin)
Conductor:  Elizabeth C. Patterson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Cantores
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 8 Minutes 33 Secs. 
4.
Make Haste, Op. 86 by Alan Hovhaness
Conductor:  Elizabeth C. Patterson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Cantores
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 6 Secs. 
5.
The House of the Lord by Daniel Pinkham
Conductor:  Elizabeth C. Patterson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Cantores
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
6.
Proverbs for a Son by Robert Starer
Performer:  Fred Fried (Guitar), Sioban Kelleher (Double Bass), Emily Ingwersen (Oboe)
Conductor:  Elizabeth C. Patterson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Cantores
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 16 Minutes 5 Secs. 
7.
Psalm 23 by Samuel Adler
Performer:  Nathanael Reese (Tenor)
Conductor:  Elizabeth C. Patterson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Cantores
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
8.
Cantate des proverbes, Op. 310 by Darius Milhaud
Performer:  Emily Lewis (Harp), Sandra Pugsley (Cello), Emily Ingwersen (Oboe)
Conductor:  Elizabeth C. Patterson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Cantores
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950 
Length: 12 Minutes 53 Secs. 
9.
By the Waters of Babylon by Philip James
Conductor:  Elizabeth C. Patterson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Cantores
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 43 Secs. 
10.
I will set his dominion in the sea by Bruce Neswick
Performer:  Chris Helfrich (Soprano), Amanda Dawn Ortolani (Soprano)
Conductor:  Elizabeth C. Patterson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Cantores
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 6 Minutes 7 Secs. 

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