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Vocalessence Witness - What A Mighty God / Brunelle, Et Al


Release Date: 02/10/2004 
Label:  Clarion   Catalog #: 904   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Jack HalloranTraditionalSimeon Butler MarshAdolphus Hailstork
Performer:  Yolanda WilliamsJames BohnSanford MooreBrian Link,   ... 
Conductor:  Sigrid JohnsonPhilip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence EnsembleMoore by FourPlymouth Music Series Ensemble Singers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In terms of content, this welcome reissue of the first volume in now-defunct Collins Classics "Witness" series will be very familiar to those who acquired the disc when it was first released in 1995. For the series' reincarnation, however, Clarion has recast each disc with eye-catching cover graphics and new titles. Even the name of the perfoming group is new: the former Plymouth Music Series is now known as VocalEssence. The program of spirituals and gospel pieces is identical (as are Dominique-René de Lerma's liner notes), so if you have the earlier Collins release, you won't find anything new here (except the absence of texts, which Collins included).


Most importantly, however, the performances are
Read more first rate renditions of classic spiritual arrangements by Burleigh (My Lord, What a Mornin') and Hairston (In Dat Great Gittin' Up Mornin') along with fresh, modern settings of revered songs such as Were You There?, Elijah Rock (and Moses Hogan's arrangement really does!), Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, and Go, Tell It on the Mountain. Original works include Adolphus Hailstork's dynamic and emotionally powerful Crucifixion and Jack Halloran's Witness.


My only complaint is that the inclusion of gospel pieces performed by jazz ensemble Moore By Four creates a kind of schizophrenic program. While certainly expertly done, these selections, which include piano, electric bass, and drums and involve passages of sometimes extended vocal improvisation, are contextually at odds with the more formal, concert-oriented choral pieces (many of them a cappella) that make up the majority of the disc. Further, the pop-studio ambience of the jazz-ensemble tracks versus the concert-hall acoustic of the choral performances is disorienting if you listen to the disc straight through. Nevertheless, I'm sure many listeners will not be bothered at all by this--and no one should allow these programming decisions to prevent hearing this important and uniformly uplifting music.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Witness by Jack Halloran
Conductor:  Sigrid Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986 
Language: English 
2.
Hush! Somebody's callin' my name by Traditional
Performer:  Yolanda Williams (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble
Written: USA 
Notes: Arranger: Brazeal W. Dennard. 
3.
Death is gonna lay his cold icy hands on me by Traditional
Performer:  James Bohn (Baritone), Sanford Moore (Piano)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble
Written: USA 
Notes: Arranger: Andre J. Thomas. 
4.
Walk together by Traditional
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble
Written: USA 
Notes: Arranger: William Henry Smith. 
5.
Were you there? by Traditional
Performer:  Brian Link (Tenor)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble
Written: USA 
Notes: Arranger: Robert Scholz. 
6.
Elijah Rock by Traditional
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble
Written: USA 
Notes: Arranger: Moses Hogan. 
7.
This Train by Traditional
Performer:  Sanford Moore (Piano), Jay Young (Double Bass), Robert Commodore (Drums)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moore by Four,  VocalEssence Ensemble
Written: USA 
Notes: Arranger: Sanford Moore. 
8.
Jesus, lover of my soul by Simeon Butler Marsh
Performer:  Philip Brunelle (Piano)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moore by Four,  VocalEssence Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834; USA 
Notes: Arranger: Richard Smallwood. 
9.
My Lord, what a morning by Traditional
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble
Written: USA 
Notes: Arranger: Henry Thacker Burleigh. 
10.
Go down, Moses by Traditional
Performer:  Yolanda Williams (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble
Notes: Arranger: Robert Harris. 
11.
In that great getting up morning by Traditional
Performer:  Yolanda Williams (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble
Written: USA 
Notes: Arranger: Jester Hairston. 
12.
Crucifixion by Adolphus Hailstork
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1973; USA 
13.
Swing low, sweet chariot by Traditional
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble
Notes: Arranger: Dale Adelmann. 
14.
Go tell it on the mountain by Traditional
Performer:  Robert Commodore (Drums), Sanford Moore (Piano), Jay Young (Double Bass)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Plymouth Music Series Ensemble Singers,  Moore by Four
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Notes: Arranger: Sanford Moore. 
15.
What a mighty God by Traditional
Performer:  Sanford Moore (Piano), Gordon Johnson (Double Bass), Joe Pulice (Drums)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Plymouth Music Series Ensemble Singers,  Moore by Four
Written: USA 
Notes: Arranger: Michael Abels. 
16.
Children, go where I send thee by Traditional
Performer:  Michael Jorgensen (Baritone), Charles Kemper (Piano)
Conductor:  Philip Brunelle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  VocalEssence Ensemble
Notes: Arranger: Andre J. Thomas. 

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