Notes and Editorial Reviews
Do not let an hour long, unaccompanied microtonal Mass for the Dead scare you; there is nothing to fear here--quite the opposite. Philadelphia-based composer Toby Twining offers a moving, muti-dimensional piece, a sort of Rachmaninoff's Vespers for the new millennium, one that may well help to re-define choral writing from here on out. Though scored using "just intonation," meaning that to his ear there are many more than twelve tones per octave, his sense of harmony is deeply rooted in history. Because he is still in touch with his tradition, the piece is not only listenable (much microtonal music is not), but also powerful, evocative and downright pretty.
This is truly a Requiem for liturgical use, though I
would not look for it at your local Sunday service--few church choirs are up to this sort of challenge. Each movement has its own drama, from the long, slow build of the "Requiem æternam" (featuring some truly inspired vocal writing) to the menacing creep of the "Lux æterna." He is unafraid of faster passages, as in the "Agnus Dei," never simply resting on the laurels of a gorgeous choral sound--the piece has an ebb and flow to it, making it a worthwhile start-to-finish listen. If some sections verge on overlong, as in the final antiphon, it's a forgivable fault in an otherwise compelling work.
Not only is Twining's group up to this fierce challenge, but they make it sound easy. From the opening chant-like intonation there isn't an out of tune moment, no easy trick for this type of fare. The sound impresses as wonderfully round without being cavernous. Once again, thanks to the fearless Cataloupe label for daring to go where many would not.
--Daniel Felsenfeld, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Chrysalid Requiem by Toby Twining
Toby Twining Music
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1999; USA
Date of Recording: 2001
Venue: Dumbo Studio, New York City
Length: 62 Minutes 55 Secs.
Notes: This selection was also recorded in part at Pogo Studio, Champaign, Illinois.
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