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Sound In Spirit / Chanticleer


Release Date: 09/13/2005 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 61941   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Jan GilbertNectarie VlahulJoseph JenningsCarlos Rafael Rivera,   ... 
Performer:  Ian HowellBen JohnsDylan HostetterJoseph Jennings,   ... 
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 20 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Some time ago I remarked to an attorney friend that if I had four or five incarnations to work with, I’d probably be a lawyer in one of them. Another of those incarnations—God and other relevant powers willing—would be spent singing countertenor with Chanticleer.



This release is the 28th recording issued by the 12-member, San Francisco-based “Orchestra of Voices” since its founding in 1978; but it marks a significant milestone for the ensemble in numerous respects. As producer Steve Barnett notes, it is “the first Chanticleer recording totally conceived for recording and remixing in a studio environment . . . the first . . . to be conceived as a total experience—ideally it Read more should be listened to from beginning to end without pause—thus there is no silence or space between tracks . . . the first to add outdoor ambient sounds [and] the first to incorporate ‘overtone’ singing . . .”. Its chronological range runs the gamut from medieval plainchant to one work (Joseph Jennings’s Night Spirit Song ) literally conceived and executed during the spring 2005 recording sessions; but with a heavy tilt toward living composers—six of the 10 represented. Its range of stylistic traditions encompasses Native American, Byzantine, Tibetan Buddhist, and Japanese influences, among others; and the Chanticleer “orchestra” is variously augmented by birdcalls, rainsticks, a Tibetan singing bowl, and a battery of percussion that comes close to rivaling that of a conventional symphony orchestra, in quantity if not in volume.


The results—and I choose this adjective advisedly—are enchanting. I emphatically second producer Barnett’s recommendation to listen to the entire recording as a whole—and turning off your cell phone is no less of the essence here than at a live Chanticleer concert. The one more-or-less standard-repertoire item on the program, Victoria’s O sacrum convivium , gets a robust rendition that won’t allow you to mistake these 12 adult voices for an English men-and-boys’ choir, but perfectly gorgeous for all that. To observe that this ensemble’s blend, diction, and intonation are unfailingly right-on is, at this point in time, somewhat akin to observing that the Pope is Catholic; but these virtues assume added importance in interpreting this repertoire, which variously features effects such as non-diatonic approximate pitches, microtonal glissandos, and near-unison and near-octave intervals specifically calculated to produce “beats” by the interaction of overtones. I can’t think of any other ensemble on the planet with the technical expertise to bring off a program of this nature so capably; so I’m doubly glad that Chanticleer have seen fit here to stretch themselves to results that far transcend the realm of virtuoso wizardry to produce an experience of unique and genuine aesthetic and spiritual satisfaction.


Occasionally, I find it appropriate to remind friends and readers that I am a recovering musicologist rather than a practicing one; but even the most dedicated of practitioners could hardly hope to become “expert” in more than a tiny fraction of the repertoire included in this program. I mention this by way of reinforcing that I speak not ex cathedra but ex armchair in noting that, to my ear, the insistent drone basses of Sarah Hopkins’s Past Life Melodies caused the piece to wear out its welcome; possibly it might have been helped by less aggressive dynamics or slightly quicker pacing. But this is on the order of caviling about a flea on one eyelash of the Mona Lisa ; no second Leonardo is likely to produce an equally masterful “Mona Kimberly” anytime soon, nor is any other vocal group likely to attempt anything remotely resembling this program. It’s not to be missed.


FANFARE: James Carson
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Works on This Recording

1.
NightChants: Incantation by Jan Gilbert
Performer:  Ian Howell (Thunderstick), Ian Howell (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 2005; USA 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 5 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Notes: Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 
2.
Axion estin os alethos makarizein by Nectarie Vlahul
Performer:  Ben Johns (Bass Baritone), Dylan Hostetter (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 5 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: Greek 
Notes: Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 
3.
Sound in Spirit by Joseph Jennings
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 2005; USA 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 1 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 
4.
Motet for 12 Singers by Carlos Rafael Rivera
Performer:  Joseph Jennings (Prayer Bowl)
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 5 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Notes: Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 
5.
Mass for the Blessed Virgin Mary: Beata viscera Mariae Virginis by Anonymous
Performer:  Mark [bass baritone] Sullivan (Bass Baritone), Dylan Hostetter (Countertenor), Ben Johns (Bass Baritone),
Clifton Massey (Countertenor), Eric S. Brenner (Countertenor), Timothy Maguire (Countertenor),
Joseph Jennings (Voice)
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: Medieval 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 8 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: The bird calls on this work are performed by Ben Johns.
Arranger: Joseph Jennings.
Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 
6.
O sacrum convivium by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1572 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 4 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 
7.
Cantigas de Santa María: no 391, Como pod' a groriosa by Alfons X (El Sabio)
Performer:  Timothy Maguire (Tambourine), Ian Howell (Dumbek), Michael Lichtenauer (Tenor),
Fraser L. Walters (Tenor), Jesse Antin (Finger Cymbals)
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: Medieval 
Written: 13th Century; Spain 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 9 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: Portuguese 
Notes: Arranger: Joseph Jennings.
Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 
8.
Night Spirit Song by Joseph Jennings
Performer:  John Bischoff (Percussion), Eric Alatorre (Percussion), Dylan Hostetter (Percussion),
Clifton Massey (Percussion), Ben Johns (Drum), Steve Barnett (Drum),
Jesse Antin (Drum), Joseph Jennings (Percussion), Justin Montigne (Percussion)
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2005; USA 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Notes: Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 
9.
NightChants: NightChant by Jan Gilbert
Performer:  Ian Howell (Shaker), Matthew Oltman (Tenor)
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 2005; USA 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 4 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: Navaho 
Notes: Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 
10.
In Winter's Keeping by Jackson Hill
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2001 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 8 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: Japanese 
Notes: Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 
11.
Canti sacri (3): no 3, Gloria in excelsis Deo by Giacinto Scelsi
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; Italy 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 4 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Language: Japanese 
Notes: Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 
12.
Past Life Melodies by Sarah Hopkins
Performer:  Steve Barnett (Rainsticks), Joseph Jennings (Rainsticks)
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Australia 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 9 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Notes: Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 
13.
Cor meum est templum sacrum by Patricia Van Ness
Performer:  Clifton Massey (Countertenor), Timothy Maguire (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2000; USA 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 3 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: The bird calls on this work are performed by Ben Johns.
Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 
14.
NightChants: Grace to You by Jan Gilbert
Performer:  Jesse Antin (Countertenor), Joseph Jennings (Prayer Bowl), Mark [bass baritone] Sullivan (Bass Baritone),
Eric S. Brenner (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Joseph Jennings
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 2005; USA 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 5 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: Greek 
Notes: The bird calls on this work are performed by Ben Johns.
Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (03/29/2005 - 04/02/2005) 

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