WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Smith: Vespers / Piffaro, The Crossing

Smith,Kile / Piffaro (Renaissance Band)
Release Date: 04/28/2009 
Label:  Navona   Catalog #: 5809  
Composer:  Kile Smith
Orchestra/Ensemble:  PiffaroThe Crossing
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The trend of writing new music for period instruments has passed through predictable stages of gimmickry and pseudo-Hegelian synthesis to finally be, simply, "music." Questions of genre and authenticity shoulnd't get in the way of our enjoying a spectacular work such as Kile Smith's Vespers, based on ancient Lutheran liturgical German and Latin texts Nor should they problematise the collaboration of the Renaissance band Piffaro, who commissioned the piece, and a contemporary vocal ensemble, The Crossing.

While Smith's knowledge of Lutheran practice informs the work, the hushed awe that floats in every movement of Vespers is wholly appropriate in the generic sense. The Philadelphian composer displays a tender love for
Read more the texts of his church and Martin Luther with settings that express even the Latin or German in sparkling beauty.

The Crossing intones the chant-like passages well, but its expertise shines in the shimmering timbre it creates for Smiths's contemporary counterpoint. The flowing setting of Psalm 27 is an early example, but the a cappella hymn "Herr Christ, der einig Gotts Sohn" calls on its clearest and precise singing as it moves from four to eight and then 16 voice parts.

Smith's decision essentially to background Piffaro was gutsy, but crucial to the success and balance of the piece. Its members play with sensitivity and grace, but often quietly and in clear accompaniment to the singers. That's the case even when sackbuts enter or when the band alternates with the choir, as in "Vater unser."

It may be authentic that a 16th-century Vespers would be arranged this way, but it fits Smith's soundscape so well that it also was surely foremost a compositional decision. The music is choral, even if Piffaro commissioned it, and Smith stuck to that. It takes conviction for a commissioned composer to listen to his inner voice above the feelings of obligation to those who foot the bill. The result is a quiet yet ecstatic work that offers a profoundly contemporary view of an ancient practice.

-- Andrew Druckenbrod, Gramophone [7/2009]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Vespers by Kile Smith
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro,  The Crossing
Period: 20th Century 

Sound Samples

Vespers: Veni Sancte Spiritus
Vespers: Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern
Vespers: Psalm 70
Vespers: Steht auf, ihr lieben Kinderlein!
Vespers: Psalm 27
Vespers: In dir ist Freude
Vespers: Psalm 113
Vespers: O susser Herre Jesu Christ
Vespers: Herr Christ, der einig Gotts Sohn
Vespers: Magnificat
Vespers: Vater unser
Vespers: Nun danket all und bringet Ehr
Vespers: Deo gratias

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In