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Dett: The Ordering of Moses / Conlon, May Festival Chorus, Cincinnati Symphony


Release Date: 05/10/2016 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9462   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  R. Nathaniel Dett
Performer:  Donnie Ray AlbertRonnita Nicole MillerRodrick DixonLatonia Moore
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Symphony OrchestraMay Festival Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In 1937, Cincinnati's May Festival gave the world premiere of R. Nathaniel Dett's oratorio, "The Ordering of Moses", a 'Biblical Folk Scene' composed in 1932. The event was broadcast live to the nation by NBC radio. The present recording captures a thrilling 2014 concert of Dett's magnum opus, performed by four stellar vocal soloists, the May Festival Chorus, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Conlon. - Bridge Records In 1937, Cincinnati's May Festival gave the world premiere of R. Nathaniel Dett's oratorio, "The Ordering of Moses", a 'Biblical Folk Scene' composed in 1932. The event was broadcast live to the nation by NBC radio. The present recording captures a thrilling 2014 concert of Dett's magnum opus, performed by four stellar vocal soloists, the May Festival Chorus, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Conlon. - Bridge Records Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
The Ordering of Moses by R. Nathaniel Dett
Performer:  Donnie Ray Albert (Baritone), Ronnita Nicole Miller (Mezzo Soprano), Rodrick Dixon (Tenor),
Latonia Moore (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Conlon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra,  May Festival Chorus

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Rich harmonies, expressive melodies August 30, 2016 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "This release of R. Nathaniel Dett's "The Ordering of Moses" is important for several reasons. It's a performance by the commissioning ensemble, it revives a major work by a black composer and it rights a wrong. R. Nathaniel Dett (born in Canada) was a well-known black pianist, choral conductor, arranger, and composer who spent most of his career in the States. Dett used African-American spirituals and folk music in his compositions. He took Dvorak's admonition that a composer should look to their own culture for inspiration to heart. The Ordering of Moses was commissioned by the May Festival Chorus in 1937, and premiered by the Chorus and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra that same year. The premiere was broadcast live on NBC, but the network cut the program short. Although no official reason was given, it's alleged that the network caved to complaints about airing Black music. All of which makes this recording so meaningful. James Conlon leads the May Festival Chorus and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in a live performance broadcast by WQXR in New York. This time, the work was broadcast in its entirety. That's all fine -- but is "The Ordering" any good? I think so. Dett's composition is in a conservative post-romantic style that lends itself to rich harmonies and expressive melodies. Spirituals are used throughout the work, providing the motivic foundations for the oratorio. And those spirituals become somewhat refined in the process. There's no bending of pitches, and the rhythms are foursquare and lose some fluidity. And yet, the use of the material gives the work its power in a way that European-inspired motifs could not. The fugal treatment of "Go Down Moses" in "And from a burning bush" is particularly effective. The opening movement features a clanking of chains, viscerally illustrating the concept of the Israelites' slavery. Also of note (I think), is the March of the Israelites. It's a beautiful movement with unusual harmonies that anticipates the Biblical epic scores of Miklos Rozsa by twenty years. The performances are all first-rate, as is the recording. Highly recommended." Report Abuse
 Unknown masterpiece August 23, 2016 By Joseph Lieber, MD (Great Neck, NY) See All My Reviews "R nathaniel is a relative unknown, which, if based on this work is a shame. Th Ordering of Moses makes use of beautiful hymns with powerful sinking and orchestral tones. The moving choral forces and passionate plaing and conducting create a spiritual experience that is unforgettable. james Conlon is just the right conductor for the music and the soloists sing their hearts out. Clearly, the audience is thrilled as herad by the applause. A must for any lover of choral epics!!!" Report Abuse
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