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A Company Of Voices - Conspirare In Concert / Johnson, Et Al


Release Date: 05/12/2009 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 907534   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Morten LauridsenCarly SimonTraditionalCraig Hella Johnson,   ... 
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This live concert recording from October, 2008 showcases one of the world's premier vocal ensembles (you also can experience it visually through a separate DVD incarnation) and also exemplifies its director Craig Hella Johnson's notable skill at eclectic programming. How he manages to successfully combine works by Morten Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre, Orlando Gibbons, Samuel Barber, and Ennio Morricone with arrangements of songs by Carly Simon, Dolly Parton, Annie Lennox, and others is a feat well worth observing. Most of the arrangements are by Johnson himself, and he even lends his beautiful solo voice to several tracks.

This is not a "classical" concert in the usual sense--a majority of the pieces are centered in the
Read more folk and pop world; but Johnson's balancing of, say, Barber's Agnus Dei with the immediately following spiritual Deep River (Ringwald's arrangement) and the subsequent, sumptuous Morricone piece Gabriel's Oboe (featuring parts for cello, oboe, and wordless chorus) is ingenious, as is his ability to convincingly make partner songs out of "When I fall in love" and "Nearer my God to Thee"! Other highlights include the rousing rendition of Moses Hogan's Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel?, one of the concert's few unaccompanied pieces, and the lovely opening work, Lauridsen's Sure on this shining night.

Johnson's arrangement of Parton's "Light of a clear blue morning" benefits from affecting solo singing by Conspirare soprano Kathlene Ritch. Less successful is Johnson's Collage, which improbably joins under one roof songs such as "Wayfarin' stranger", Clint Ballard Jr.'s "You're no good", Roy Orbison and Joe Melson's "Crying", Orlando Gibbons' Drop, drop slow tears, and a bit of chant. It's noisy and a bit confusing, and likely made a better effect live, where listeners could more easily connect with the work's disparate, simultaneously occurring musical elements. The sound also is just a bit rough around the edges, not as clear and detailed as ideal, but it certainly does give the flavor of a live event, and that's to its credit. The singing is superb, and the overall uplifting nature of the music and the performances leaves us--as it undoubtedly did the attending audience--feeling like we've just been rewarded and revived. Strongly recommended!

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Nocturnes for Chorus and Piano: no 3, Sure on this shining night by Morten Lauridsen
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Written: 2005; USA 
Length: 4 Minutes 31 Secs. 
2.
Let The River Run by Carly Simon
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Craig Hella Johnson. 
3.
Water is wide by Traditional
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Craig Hella Johnson. 
4.
Didn't my Lord deliver Daniel? by Traditional
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Written: USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 28 Secs. 
5.
Will there really be a "Morning?" by Craig Hella Johnson
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
6.
Light of a Clear Blue Morning by Dolly Parton
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
7.
Collage by Craig Hella Johnson
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 5 Minutes 3 Secs. 
8.
Agnus Dei, Op. 11 by Samuel Barber
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967; USA 
Length: 8 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Notes: This work is a vocal arrangement of the composer's 'Adagio for Strings.' 
9.
Deep river by Traditional
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Written: USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 16 Secs. 
10.
The Mission: Gabriel's Oboe by Ennio Morricone
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
11.
Nocturnes for Chorus and Piano: no 2, Soneto de la noche by Morten Lauridsen
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Written: 2005; USA 
Length: 5 Minutes 55 Secs. 
12.
Nearer, my God, to Thee by Lowell Mason
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Craig Hella Johnson. 
13.
What if? by Eric Whitacre
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 27 Secs. 
14.
Requiem by Eliza Gilkyson
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2005 
Length: 3 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Craig Hella Johnson. 
15.
A Thousand Beautiful Things by Annie Lennox
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Craig Hella Johnson. 
16.
Triptych by Tarik O'Regan
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2005; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 21 Secs. 
17.
The first of my lovers by Sydney Carter
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Period: Classical 
Written: USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Craig Hella Johnson. 
18.
I love you by Larry Norman
Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 41 Secs. 

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