REFLECTIONS OF THE HEART • Giovanni De Chiaro, cond; Carlow Choir • CENTAUR CRC 3010 (57:42)
Choral music by HAAS, LANTZ, LIGHT/TATE, COURTNEY/RED, BARRY/MURDEN, DENGLER, HOPSON, STANTON, DUBOIS, BOYCE, WARNER, TATE, TRUE, ROBERTS
This program by the Carlow Choir introduces music aimed at the average, non-professional, church choir, much of it here with additional arrangements by the conductor. The music is harmonically straightforward and melodic without everRead more reaching for the big tune or the harmonic surprise, and the accompaniments mostly have rolling bass piano chords, to which Giovanni De Chiaro occasionally adds strings. Though not always simple, the music is limited in its musical demands on performer and listener alike and is, as the title of the disc suggests, reflective.
Of the 15 pieces here, the ones I found the most attractive were Hal H. Hopson’s I Lift My Eyes: Psalm 121, a Gloria by Jim Stanton, and the lightly syncopated This Is the Day by Leon C. Roberts. The odd piece out is the canonic Alleluia by William Boyce, whose Georgian strains have been tempered in an arrangement by Richard Proulx, further arranged by De Chiaro.
No texts are provided and, while the words are often clear, they are not always so, and it can be hard to tell what their drift is, apart from clues derived from the title. This comes about, in part, by the fact that this is a very large choir of amateurs (124 listed in the booklet) with limited rehearsal time and, in part, because the recording itself is rather boxy. One cannot come to this performance expecting anything like, say, the Chicago Symphony Chorus, to name another of this size. It pretends to be nothing other than what it is, a non-professional ensemble committed to expressing common human aspirations for itself and others.