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Rose Of Sharon / Joel Frederiksen, Ensemble Phoenix Munich

Frederiksen / Ens Phoenix Munich
Release Date: 05/10/2011 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 902085  
Composer:  Benjamin Franklin WhiteHenry CareyPhilip PhileAnonymous,   ... 
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


When the end of 2011 comes, this masterpiece from Joel Frederiksen and his Ensemble Phoenix Munich will reside among the best of what undoubtedly will be a formidable mountain of first-rate vocal-music recording projects. I have to say that this kind of program was unexpected coming from this bass singer/lutenist/guitarist. What, other than something that inspired his interest during the time he spent studying and performing in the U.S. in the '90s, would have possessed this extraordinary artist to organize such a program around the "wide range of music composed between the War of Independence and the Civil War"? This is the sort of thing we used to hear from world-class American ensembles
Read more such as the Baltimore Consort, Joel Cohen and his Boston Camerata, and even in a couple of notable ventures, from Anonymous 4.

This trove features a varied selection of music--30 pieces in all--that's smartly presented to keep things interesting, mixing solo, duets, and various ensemble combinations both to show each song to optimal effect and to fully utilize these exceptional voices and instrumental players. However you characterize Frederiksen's voice--it's described in the notes as a "coloratura basso profundo" (now there's a unique category!)--you have to admit you've never heard any bass possessing quite this timbre, so agreeably warm, sensuous, expressive, and that also blends so well with its soprano, alto, and tenor ensemble partners.

We've heard much of this repertoire before--Shaker hymns, shape-note tunes, Civil War songs, anthems by the thoroughly unremarkable William Billings--but there are some unfamiliar gems here as well, and the performances are invariably infectious, tasteful, creatively arranged, and worthy of repeated listening. The liner notes by Frederiksen are detailed and informative, and include full texts in a separate booklet. This is a collection to treasure both for its historical content and for the sheer pleasure of the voices.

Frederiksen's opening unaccompanied rendition of the Shaker spiritual Lay me low is an irresistible call to this celebration of early American music, and the closing Hear, O Lord, when I cry, a 19th-century anthem by Philadelphia composer/Moravian Church organist Massah M. Warner for four a cappella voices, makes an equally compelling benediction. The spirit and tradition of this music is almost entirely lost now, but as one who grew up with first-hand experience of camp and revival meeting songs and hymns, and who was present for part of Joel Cohen's Shaker music recording project, I have to say that this current effort to bring this music to life has a genuine air of sincerity and reverence--and if nothing else, it's certainly enlivening and entertaining. Frederiksen is an amazing musician and a uniquely gifted singer, and for that reason alone you shouldn't miss this.

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

1.
Lay me low by Benjamin Franklin White
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
2.
The Morning Trumpet by Henry Carey
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
3.
He comes, the hero comes! by Philip Phile
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
4.
President's March by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
5.
The Death of General Wolfe by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
6.
Jefferson and Liberty by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1801; USA 
7.
America by William Billings
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
Period: Classical 
Written: 1770/1778; USA 
8.
God is the king by William Billings
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
9.
I am the rose of Sharon by William Billings
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1778; USA 
10.
The Gentleman Soldier by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
11.
Leander by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
12.
Drumdelgie by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
13.
Northfield by Jeremiah Ingalls
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
Period: Classical 
Written: USA 
14.
Captain Kidd by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
15.
Wondrous Love by William Walker
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
Period: Classical 
Written: USA 
16.
Lorena by Joseph Philbrick Webster
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857; USA 
17.
Dixie's Land by Daniel Emmett
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
18.
Dance me a jig by Al Wood
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
19.
Hard times come again no more by Stephen Foster
Conductor:  Joel Frederiksen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Phoenix Munich
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855; USA 

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