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The Pulitzer Project - Pulitzer Prize-Winning Works

Schuman / Copland / Sowerby / Bell / Gpoc / Kalmar
Release Date: 06/28/2011 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 125  
Composer:  William SchumanAaron CoplandLeo Sowerby
Conductor:  Carlos Kalmar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grant Park OrchestraGrant Park Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Most "concept" recordings are more interesting theoretically than they are audibly entertaining. This is one of the rare exceptions. All three of these works won Pulitzer Prizes in the 1940s. Whether or not they deserved them you can judge for yourself, but that's not really the point. This disc restores two important, neglected choral works to the modern catalog, and if the world isn't aching for another version of Appalachian Spring, it not only makes good sense purely as a listening experience, coming between the two choral pieces, but it's also a piece of logical programming. The performance is very good too. My only quibble is simply that Carlos Kalmar takes the "moderato"
Read more episodes quite a bit slower than that--but then, so do a lot of other people. Everywhere else the playing is excellent and as lively as one could wish.

In any case, the main attractions are the Schuman and Sowerby, especially the latter. Schuman's A Free Song runs the risk of becoming a potboiler, but its brevity and energy prevent that from happening. It's vintage early Schuman, which is to say declamatory, vibrant, 1940s Americana, and far better than his dry, unattractive later style.

Sowerby's setting of Matthew Arnold's English translation of St. Francis' Canticle is the largest work here (about half an hour). It's a wonderfully varied, textually aware piece of writing, sensitively scored, harmonically pungent and sophisticated, atmospheric and evocative. It does not sound easy to sing, and Christopher Bell's Grant Park Chorus does a really impressive job bringing the piece to life.

Kudos, then, to Kalmar and his team for putting together a program that really does add up to more than the sum of its parts. If it's not quite perfect, it's close enough as makes no difference. Cedille's sonics are uniformly excellent, warm and very well balanced, particularly in the choral works. An impressive and important release.

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

1. A Free Song by William Schuman
Conductor:  Carlos Kalmar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grant Park Orchestra,  Grant Park Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
Date of Recording: June 25, 2010 
Venue:  Harris Theater, Chicago 
Length: 13 Minutes 41 Secs. 
2. Appalachian Spring: Suite by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  Carlos Kalmar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grant Park Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943-1944; USA 
Date of Recording: June 25, 2010 
Venue:  Harris Theater, Chicago 
Length: 27 Minutes 40 Secs. 
3. The Canticle of the Sun by Leo Sowerby
Conductor:  Carlos Kalmar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grant Park Orchestra,  Grant Park Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; USA 
Date of Recording: June 26, 2010 
Venue:  Harris Theater, Chicago 
Length: 32 Minutes 18 Secs. 

Sound Samples

A Free Song, "Secular Cantata No. 2": Part I: Look Down, Fair Moon
A Free Song, "Secular Cantata No. 2": Part II: Song of the Banner
Appalachian Spring (version for 13 instruments): I. Very slowly
Appalachian Spring (version for 13 instruments): II. Allegro
Appalachian Spring (version for 13 instruments): III. Moderato
Appalachian Spring (version for 13 instruments): IV. Fast
Appalachian Spring (version for 13 instruments): V. Subito allegro
Appalachian Spring (version for 13 instruments): VI. Slowly
Appalachian Spring (version for 13 instruments): VII. Doppio movimento
Appalachian Spring (version for 13 instruments): VIII. Moderato
Canticle of the Sun: O most high ...
Canticle of the Sun: Praised be my Lord God with all creatures ...
Canticle of the Sun: Praised be my Lord for our sister the moon ...
Canticle of the Sun: Praised be my Lord for our brother the wind ...
Canticle of the Sun: Praised be my Lord for our sister water ...
Canticle of the Sun: Praised be my Lord for brother fire ...
Canticle of the Sun: Praised be my Lord for our mother the Earth ...
Canticle of the Sun: Praised be my Lord for all those who pardon ...
Canticle of the Sun: Praised be my Lord for our sister the death of the body ...
Canticle of the Sun: Blessed are they ...
Canticle of the Sun: Praise ye the Lord ...

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Pulitzer Prize CD February 25, 2013 By anthony rivers (pleasant garden, NC) See All My Reviews "This CD of Pulitzer Prize winners should be awarded a Pulitzer for selection,performance,sound and overall production values. Miss it at your own risk." Report Abuse
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