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Eric Whitacre: Complete A Capella Works 1991-2001


Release Date: 04/29/2003 
Label:  Arsis   Catalog #: 147   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Eric Whitacre
Conductor:  Ronald Staheli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brigham Young University Singers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Once in a while, in one’s reviewing duties, something completely unexpected comes along, something that makes one feel the hours of listening and writing are truly worthwhile. This CD presents one of those rare, unexpected challenges, and a most welcome one too.

There’s a lot of excellent new choral music out there, but you’re not likely to hear it unless you’re a chorister (or just in love with one). Morten Lauridsen is one present-day composer who has distinguished himself in this medium with little mainstream recognition; now Whitacre is another. Lauridsen and Whitacre are stylistic cousins. Both favor tonal, diatonic writing, and shimmering, luminous
Read more textures. Both also favor intense, direct expression and, when possible, simplicity (which is not to be confused with simple-mindedness). These works would be as appropriate in an Anglican cathedral as they would be in an intimate recital hall.

Another similarity is their good taste in texts. The works on the present CD have been set to texts by Octavio Paz, e. e. cummings, Federico García Lorca, and others. Although Whitacre seems to have a spiritual bent, the only sacred text on this CD is When David Heard, a 15-minute setting of a verse from II Samuel. Its highly emotional tone (David weeping over his slain son Absalom) elicits a similarly emotional response from Whitacre.

Another striking setting is based on Paz’s Cloudburst. In a little more than eight minutes, Whitacre uses voice (and some percussion, presumably played by the singers) to depict the literally awesome, transcendental power of a torrential rain. Here, the composer departs somewhat from traditional modes of choral expression in favor of more sonoristic expression.

Whitacre’s work isn’t groundbreakingly original, but it is very, very good—impressive for any composer, regardless of his age and background, and astonishing given Whitacre’s late blooming as a classical composer. I hope his success increases.

This music is lovingly performed by the Brigham Young University Singers, a disciplined group comprised of slightly more than 40 singers. They are sensitive to the poetry in the texts and in the music itself, and they acquit themselves impressively on this CD. The engineering brings them up close—and some of the climaxes are a little coarse—but otherwise this is a CD as lovely to hear as it is to think about.

Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare Magazine
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Works on This Recording

1.
Water Night by Eric Whitacre
Conductor:  Ronald Staheli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brigham Young University Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1995; USA 
Length: 5 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: English 
2.
Cloudburst by Eric Whitacre
Conductor:  Ronald Staheli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brigham Young University Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992/1995; USA 
Length: 8 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: 1995 
3.
Sleep by Eric Whitacre
Conductor:  Ronald Staheli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brigham Young University Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2000; USA 
Length: 5 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: English 
4.
Flower Songs (3) by Eric Whitacre
Conductor:  Ronald Staheli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brigham Young University Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991-1992; USA 
Length: 9 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: English 
5.
When David Heard by Eric Whitacre
Conductor:  Ronald Staheli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brigham Young University Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999; USA 
Length: 15 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: English 
6.
Lux aurumque by Eric Whitacre
Conductor:  Ronald Staheli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brigham Young University Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2000; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
7.
Leonardo dreams of his flying machine by Eric Whitacre
Conductor:  Ronald Staheli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brigham Young University Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2001; USA 
Length: 8 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: English 
8.
Songs of Faith (3) by Eric Whitacre
Conductor:  Ronald Staheli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brigham Young University Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999; USA 
Length: 13 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Language: English 

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