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Voices of Ascension

Director: Dennis Keene

Voices of Ascension

Mixed Choral Chorus from NY, United States.

Voices of Ascension Chorus and Orchestra, founded and directed by conductor Dennis Keene, is one of the world's premier professional choral ensembles. The ensemble's annual series of concerts in New York City, now in their 20th season, and recordings on Delos International have received unalloyed critical acclaim. The singers of Voices of Ascension are among the finest ensemble singers in the United States. Most are active as soloists as well. Artistic Director Dennis Keene has blended this group of New York's finest professional singers into a richly satisfying ensemble, unique in its flexibility and artistic command of choral music of every period and style. The number of singers in the ensemble varies according to the works performed, usually ranging from 20 to 40.

Voices of Ascension evolved from a concert series of the Church of the Ascension in New York City, where in 1989 Dennis Keene and the Ascension Choir produced "Tribute to Durufle," the first complete retrospective of the music of French composer Maurice Durufle. This major music festival drew international attention and was later broadcast across the U.S. on American Public Radio. The following year the group incorporated as Voices of Ascension and presented its first season of concerts to immediate critical success. In 1993 Dennis Keene and Voices of Ascension began a long-term relationship with the major recording company, Delos International. Their first commercial recording, Ave Maria, received exceptional critical praise and was later re-released as Mysteries Beyond: Songs and Chants in Praise of Mary. The ensemble's second recording, Beyond Chant: Mysteries of the Renaissance, became one of the best selling choral recordings in the country, climbing to the number 10 spot on Billboard's Classical Chart. Their other best-selling CDs include The Durufle Album, Prince of Music - the greatest choral works of Palestrina, Voices of Angels (music of Hildegard von Bingen), and Hear My Prayer, with Metropolitan Opera soprano Hei Kyung Hong, released in 2004. The recording of Song of the Stars, A Celebration of Catalan Music recorded in March, 2007, was released to critical acclaim by Naxos in June, 2009. A month later it hit the Billboard classical charts and received a Grammy nomination.

In addition to their annual New York concert series at the Church of the Ascension and Delos recordings, Voices of Ascension has made guest appearances with the San Francisco Symphony, EOS Orchestra, the Mark Morris Dance Group, and Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival. The ensemble has also been featured by major American music organizations: For the American Guild of Organists, Maestro Keene assembled the enormous forces needed to perform and record the rarely heard Berlioz Te Deum in 1996; and to mark the centennial of Maurice Durufle's birth, Voices of Ascension was invited to perform his Requiem for the final concert of the AGO's 2002 national convention in Philadelphia.

Voices of Ascension marks its twenty-first season with a five-concert New York series at Church of the Ascension and The Church of St. Mary the Virgin. We also celebrate the installation of the Manton Memorial Organ at Church of the Ascension with a three-concert organ recital series, a dedicatory service and a week-long organ academy.

Discography

Displaying 1-9 of 9 items.


Voices of Ascension : Song of the Stars : 00  1 CD : Dennis Keene :  : 8.570533

Voices of Ascension : Song of the Stars

Review: A rich musical heritage and vibrant contemporary culture intersect in Catalunya in north-eastern Spain. Granados's long-lost masterpiece Song of the Stars is comparable to a virtuoso piano concerto with chorus and organ rather than orchestra, gloriously combining Romantic-Modernista poetry with post-Wagnerian harmonies. The internationally famous cellist Pau Casals also composed a small body of very beautiful music, including the deeply spiritual choral works on this disc. Morera's The Nightingale and Blancafort's Love Song are evocative of their Catalan texts, while Oltra's Echo and Prelude explore themes of memory and hope through images of nature.

Songlist: Rosarium Beate Birginis Mariae, Recordare, Virgo Mater, Salve Regina, Nigra Sum, El Rossinyol, Romanza, Ave Maria, Escena Religiosa, Cant D'amour, Eco, Preludio, Cant de les Estrelles

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4225c | 00 1 CD | $9.95 | Accompanied


Voices of Ascension : Berlioz Te Deum : 00  1 CD : Dennis Keene :  : 3200

Voices of Ascension : Berlioz Te Deum

Review:

Songlist: Te Deum, Op. 22:, Te Deum, Tibi omnes, Dignare, Christe, Rex gloriae, Te ergo quaesumus, Judex crederis, Spoken Commentary by Dennis Keene:, Introductory comments, Te Deum commentary, Tibe omnes commentary, Dignare commentary, Christe, Rex gloriae commentary, Te ergo quaesumus commentary, Judex crederis commentary

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7732c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | Some a cappella Early Music CDs


Voices of Ascension : Beyond Chant: Mysteries of the Renaissance : 00  1 CD : Dennis Keene :  : 3165

Voices of Ascension : Beyond Chant: Mysteries of the Renaissance

Review: review pending

Songlist: Sicut Cervus, Ave Maria, Justorum Animae, Jesu Rex admirabilis, Exultate Deo, Exultate Justi, Jesu, Dulcis Memoria, Ave Verum Corpus, Psalm 90, Psalm 96, Hodie Christus Natus, O Maria Virgo Pia, Tu Pauperum Refugium, O Sacrum Convivium, If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments, Hosanna to the Son of David, O Quam Goriosum, Selig sind die Toten, Heu Nos Miseros, Exaltabo Te, O Sing Joyfully, O Magnum Mysterium, Laudate Nomen, Cantate Domino

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7729c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | Primarily a cappella Early Music CDs


Voices of Ascension : Can't Help Singing : 00  1 CD : Dennis Keene :  : 3224

Voices of Ascension : Can't Help Singing

Review: The voices of Ascension sing new choral arrangements of favorite Kern songs - in styles ranging from swinging Browdway (I Won't Dance; Can't Help Singing) to a timeless classical tone (All The Things You Are; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes). Dennis Keene's talented singers are accompanied variously by orchestra, harp, and string quartet, leading to some surprising moments such as a solo oboe emerging from the orchestra in a poignant Long Ago and Far Away. There is also the beautiful a cappella singing listeners have come to expect from Voices of Ascension - as in the rich 8-part version of All The Things You Are.

Songlist: Can't Forget You, All The Tings You Are, I Won't Dance, Don't Ever Leave Me, Pick Yourself Up, Make Believe, Why Was I Born Born, A Fine Romance, Can't Help Singing, They Didn't Believe Me, The Song Is You , Long Ago And Far Away, I'm Old Fashioned, You Couldn't Be Cuter, The Way You Look Tonight, Ol' Man River, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Yesterdays, Don't Ever Leave Me

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8338c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella Mixed Choirs CDs


Voices of Ascension : Hear My Prayer : 00  1 CD : Dennis Keene :  : 3300

Voices of Ascension : Hear My Prayer

Review: Voices of Ascension evolved from a 1989 concert series of Church of the Ascension in NYC, when Dennis Keene directed the Ascension choir in a major music festival, "Tribute to Durufle," a retrospective of the French composer that drew international attention. The following year the group incorporated separately from the church as Voices of Ascension. The number of singers in the professional ensemble varies from 20 to 40, among the finest and most skilled ensemble singers and soloists in the country. Metropolitan Opera star Hei-Kyung Hong blesses the VOA with a lyric soprano voice of uncommon beauty and warmth. 15 selections; right from the beginning Randall Thompson's soaring a cappella "Alleluia" and Mozart's "Laudate Dominum" show off the amazing soprano voice of Hei-Kyung Hong. Two by Pablo Casals, "Tota Pulchra" and "Nigra Sum," Felix Mendelsson's "Hear My Prayer" and Durufle's "Tu es Petrus" make it abundantly clear that we are in the presence of greatness. Nicolai Tolstiakov's "Blagoslovi, dushe moya, Ghospoda (Bless the Lord, O My Soul)," Tchaikovsky's "Bazheni, yazhe izbral (How blessed are they)," Charles Villiers Stanford's "Beati quorum via" and the final cut, Mendelssohn's "Happy and blessed are they" leave us in stunned silence after listening to the angels. Some organ accompaniment. Amazing!

Songlist: And I Saw a New Heaven, Alleluia , Laudate Dominum , Tota Pulchra , Nigra Sum, Hear My Prayer , I was glad when they said unto me , Tu es Petrus , Panis angelicus , Like as the Hart, Blagoslovi dushe moya, Ghospoda (Bless the Lord, O My Soul) , Blazheni, yazhe izbral (How blessed are they), Pieta, Signore, Beati quorum via , Happy and blessed are they

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7558c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | Some a cappella


Voices of Ascension : Mysteries Beyond - In Praise of Mary : 00  1 CD : Dennis Keene :  : 3138

Voices of Ascension : Mysteries Beyond - In Praise of Mary

Review: "Mysteries" is a very special collection of the Keene's and the Voices of Ascension's favorite pieces from many periods and countries having to do with Mary, mother of Jesus. Two of our favorites are two of the oldest pieces on the recording, the lovely a cappella "Alma Redemptoris Mater" by Giovanni Palestrina and Tomas Luis de Victoria's classic "Ave Maria." Other favorites are Anton Bruckner's "Gradual: Os Justi," Gabriel Faure's "Tantum Ergo," which only grows more beautiful with repeated hearings, Schubert's "Die Allmacht" and "Psalm 23," Pablo Casals' "Eucaristica," Charles Gounod's "Ave Maria," and Felix Mendelssohn's "Psalm 43." Some light accompaniment by harp, piano and organ. New York City's 38-strong, mixed-voice Voices of Ascension is one of our favorite choirs recording sacred music, and "Mysteries" is an inspiring joy from the first cut to the last!

Songlist: Alma Redemptoris Mater, Gradual: Os Justi , Tantum Ergo , Ave Maria , Ave Maria , Tota Pulchra Es , Ave Maria , Die Allmacht, Ave Maria , Eucaristica , Ave Maria , Psalm 23 , Psalm 43 , Ave Maria , Cantique de Jean Racine , Ubi Caritas

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7728c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | Primarily a cappella Early Music CDs


Voices of Ascension : Prince of Music - Palestrina : 00  1 CD : Dennis Keene : Giovanni Palestrina : 3210

Voices of Ascension : Prince of Music - Palestrina

Review: One of the finest (and most prolific) mixed choirs recording sacred music we have heard, NYC's exquisite Voices of Ascension turns their attention to Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina, the most famous Italian composer of his day. Laid to rest in one of the side chapels of St. Peter's in Rome at his death in 1594, the plaque on his coffin is inscribed "Prince of Music." Included here are the 6-part "Missa Papae Marcelli" and the 7th part, "Agnus Dei II," 8 "Motets and Offertories," and bonus tracks "Alma Redemptoris Mater," "Sicut cervus" and its second part, "Sitivit anima mea." The music is all a cappella, and to listen to any random movement, such as "Credo," "Sanctus," "Tue es Petrus" or "Peccantem me quotidie" is to hear the songs of angels, some of the most beautiful a cappella music ever written!

Songlist: Missa Papae Marcelli ~ Kyrie eleison, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, Angus Dei I, Secundum multitudinem, Tu es Petrus, Dum complerentur, O Domine Jesu Christe, Super flumina Babilonis, Canite tuba, Rorate coeli, Peccantem me quotidie, Agnus Dei II, Alma Redemptoris Mater, Sicut cervus, Sitivit anima mea

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7726c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella Early Music CDs


Voices of Ascension : The Durufle Album : 00  1 CD : Dennis Keene : Maurice Durufle : 3169

Voices of Ascension : The Durufle Album

Review: Organist and Choirmaster of the Church of the Ascension Dennis Keene has dedicated a large part of his career to the music of Maurice Durufle, having conducted all of the French composer's choral works in performance. Here are Durufle's finest sacred works, the 9 soaring, dramatic movements of "Requiem, Op. 9," "Messe 'Cum Jubilo," Op. 11," and the lovely short piece, "Notre Pere." All orchestra-accompanied with some nice viola, violoncello, horn and harp solos. Vocal solos by Patricia Spence and Francois Le Roux are standouts. The Voices of Ascension is one of our favorite mixed choirs and "Album" is a wonderful collection of works by the master 20th century sacred composer.

Songlist: Introit, Kyrie, Domine Jesu Christe, Sanctus, Pie Jasu, Agnus Dei , Lux aeterna, Liberma me, In Paradisum, Kyrie, Gloria , Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei , Notre Pere

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7727c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella Early Music CDs


Voices of Ascension : Voices of Angels : 00  1 CD : Dennis Keene : Hildegard von Bingen : 3219

Voices of Ascension : Voices of Angels

Review: With this recording New York City's Voices of Ascension and Conductor Keene celebrate the 900th birthday of one of the most remarkable creative spirits of the Middle Ages, the Abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). Although some musicians embellish Hildegard's single line chants with additional parts, the Voices of Ascension's approach is to present the inspired poetry and music of this mystic visionary "pure," without any contemporary additions. We are hearing, in these 14 haunting pieces, the Women of the Voices of Ascension, a mixed-voice choir on all their other excellent recordings. Soloists Kathy Theil, Michele Eaton, Alexandra Montano and Allessandra Visconti are particularly wonderful on cuts like "O virga ac diadema," "Vos Flores Rosarum," "Et Ideo," "O Pastor animarum,""Caritas Abundat," "Ave, generosa" and "O Jerusalem, aurea civitatus." All beautiful, soaring a cappella. This is simple, powerful music that touches and speaks to us across more than 8 centuries, in a way that its composer could never have imagined.

Songlist: O virga ac diadema, O viridissima virga, Vos Flores Rosarum, O Ecclesia, Columba aspexit, Et Ideo, O Euchari columba, O Pastor animarum, O clarissima mater, Caritas Abundat, O presul vere civitatis, Ave, generosa, Unde Quocumque, O lerusalem, aurea civitatis

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7731c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | Some a cappella Early Music CDs


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