American Repertory Singers

The American Repertory Singers (ARS), under the musical direction of Dr. Leo Nestor, is a professional vocal ensemble resident to Washington, DC. First established in 1994 to record new-issue releases for E.C. Schirmer Music Company, the ensemble has become one of America’s premier chamber choruses both on and off disc. ARS is characterized by singular vocal ability, musical intuition, flexibility and scope. With seven commercial CD’s and seventeen new-issue releases, ARS tackles even the most complex of scores with aplomb. Their singing has authority, conviction and an impressive display of exquisite choral sound. Works by David Conte, Richard DeLong, Frank Ferko, Daron Hagen, Jane Marshall, Leo Nestor, Daniel Pinkham, Carl Schalk, Randall Thompson, and Gwyneth Walker are well represented in the recording repertoire. Live performances have also included works by Brahms, Britten, Desenclos, Durufle, Fissinger, Felciano, Howells, Hurd, Mozart, Near, Palestrina, Reger, Vittoria, and plainsong chant. Although ARS performs music of all periods, the chorus particularly espouses American music of our day. Conductor Leo Nestor.


Sounding Joy

Sounding Joy (arr. Gwyneth Walker)
Steal Away to jesus (arr. Ronald Arnatt)
O Lord, Increase Our Faith (Richard DeLong)
There is a Country (Richard Delong)
And Peace at the Last (Leo Nestor)
To Rise Beyond the Stars (Leo Nestor)
Who Is She Ascends So High? (Leo Nestor)
Little Prayers (Daron Aric hagen)
1. Almighty Father, Incline Thine Ear
2. Our Father, Who Arrt In heaven
3. Why Do You Seek Rest
4. We May Be Heroic
5. Lord, God in Heaven
Still, Still with Thee (Fred Gramann)
A Sermon on Wisdom (Daniel Pinkham)
I Was Glad When They Said unto Me (Frank Ferko)
I Will Give Thanks to You, O Lord (Frank Ferko)
O Gracious ight ("Phos hilaron") (Frank Ferko)
Of Hospitality (Jane Marshall)
When I survey the Wondrous Gross (arr. John Carter)
Festival Te Deum (Douglas Major)

One of the professional services offered by Boston-based, mixed voice American Repertory Singers is the recording of scores to accompany the distribution of publishers new issues. All the music on this disc was written in the last two decades of the 20th century, and it is a representative sampling of some of the best contemporary sacred music by America's choral composers who have written for all denominations of Christian churches. 21 cuts, some are accompanied. "Sounding Joy," an dramatic 8-minute arrangement of the spiritual "Steal Away to Jesus" with trumpets, a couple of nice pieces by Richard DeLong, "O Lord, Increase Our Faith" and "There is a Country," and three compositions by Leo Nestor, "And Peace at the Last," "To Rise Beyond the Stars" and "Who Is She Ascends So High?" Five "Little Prayers" by Daron Aric Hagen, 3 by Frank Ferko, "I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me," "I Will Give Thanks to You, O Lord" and "O Gracious Light," 2 by Jane Marshall, "Of Hospitality" and "Song of Simeon," and Daniel Pinkham's "A Sermon on Wisdom"—this is all beautifully-performed, hard-to-find contemporary sacred music by one of the best Contemporary Christian ensembles.

7517 CD $15.98

Randall Thompson - Ye Shall Have a Song

The Peaceable Kingdowm
Say Ye to the Righteous
Woe Unto Them
The Noise of a Multitude
Howl Ye
The Paper Reeds by the Brooks
But These Are They
Have Ye Not Known?
Ye Shall Have a Song
The Best of Rooms
Odes of Horace
O fons Bandusiae
Vitas hinnuleo
Montium Custos
Felices ter
The Last Invocation

Since Randall Thompson (1899-1984), perhaps America's most famous composer of choral music, it is significant that at last a retrospective selection of this music has been recorded. "Ye Shall Have A Song" is a collection of works dating from 1922 to 1970, when the bulk of his choruses had already been written. Starting with his early masterpiece, the 8 movements of "The Peaceable Kingdom," ("Say Ye to the Righteous," "Woe Unto Them," "'The Noise of a Multitude," "Howl Ye," "The Paper Reeds by the Brooks," "But These Are They," "Have Ye Not Known" and the title tune), the CD progresses to "Bittersweet" of 1970, representing his last style. "The Best of Rooms," "Alleluia," and four "Odes of Horace" are followed by the oldest composition, 1922's "The Last Invocation." The Singers make these difficult-to-perform, eclectic and sublimely beautiful pieces sound effortless. A worthy retrospective of the works of an American master!

7516 CD $15.98

Come To Me

Come to Me in the Silence of the Night
Love Can Be Still
Take me walking in your mind
After the storm is over
Da Capo
Charm Me Asleep
Four Songs from the Highlands
Ca' the Yowes
O, My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose
Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?
Fareweel tae Tarwathie
Go, Lovely Rose
Campion Suite
There is a Garden in Her Face
Thrice Toss these Oaken Ashes
When to her Lute Corinna Sings
To Music Bent
Night was Well as Brightest Day
A Lover and his Lass
An Older Lover and His Lass
Reincarnations, Opus 6
The Coolin (The Fair Haired One)

The American Repertory Singers has got to be one of our very finest domestic choirs specializing in modern American music. The program's title piece is from James Hopkins whose smooth, dreamlike setting of "Come to Me in the Silence of Night" has enjoyed considerable success. Other discoveries include David Conte's feverish "Charm Me Asleep", a splendid setting of Elizabethan poet Robert Herrick's restless verse. Also new to me is Jane Marshall, who contributes a delightful pair of bookend madrigals. The contrast between the initial song's blithe and bouncy air and the warmly reminiscent comfort of its companion piece is very touching. Daniel Pinkham's "Love Can Be Still" is a cycle of four poems by Norma Farber, full of startling turns of musical pphrase, infusing Pinkham's unmistakable American idiom with some complex, late-Monteverdi tricks. Perhaps the best are from Nestor himself: the four sentiment-drenched setting of Four Part-songs from the "Highlands", including two traditional texts and two from Robert Burns. Three include lovely obbligatos for solo flute. "Ca' the Yowes" and "Will ye Go, Lassie, Go?" are especially haunting.

8592 CD $15.95

Sacred Music

God, Who Made the Earth
Missa Brevis
Sanctus & Benedictus
Agnus Dei
Psalm 147
Alleluia! How good it is to sing praises
The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem
Great is our Lord
The Lord lifts up the lowly
Sing to the Lord with Thanksgiving
The Seven Words of Christ from the Cross
Alleluia Verses for Easter

A most sensitive and attractive recording. The American Repertory Singers achieve choral artistry with consistently lovely tonal quality and astounding rhythmic control and flexibility. Sara Stern and Dotian Levalier participate with highly pleasing effect and artistry. The first track of the CD is a setting of the Welsh tune ‘Ar hyd y nos’. The combining of the two instrumentalists with the choir provided a captivating and alluring textual attractiveness. …The Seven Words of Christ from the Cross makes most effective use of dissonance. Schuneman’s reading is wondrously apt and his selection of the soloist [David F. Eberhardt] to sing the part of the Evangelist is very admirable.

7518 CD $15.98

Songs of Love for Chorus

Canti d'amor (Bernard Rands)
Love Songs (Aususta Read Thomas)
"...among the voices..." (Augusta Read Thomas)
Six Madrigals (William Hawley)

Review pending.

7518 CD $15.98

Silent Night

O Come, O Come, Emmauel
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen/O Come, Emmanuel
Silent Night
Once in Royal David's City
Sussex Carol
What Child Is This
At Bethlehem Proper

An extraordinary set of carol arrangements. As in the case with virtually all of Daron Hagen's music, he takes the listener on an unusual journey, frequently only alluding to tunes or portions of tunes already more than familiar to the listener. As one would expect of a composer who has devoted so much of his life to vocal music and the relationship between music and text, surprising things occur.

8593 CD $15.95

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