April 27, 2011

Milwaukee Choral Artists - Sky-Born Music

It is traditional during an anniversary year that a performing ensemble commissions a piece of music in commemoration of that milestone. Milwaukee Choral Artists went a step further by inviting ten composers to write new works for the ensemble - one for each of its ten years. Founded in 1998 as a chamber ensemble comprising professional solo singers, the Milwaukee Choral Artists is one of only a handful of professional women's vocal ensembles in the country. With its signature lush sound, MCA brings a distinctive and varied repertoire of choral and vocal masterworks to audiences throughout the region. 6150 CD 15.95

Posted by acapnews at 12:08 AM

National Lutheran Choir - Hymns We Love to Sing, Vol. II

Artistic Director David Cherwien, conductor, organist and pianist, leads the Minneapolis, MN-based National Lutheran Choir in this live, organ and piano-accompanied collection of 13 joyous hymns. We are clearly invited to sing this triumphant music along with the Choir, as the liner notes feature the lyrics of all the songs in unusually large type; with very little about the size, history or details about the Choir or Director Cherwein. It's all about the music, about the power and faith of this great American Choir. Some favorites are "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee," "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Down in the River to Pray," "Steal Away," "Standin' in the Need of Prayer," "When Peace Like A River" and "Holy God, We Praise Your Name." A quote on the back of the liner notes says in part, "Joyful music leads us sunward. In the triumph song of life. Stars and angels sing around thee, Center of unbroken praise" "Hymns We Love to Sing, Vol. II" is by a wonderful Choir that loves to sing joyous praises to God, and they invite us to join them! 6119 CD 15.95

Posted by acapnews at 12:00 AM

April 26, 2011

Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge - Baltic Exchange

With choral music at the heart of the musical life of the Baltics it is not surprising that the medium has been a central preoccupation for many of their composers. A degree of isolation from international trends in new music (frequently turning into outright proscription) meant that the centre of gravity for composers in the west of the Soviet Union was very different from that of their colleagues beyond the Iron Curtain. And while there is certainly no such thing as a pan-Baltic style—this recording offers only a glimpse of the choral riches to be found in these three tiny countries—all the composers on the disc share a number of characteristics: a sure-footed handling of choral orchestration, lucidity of texture, a pragmatic use of ‘avant-garde’ effects (shorn of their ideological baggage), a fondness for cluster-chords and diatonically saturated harmony, and the frequent use of ostinatos.

Stephen Layton has single-handedly brought many of these composers to the attention of audiences and choirs in the West—and through his sensitive and inspirational direction, has won many fans for this repertoire. Together with his brilliant young choir, who sing this repertoire with ‘passion and purity’, he is the ideal guide to this beautiful and enchanting music.
6187 CD 18.95

Posted by acapnews at 12:00 AM

April 25, 2011

The Choral Project - Tell The World

Founded in 1996 by acclaimed Artistic Director and Conductor Daniel Hughes, the 43-strong, San Francisco Bay Area-based Choral Project has won numerous awards in California and internationally, released seven excellent albums and received rave reviews. Their vision is "To heal our world through music and words;" their mission "to connect one another through choral theater, education and musical excellence." "Tell the World" has 17 live cuts, some of them accompanied by keyboards, piano, bass, drums and percussion. Particularly fine are the a cappella Spiritual "Ezekiel Saw de Wheel," "Deep River," "My God is Good/Angels of the Earth" medley, the a cappella Spirituals "I Can Tell the World" and "On the Battlefield for My Lord" and "All My Trials;" "Witness," "Stand By Me," "Wade in de Water," "The Battle of Jericho" and "Worthy to Be Praised." "Tell the World" is everything we were hoping to hear, powerful, spirited, inspirational music from one of our favorite ensembles, The Choral Project! 6149 CD 15.95

Posted by acapnews at 12:43 AM

April 20, 2011

Mirinesse - Sudden Light

Since their founding in 2006, Mininess Women's Choir has been thrilling audiences in Seattle and around northwest Washington with the soaring, beautiful sound of classically-trained adult women's voices. They are an auditioned group of women, ages 21-70 who joyfully share their love of music, and strive, under the able direction of conductors Rottsolk and Bonnecroy, to attain the highest level of musicianship, artistry and individual vocal ability. There are 17 tunes here, some favorites are Haydn's "Laudate pueri Dominum," the traditional spiritual "Deep River," Z. Randall Stroope's "Psalm 23," Valerie Shields' 3-part "The Evening Star," the title tune by Donna Gartman Schultz, Richard Nance's "Set Me As a Seal," a pair by John Muelheisen, "Spring Night" and "Joy;" the Shaker Song "Love is Little," the traditional "Hark I Hear the Harps Eternal" and Aaron Copland's "Zion's Walls." There are several accompanied tunes here, but the focus and emphasis is on the lovely, high voices of Mirinesse. "Sudden Light" is a wonderful, not-to-be-missed collection from one of our favorite women's ensembles! 6189 CD 15.95

Posted by acapnews at 12:50 PM