Sleeper's Prayer: Choral Music from North America

Sleeper's Prayer: Choral Music from North America

by Choir of Merton College, OxfordChoir of Merton College

CD

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Overview

The booklet notes to this Delphian release explain connections between the Choir of Merton College, Oxford, and some American donors, including the ones responsible for the fine new American-made organ heard on this release. This may have been the reason for the present all-American program, but really, the program can stand on musical merits (and it often seems that the British are more attuned to the fact that American choral music is in something of a golden age than are Americans themselves). Many of these works represent individual takes on a common language that is mostly diatonic without being tonal, establishing a single interval or repeated note that is deepened as the piece proceeds in order to express the sense of the text. The music is marvelously accessible (sample Libby Larsen's simple yet utterly distinctive "I Will Sing and Raise a Psalm"), with multiple pieces by two successful composers of the day, Nico Muhly and David Lang. There are several organ works (an excerpt from Philip Glass' "Satyagraha" makes for a lovely meditative interlude), and at the end, the stylistic range broadens out a bit. British choirs have been notably unsuccessful with African American spirituals, but this reading of "Deep River," in an arrangement by composer and organist Gerre Hancock, somehow works. Maybe it's that the Choir of Merton College, Oxford, has a straightforward sound throughout, merging British precision with American directness. This is an offbeat choral release that's full of small pleasures.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/22/2020
Label: Delphian
UPC: 0801918342325
catalogNumber: 34232
Rank: 118573

Tracks

  1. Senex puerum portabat, for chorus & brass
  2. Again (after Eclesiastes), for chorus
  3. The Revd Mustard His Installation Prelude, for organ
  4. If I Sing, for chorus
  5. A Hymn on the Nativity, for chorus & organ
  6. Hudson Preludes, for organ: Take Care

    1. Take Care
  7. I Will Sing and Raise a Psalm, for choir
  8. A Song of Ephrem the Syrian, for chorus & organ
  9. Sleeper's Prayer, version for chorus & organ
  10. Satyagraha, opera: Act 3. Conclusion

    1. Act 3. Conclusion
  11. Cedit, Hyems (Be Gone, Winter!), for flute & chorus
  12. Deep River, for chorus
  13. The Road Home, for women's chorus

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