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Manners of clothing

At ease with the sacred,
with BASIL RAMSEY


American Choral Catalog    ACC 123

The Dale Warland Singers - Bernstein and Britten. (c) 1999 American Choral Catalog Ltd

 

This programme admits two of the best-known of late 20th century choral works: Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms. The shorter works that mingle are, comparatively speaking, unknown. But a choir and conductor active at this level, should - and do - pick from a gathering of enticing music from Europe and America.

Passing beyond the main works - both sung with understanding and assurance - the rest are sundry settings of liturgy and poetry, all with a musical treatment by composers sensitive to words and manners of clothing them suitably without pretension. Americans Nancy Wertsch, Stephen Paulus, William Albright, and Scandinavians Egil Hovland and Einojuhani Rautavaara all show in their use of a language central to the harmonic resource of middle to late 20th century how their individual styles draw sensitively upon it. If any have found sacred works at variance with their personal feelings, there is no obvious sign.

The Dale Warland Singers are a professional group with the essentials for tackling the challenges of modern choral music. Ensemble is well polished, they take great care with words and diction, and frequent soli from the choir move in and out with ease. They are backed up with instrumental precision - a prerequisite for Britten's and Bernstein's blistering use of rhythm and speed.

 

 

Copyright © 11 October 2000 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK

 

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