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Appear & Inspire

Shaw Festival Singers Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 27, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000003D1B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,683 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Hymn to St. Cecilia, for chorus, Op. 27: In A Garden Shady
2. Hymn to St. Cecilia, for chorus, Op. 27: I Cannot Grow
3. Hymn to St. Cecilia, for chorus, Op. 27: O Ear Whose Creatures Cannot Wish To Fall
4. Chansons de Charles d'Orléans (3), song cycle for chorus, L. 92: Dieu! Qu'il La Fait Bon Regarder!
5. Chansons de Charles d'Orléans (3), song cycle for chorus, L. 92: Quant J'ai Our Le Tabourin
6. Chansons de Charles d'Orléans (3), song cycle for chorus, L. 92: Yver, Vous N'estes Qu'un Villain
7. Trois chansons, for chorus (or voice & piano): Nicolette
8. Trois chansons, for chorus (or voice & piano): Trois Beaux Oiseaux Du Paradis
9. Trois chansons, for chorus (or voice & piano): Ronde
10. Un soir de neige, chamber cantata for 6 voices (or chorus), FP 126: I. De grandes cuillers de neige
11. Un soir de neige, chamber cantata for 6 voices (or chorus), FP 126: II. La bonne neige
12. Un soir de neige, chamber cantata for 6 voices (or chorus), FP 126: III. Bois meurtri
13. Un soir de neige, chamber cantata for 6 voices (or chorus), FP 126: IV. La nuit, le froid, la solitude
14. Chansons Bretonnes (3): La Nuit En Bretonnes
15. Chansons Bretonnes (3): La Complainte des Ames
16. Chansons Bretonnes (3): Soir D'été
17. I Hate and I Love, song cycle for chorus & percussion: I. I hate and I love
18. I Hate and I Love, song cycle for chorus & percussion: II. Let us live, my Clodia, and let us love
19. I Hate and I Love, song cycle for chorus & percussion: III. Greetings, miss, with nose not small
20. I Hate and I Love, song cycle for chorus & percussion: IV. My woman says she will be no one's
See all 24 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sampling of 20th century choral music July 15, 1999
By A Customer
For choral fans, any disc conducted by Robert Shaw is self-recommending, since he always cultivated a carefully controlled yet expressive sound. This program has one of my favorite versions of Britten's "St. Cecelia," a piece every Britten fan should get to know and one with a very intriguing text by Auden. (The words veer far afield from religious ideas and, some say, point to the Gay pride movement long before its time.) Also welcome are the well-liked pieces by Ravel and Debussy, plus an infrequently recorded one by Poulenc. To my taste, the selections by Badings and Argento are less memorable but worth a listen. The sound engineering captures a lot of gentle nuances in the voices amid ample but not excessive reverberation. This is definitely a disc that rewards one's musical curiosity.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ethereal May 23, 2003
Upon his retirement from the Atlanta Symphony (actually before he retired), Robert Shaw concentrated on and did recordings of more intimate music with his Festival Singers and the Quercy Institute. Most of these are gems to be cherished (his Schubert for Male Chorus is wonderful!) And other than the Rachmaninov Vespers, I would have to highly recommend this recording simply for the Britten "Hymn to St. Cecilia". This is a truly beautiful and intimate work by Britten that has usually been best served by British choirs. But this recording has warmth, clarity, precise diction and intonation, and movement. As with many scores that Shaw interpreted, he pulls out small things that bring the score to life. The "Hymn..." breathes and moves, and the singers keep up to the demanding tempo in the 2nd movement without a hitch. This is a brilliant piece of music that Shaw and his singers bring to glorious life. I was also impressed with the music of Henk Badings, whom I had never heard of before. And the choral music of Ravel and Debussy (who knew they wrote choral music?) is given equally tender readings. Other than the Vespers and the Schubert, this is a Shaw recording to have and listen to and enjoy.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A obligatory listen for all choir nerds August 19, 2001
In the course of my rather extensive study of the "Hymn to St. Cecilia" this summer, I searched for various recordings of the piece and came across this album along the way, a great relief after hearing several recordings in which the ensemble was not able to follow the demanding tempi Britten intended. The late Shaw and his impeccably trained singers have, yet again, come quite close to perfection.
It is very decidedly Shaw, the ultimate choir giant, as evidenced in the very musical interpretation and the big, legato sound of the ensemble. Diction and dynamics seem a little neglected at times (which could be a problem with the recording or the hall, not the singing), and there are a few intonation troubles, but far be it from this little fish in the choral pond to give any real criticisms.
If you have not heard the "Hymn to St. Cecilia", this is a good first listen to it, with a pretty accurate realization of Britten's tempi and the heart-wrenching quality of the soprano solo in the 3rd movement, "O dear white children". The other pieces on the CD are not as well-known to me, but are clearly excellent, well-performed examples of demanding works. If you can't get a hold of the David Willcocks LP of "Cecilia" with King's College Choir, "Appear and Inspire" is certainly my close second favorite.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a voice teacher and early music fan February 1, 2007
DOMINIC ARGENTO'S SONG 'I HATE AND LOVE'IS ONE OF THE MANY UNUSUAL SONGS IN THIS INTERESTING COLLECTION!

Robert Shaw (1916-1999). In his career whichspanned 6 decades and 4 cities, Robert Shaw transformed choral conducting into an art and nearly single-handedly raised its standards to a new level. For more than half a century he set the standard of excellence for choral music, enjoying a status of patriarch of vocal musical interpretation in the USA. The violinest Isaac Stern said of him: "Robert Shaw is without a doubt the leading choral conductor in the US...He is a practising and acknowledged master of an art that he teaches with passion and commitment."

This masterfully performed recording displays all of the above abilities of Robert Shaw and his meticulously trained singers, as well as his vast knowledge of the compositions he has chosen. And what a variety of works we have for our listening pleasure!

Britten's 'Hymn to St. Cecelia' was written during his return trip on a slow Swedish freighter along with the tenor Peter Pears, their voyage having been disrupted by wartime difficulties. The work was premiered on St. Cecelia's Day (Nov. 22), which was also Britten's birthday, by the BBC Singers. It is a very descriptive piece that made the most of W.H.Auden's poetic imagery.

The "Trois chansons' are Debussy's only published work for a cappella chorus. All three are excellent examples of the taste and simplicity Debussy brought to the setting of texts from ancient sources.

Ravel wrote his 'Trois Chansons' in 1915, while in the service; he wrote the words himself. They show the same assurance of color and nuance as his works for piano and orchestra.
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