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Colors of Love - Chanticleer

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Audio CD, May 18, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The versatile 12-voice male vocal ensemble Chanticleer sings eight distintive works by contemporary composers. Five of the compositions were specifically for the group, notably John Tavener's "Village Wedding."

This compilation of modern-day madrigals, the latest in a fascinating series of discs from the San Francisco-based all-male vocal group Chanticleer, won the Grammy for Best Small Ensemble Performance of 1999. The selections range over a variety of styles and aesthetics, from the haunting, hypnotic sounds of Steven Stucky's Cradle Songs to the archaic, ethereal beauty and Eastern inflections of John Tavener's "Village Wedding." There are the soft (and somewhat affected) asperities of Bernard Rands' Canti d'Amor as well as the gentle, almost English pastoralism of Zhou Long's "Words of the Sun" (beautiful!) and the colorfully exotic Orientalism of Chen Yi's Tang Poems. Other examples of the wide range here are the self-conscious busywork of Augusta Read Thomas's Love Songs to the darkly lush, 12-part weave of Steven Sametz's "In Time Of," with its radiant climax and pulsating chordal sonorites like the tolling of bells. All of this Chanticleer sings with striking freshness and commitment, virtuosic to a fare-thee-well, always sensitive to the emotional cues of the texts. The recording, made at Skywalker Ranch in January of 1999, is vivid and warm, and so is much of the music. Truly a winning disc. --Ted Libbey

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Stucky : Cradle Songs : I "Rouxinol do pico reto" 4:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Stucky : Cradle Songs : II "Lilajze, Jezuniu" 3:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Stucky : Cradle Songs : III Buy Baby Ribbon 2:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Tavener : Village Wedding 9:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Rands : Canti d'amor : "Winds of May, that dance on the sea" 1:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Rands : Canti d'amor : "O cool is the valley" 1:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Rands : Canti d'amor : "This heart that flutters near my heart" 2:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Rands : Canti d'amor : "Silently she's combing her long hair" 1:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Rands : Canti d'amor : "Gentle lady, do not sing sad songs" 2:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Rands : Canti d'amor : "Sleep now, O you unquiet herd" 1:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Rands : Canti d'amor : "All day I hear the noise of waters" 2:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Zhou Long : Words of the Sun 4:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. Chen Yi : Tang Poems : Written on a Rainy Night 3:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. Chen Yi : Tang Poems : Wild Grass 2:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. Thomas : The Rub of Love 2:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
16. Sametz : "In time of" 9:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
17. Thomas : Love Songs : "Look out upon the stars, my love" 1:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
18. Thomas : Love Songs : "Love is a beautiful dream" 2:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
19. Thomas : Love Songs : "Alas, the love of woman" 2:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
20. Thomas : Love Songs : "For stony limits cannot hold love out" 1:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
21. Thomas : Love Songs : "All mankind love a lover" 1:00$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Composer: Steven Stucky, John Tavener, Bernard Rands, Long Zhou, Chen Yi, et al.
  • Audio CD (May 18, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Teldec Classics
  • ASIN: B00000IWR3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,114 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "ragamala78" on November 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
First of all let me state that the 4 stars isn't for the performance...which is truly is for a few pieces that are a tad sub-par. I also want to mention that its not that the pieces are modern either, I happen to be extremely sympathetic to modern music.
I usually don't like to do reviews this way, but I'm going to make a few comments piece by piece:
1) CRADLE SONGS - The first two of this trio of lullabies are great...the ones from Brazil & Poland are hauntingly beautiful...I'm not so crazy about the one from Tobago. A fairly strong piece, its certainly interesting.
2) VILLAGE WEDDING - This is one of the best three pieces on the album, and probably the best. Hearing John Tavener's work next to his contemporaries is an easy indicator of why he is considered one of this century's greatest and certainly one of the greatest living composers. Simultaneously it is joyous, austere, reverent & spiritual. Simply beautiful & amazing.
3) CANTI D'AMOUR - This is an up & down work. I'm not sure what the composer had in mind, but I find the first part to be amusing. It reminds me of barbershop quartet. It has more somber moments too that are quite moving. Overall though, its okay.
4) WORDS OF THE SUN - After the Tavener piece, this is my favorite one. I would like to hear some of Zhou Long's other works. It is a very subtle piece. Very Chinese too, yet simultaneously western. This is one of my favorite pieces by eastern composers of western music. Lyrically, it is amazing. Its borrowed from a 20th century Chinese poem that is gorgeous in English, I'm sure its even more so in Chinese. Musically, it is very stirring.
5) TANG POEMS - This piece too is written by a Chinese composer (Chen Yi) and it is distinctly Chinese.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By B. A Riesgraf on January 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This compilation is essential listening, especially (but not exclusively) for those already introduced to the marvels of Chanticleer. It features a wide variety of contemporary madrigals all dedicated to the theme of love. Gorgeous polyphony, entrancing dissonance; the music is very difficult, but Chanticleer's vocalism is exemplary, as always. The whole feel of the album takes some getting used to for the uninitiated. After a few listenings, though, one can fully perceive its unique and sublime beauty.

Highlights abound. The first three tracks, all lullabies by Steven Stucky, are brilliantly executed, but it is track four, Village Wedding by John Taverner, that first knocked my socks off. It seems to represent the absolutely ideal match between composer and performer, between written and sung text. It consists of a wonderful poem by Greek poet Angelos Sikelianos, with a recurring excerpt from the Eastern Orthodox wedding ceremony interspersed throughout. Taverner is himself a member of the Eastern Orthodox church, and the song is as much a spiritual experience as a musical one.

Another fantastic piece is Words of the Sun, by Chinese composer Zhou Long. It is probably the most accessible song on the CD, with numerous lovely subtleties and nuances that can be fully appreciated after multiple exposures.

Lastly, I'd like to express my sincere conviction that In Time Of (by Steven Sametz, set to a poem by E.E. Cummings) is the single most gorgeous piece of music I have ever had the great fortune to hear. The sonority is perfectly balanced, each arching phrase better than the one before. Please, for the sake of pure unadulterated beauty, purchase this CD. You will not regret it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. P. Cooman on September 21, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Chanticleer is one of the USA's finest choral ensembles, and they have picked a marvelous and diverse program for this recording -- with something that would appeal to absolutely everybody. The inclusion of two "husband-wife" pairs in the choice of music also makes for a special connection to the theme of the disc. Of special note to this reviewer are the "delicious" sonorities of Bernard Rands's "Canti d'Amor" and Augusta Read Thomas's "Love Songs" -- Chanticleer is a group who is able to pull off this difficult music beautifully. This recording was absolutely deserving of the Grammy that is received -- one of the finest discs of modern choral music in the past few years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Swinton on April 25, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Chanticleer must surely be the greatest vocal chamber group in America. On this disc, the virtuosity of these twelve men is stretched to all possible limits in a programme of highly contrating contemporary works. Every item on this disc is a premiere recording, and it all depends on what you like. I, of course, find the Tavener "Village Wedding" to be a very arresting piece and Chanticleer prove themselves to be worthy interpreters of it. The incomparable music of Augusta Read Thomas, with very fierce dissonances, deliciously "blue" melodies and even wild sporadic laughter at one point, could not be more different that the Tavener, nor for that matter could the exquisite works by the Japanese composer Zhou Long or the colourful madrigal-like pieces by Steven Stucky. Yet, whatever you like or don't like about it, all this music is united by the incredible talents of this group. I was at times staggered by their flexibility and meticulousness.
This CD makes for utterly rewarding listening, containing as it does many surprises and an eclectic range of pieces. Congratulations to Chanticleer and Teldec for making it- let's hope for more like it in the future!
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