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Life and Breath: Choral Works by Rene Clausen [Hybrid SACD - DSD]

Kansas City Chorale , Clausen , Charles Bruffy Audio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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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 TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. All that Hath Life and Breath Praise the LordSarah Tannehill 3:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. O magnum mysteriumPamela Williamson 3:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. The TygerRebecca Lloyd 2:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. The LambLindsey Lang 4:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Mass: KyrieSarah Tannehill 4:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Mass: GloriaSarah Tannehill 4:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Mass: CredoSarah Tannehill 7:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Mass: SanctusSarah Tannehill 2:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Mass: Agnus DeiSarah Tannehill 6:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. MagnificatPamela Williamson 6:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. PrayerKansas City Chorale 4:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. O vos omnesSarah Tannehill 8:15Album Only
listen13. A New Creation: Set me as a sealKansas City Chorale 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Life and Breath: Choral Works by Rene Clausen + Northern Lights: Choral Works by Ola Gjeilo + Tender Light
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Product Details

  • Conductor: Charles Bruffy
  • Composer: Clausen
  • Audio CD (June 26, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B007WB5CGW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,643 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews


2013 GRAMMY Award winner, Best Choral Performance (Charles Bruffy, conductor) and, Best Engineered Album, Classical (Tom Caulfield & John Newton, engineers; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer).

Produced by 2013 GRAMMY Award winner for Producer Of The Year, Classical, Blanton Alspaugh --National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, 2013

Clausen's music is freewheeling, tonal, slightly eclectic, and beautifully wedded to the texts he chooses…His melodies are exceptionally expressive while his harmonies perfectly support the communicative abilities of his intentions.

This well-selected collection highlights his career from early to more recent, including such stellar 'hits' as the opening All that Hath Life and Breath Praise ye the Lord. . .

Clausen has been especially successful in writing music according to the abilities of his ensembles, which makes The Tyger and The Lamb all the more exciting for their ability to conjure emotion while using the simplest of means. I found the Magnificat maybe the most melodically alluring while the more daring harmonics of O vos omnes are highly moving.

The other pieces are equally engaging and make fine filler. Bruffy's forces are in top notch condition while Chandos's capturing of the ambience at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Kansas City translates into truly superb surround sound, from the mellow pianissimos to the forceful fortes, spread to perfection among all the speakers. A record to cherish. --Audiophile Audition

'Life and Breath' has a pleasing choice of liturgical and sacred texts, and René Clausen's word-setting is always appropriate and approachable to listeners. Much of the music moves at slow tempi but dancing jazzy rhythms in the manner of Robert Chilcott or John Rutter are heard in All that hath life and breath, praise ye the Lord and the Gloria from the Mass. Elsewhere, you'll hear slow, sustained and widely spaced chordal textures, which are so characteristic of composers including Lauridsen, Mealor and Whitacre. However, Clausen's harmonic language is generally richer, with expressive bitonality and modulations. In this respect, his style is akin to that of Herbert Howells, as you'll hear par excellence in The Lamb and the Mass's Agnus Dei.

All this presents quite a challenge for choirs, which the Kansas City Chorale under the assured direction of Charles Bruffy are fully capable of meeting. They do so with bright, youthful, polished singing, giving Clausen's music fine advocacy. It's also good to listen to new, fresh settings of words that are well known through other composer's works. O magnum mysterium by Lauridsen and Set me as a seal by William Walton may be familiar pieces but listeners may prefer Clausen's more overtly emotional music. Certainly his choral works deserve wider international recognition and would be worthy additions to the choral repertoire. --Gramophone Magazine, August 2012

Product Description

Although he writes in all genres, Rene Clausen is today one of America's most popular choral composers, and for more than twenty years he has been the conductor of the internationally acclaimed Concordia Choir of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. On this release, choral works by Clausen are performed by the Kansas City Chorale, another choir of great international renown, whose recording, with the Phoenix Chorale, of Grechaninov's Passion Week won a Grammy award in 2008, in the category Best Classical Recording, Engineering. 'Set me as a Seal' is arguably the composer's best-known work, and has long been popular at weddings, funerals, and in the concert repertoire. Clausen has described the work as 'various kinds of discussions between God and humans, both from the human aspect and from the God aspect, so a lot of variations… of love, of disappointment, of anxiety, of doubt'. All that hath life and breath is one of Clausen's earliest works, and a favourite of choirs across the world. The Mass for Double Choir was commissioned by the Kansas City Chorale. The composer, who had never written a mass before, looked on it as an 'interesting challenge'. In the work emotions ebb and flow kaleidoscopically, taking the listener from the strength of the unison writing at the opening, to the sorrowful falling lines of the Crucifixion of Christ and the bubbling, dancing figures for the Resurrection. Expressions of praise spill forward atop one another in the Sanctus, a choir of angels too exuberant to be contained.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Masterly, but not top drawer October 29, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Four stars is a perfect rating for this CD, which is good but not superb. Rene Clausen is a skillful, effective, and masterly composer, but his music lacks the superb beauty, power and originality of his best contemporaries, such as Americans Whitacre and Lauridsen, Norwegian/American Ola Gjielo, and of course, the great modern Baltics: Esenwalds, Vasks, and Miskinis. Personally, I have yet to hear any modern Brits who can really play in this field. All that said, I want to make it clear that I do recommend this CD if you love contemporary choral music as I do. Frankly, there isn't really all that much available, and this a valuable and worthy addition to the collection. To me, what costs Clausen's work a fifth star is it's lack originality, and more importantly, those powerful and mysterious harmonies that have shown up in 21st century compositions by the composers mentioned above, especially the Baltics. Similarly, both Whitacre and Gjeilo have, of late, come up with several strikingly beautiful and moving melodies, something which has been missing from "classical" music for so long now. As far as I am concerned, great melodies are the rarest, most difficult, and most valuable creations a composer can invent.

As always, Charles Bruffy and his forces, in this case the Kansas City Chorale, are excellent. I love the deep, hearty and expressive sound that I hear coming from these American choral groups, especially under Bruffy's leadership. While Stephen Layton and the Holy Trinity Choir are extremely talented and professional, I often find their work just a tad flat, the voices too clean and polite, perhaps a bit over-refined. Maybe it's just my imagination, but I feel as if there's more depth and emotion with Bruffy conducting his American forces.

So, if you're in the market for this type of music, I recommend you add this to your collection. I have listened to it several times, and continue to enjoy it. This is good stuff, just not the best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely beautiful. October 21, 2013
By susana
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Bought one for myself, then for my dad. Stunning and mesmerizing, Grammy winning musical art. I am looking forward to more from this choral group.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great sound, interesting music July 28, 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Demo quality sound, and you may love the music (or not). Anyway, I found it worthwhile and some friends also really enjoyed it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Comment on Life and Breath March 23, 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Having sung under Charles Bruffy's direction for several years (not the KC Chorale) I can attest that "Life and Breath" is among his best.
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