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Whitbourn: Living Voices; Son of God Mass; Requiem canticorum

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 6, 2011
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  • Whitbourn: Living Voices; Son of God Mass; Requiem canticorum
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Editorial Reviews

James Whitbourn is known for his 'boundless breadth of choral imagination' (The Observer) resulting in
compositions of brilliance and power. His extraordinary work for choir, saxophone and organ, Son of God Mass,
receives a new recording from the young voices of one of Westminster Choir College of Rider University's finest
chamber choirs under the leading American choral conductor James Jordan. It is heard alongside a collection of premiere recordings of other works associated with life and death, including the Requiem canticorum and Living Voices, a work to commemorate the dead of 9/11 with a poem by Andrew Motion.
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Westminster Williamson Voices
  • Conductor: James Jordan
  • Composer: James Whitbourn
  • Audio CD (September 6, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B005CCJQK6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,548 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The luminosity and sheer beauty of Whitbourn's composing style is brought to unusual heights by the skills of the Williamson Voices and their conductor, James Jordan. The entire album is a collection of choral music with a spiritual center. The composer's use of saxophone and organ, interweaving with those lovely young Westminster voices, attain a kind of choral glory unusual for any music, extraordinary for 'contemporary' music. The album soothes, stretches, pulls the listener to places of fascination and high emotion, captivates and can often amaze. It is an exalted achievement.
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By yogavoice on September 20, 2011
Format: Audio CD
This recording is a revelation. Somehow, I had never been exposed to the music of James Whitbourn prior to hearing this recording. In all honesty, it is difficult to imagine more beautiful music...at times the composition seems other-worldly. From the opening saxophone melody to the final "Amen", Whitbourn captures the essence of these liturgical texts, presenting them in a musical language that is both imaginative and deeply inspiring.

Equally compelling is the singing of the Williamson Voices ensemble from Westminster Choir College. Under the direction of James Jordan, the quality of singing from the "student" ensemble is testament to the fact that a choral ensemble can embody the honesty of tone and expression that Jordan advocates in his many books. Jordan's philosophy of "evoking sound" shines through in every phrase.

While the recording contains fresh performances of works that have been previously recorded (e.g., the Son of God Mass), this new disc features world premiere recordings of some of Whitbourn's more recent works. A fabulous recording on so many levels.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Having read the other reviews on this site for this beautiful recording, I find I can do no more than repeat their superlatives. This is a beautiful and inspiring recording of some of the best music of the decade past. From the moment I first listened to it, it became my constant companion. It is both soaring and incredibly intimate..perfect listening under all circumstances. I recommend it heartily to all of my students and, in fact, to all music lovers. (I might add, that with its combination of a contemporary and a more classical feel it appeals to all ages, and all levels of musical sophistication..My kids adore it!)
I say this belongs in every music lovers library of recordings!
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Format: Audio CD
Other reviewers have commented eloquently on the sheer beauty of Whitbourn's music, and I must add my voice to theirs.

Not only is his music breathtakingly opulent, it is extremely affecting and effective, bathing the listener completely in its atmosphere and directly translating a hauntingly introspective feeling. The listener is transported into an undulating world that cradles you, rocks you, consoles you, and uplifts you!

The musical style is a perfect hybrid of classical choral setting and contemporary sensibility that will resonate with listeners of any age and musical preference.

Some of the music owes its existence to Whitbourn's writing for BBC television documentaries, which he then extended and enhanced into standalone choral works. Other music in this collection were commissions for the anniversary of 911 (it takes a moment to realize that under the chorus, you're hearing a mournful Star Spangled Banner), a South African anti-apartheid prayer, the setting of poetry, etc. There is one work for saxophone and organ alone, too. The CD comes with generous notes by the composer, however there is no text (but several pieces are in English).

It isn't the simple beauty of the melodic line, nor the pure, clear young voices, nor the forlorn soprano sax, nor the warm pedal tones of the resonant organ - it is ALL those things washing over you, and then getting under your skin.

You won't want it to end...
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