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Vespers

Enhanced

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, April 28, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Kile Smith, Vespers performed by Piffaro, The Renaissance Band and The Crossing Chorus (Navona). What a beautiful and remarkable thing this turns out to be. Here on a new label, is newly composed music in the spirit of the Renaissance and "the musical flowering of the Lutheran Reformation" that seems to combine both the most sumptuous beauty of Church music with the charm and delight of court music. It's altogether gorgeous and haunting. And when, out of some necessity of text and some version of harmonic calamity, a sudden dissonance arrives that out-Gesualdos Gesualdo, you remember that Kile Smith is a 21st century composer living in Philadelphia who has, almost like some Borgesian Pierre Menard (who wrote "Don Quixote" out of his own modern needs), synthesized all of this anew out of what has gone before. It would appear that we now have a piece of contemporary music that, in its very different way, deserves to be mentioned along with Rachmaninoff's "Vespers." The performance here is stunning. -- The Buffalo News, Jeff Simon, April 19, 2009

American composer Kile Smith (b. 1956) has been a mainstay of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania music scene for many years and is the curator of the famed Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music at the Free Library of Philadelphia. In his compositional life, Smith has written a distinguished body of orchestral, chamber, and choral pieces that displays imaginative use of traditional materials. Music inspired by sacred themes (both church and concert pieces) forms the vast majority of his output, and this newest CD release features his largest work: a full Lutheran Vespers service, scored for choir and Renaissance wind band.

Smith's Vespers (2008) is a magnificent achievement: it draws on the contrapuntal and textural idioms of Renaissance and Baroque music to create a fresh, vibrant musical statement in a contemporary harmonic language. The many instruments of the Piffaro Renaissance band are employed in myriad delightful combinations--from gentle, pastoral recorders with harp to a blazing chorus of shawms, dulzians, and sackbuts.

Like his Lutheran predecessors in the Renaissance and Baroque era, Smith bases many of the movements upon traditional chorale melodies. These prove fertile ground for his own harmonic explorations, and the whole work bursts with the invention that characterizes the best music (from any era) of this sort. The performance is excellent--Piffaro has distinguished itself through many records of period music, and The Crossing is a recently created choir (brainchild of conductor Donald Nally) that performs contemporary choral music exclusively.

This disc is one of the first few releases on the new Navona record label (the classical imprint of Parma Recordings). All Navona releases include a marvelous feature: PDF-file study scores of the music on the CD are included on a data layer (to be viewed via a computer). -- Fanfare, Carson Cooman, December 20 2009

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Product details

  • Performer: Piffaro, The Crossing
  • Conductor: Donald Nally
  • Composer: Kile Smith
  • Audio CD (April 28, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: Navona
  • ASIN: B001UPIWQS
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,459 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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on February 17, 2015
Format: Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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on November 21, 2011
Format: Audio CD
12 helpful votes
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on July 20, 2016
Format: Audio CD
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