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Whitacre: Cloudburst and Other Choral Works Import
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At the age of only 35, Eric Whitacre has already gained a phenomenal reputation in the United States. The Los Angeles Times described his music as having âelectric, chilling harmonies; works of unearthly beauty and imaginationâ and his Water Night (included on this new recording) has become one of the most popular choral works of the last decade, and is one of the top-selling choral publications of all time.
Eric Whitacre is one of the leading lights of the choral music scene. The 14 text-centered, emotionally-charged works on this well-filled disc suggest why. Outwardly conservative, his music is full of fascinating harmonic explorations, dynamic shifts, and rhythmic nuances that make them fun to sing and absorbing to listen to. The texts are drawn from poets of the stature of e.e. cummings, Octavio Paz, Garcia Lorca, and Emily Dickinson, among others. And they pack emotional power, as in When David Heard, whose Biblical text is illuminated by powerful tiered dynamics. Hes adept at tonal contrasts as well, the soaring sopranos in Sleep have their counterparts in a firm bass line. In Cloudburst he adds piano and percussion to the unaccompanied chorus to dramatic effect, and in some works, such as Cummings' "hope, faith, life, love" he chooses to set only a handful of the poem's text, with harmonic movements and other unexpected twists focusing attention. The fine English chorus, Polyphony, is at their best here, clearly relishing the inventiveness of the music, and the sound is from Hyperion's top drawer. --Dan Davis
Top customer reviews
The choir that is performing Whitacre's works has a sound that's as clear as a bell. Their blend is exquisit. Personally, when I listen to these tracks, especially "hope faith life love", my breathing changes, as if the music is putting breath into my being. I know that probably sounds a bit over the top, but the choir doesn't just sing Whitacre's music, they breath life into it with their dynamic phrasing of the melodies and harmonies.
In any case, this is a great album, with a great choir singing the music of one of the greatest composers of our day. This is an album which should be in every classical listener's library, if not the whole world's library.
I think that my biggest complaint has to be with "When David Heard..." (hence my reservations of giving this a higher rating). There are some gorgeous things going on. But, it feels quite rushed like they are trying to shorten the length of the song. They nail the disonant chords right on, but sometimes I feel like the sense of line really is missunderstood. It seems like they are singing for the sake of singing rather than really feeling the piece and giving each phrase its due length and texture. (This same thought goes with a few of the other songs on the recording).
The men tend to be a little muddy when they are really driving the sound out there. Watch out for the "wabbligato" guys.
I would have to say that both the BYU Singers recording and the Polyphony recording are great to have in your library if you love this type of music. Both have great strengths and beautiful things happening.