The seventh release on the British label Regent Records, St. Louis Premieres features entirely new works written specially for the Chamber Chorus; they receive their first commercial recording here. Selections celebrate the love of friends, family and spouses, some hail the salutary effect of a good pint of ale, while others evoke spirited dances. Characteristic of this choir, you will find selections by both male and female composers. Among the latter are poignant songs by Sasha Johnson Manning and Clare Maclean, while Melissa Dunphy examines the intersection of mortality and movement in Suite Remembrance. Such a contrast is never far from the voyage home of Odysseus, whose joyous reunion with Penelope is recounted in Ceaselessly Weaving Her Name by British composer Judith Bingham. Also hailing from Great Britain are Jonathan Dove and Gabriel Jackson, who manipulate double choir effects brilliantly in The Kerry Christmas Carol and Felices Ter. Similarly, a glorious paean to friendship is offered by the Latvian master, Eriks Esenvalds, who sets a memorable text by Khalil Gibran. Local composers are not overlooked either, with eloquent arrangements provided by Jon Garrett and Orin Johnson, both of whom clearly understand the distinctive timbre of this remarkable chamber choir.
A short film that documented the making of this 2019 recording was filmed by Dancing Fox Productions and may be viewed here.
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Financial support for the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus is made possible by grants from the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis., and the E. Reuben and Gladys Flora Grant Foundation.