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ROME'S GOLDEN POETS

 

This recording is the first project of its kind, a disc dedicated to late Republican and Augustan poetry, set to music from the fifteenth century to the present day. The selection includes extracts from Aeneid IV, a fragment of Eclogue IV, two Catullan poems and a series of Horatian odes. Each piece is sung in a manner appropriate to the composer's origins, so that listeners may hear Classical, Italianate and Germanic Latin in the different selections. The disc is accompanied by a booklet containing both texts and translations, together with an informative article by the Chorus's conductor, Philip Barnes, who also held the Johnston Endowed Chair in Classics at John Burroughs School, a private high school in St. Louis. The disc has been co-produced by Bolchazy-Carducci and the Chamber Chorus.

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For sound samples of selected tracks, click on the play button in front of the title to hear the first 45 seconds of the piece.

 

 

1. Odi Et Amo — Jacob Handl (1550-1591)

 

2. Passer Mortuus Est — Gian-Francesco Malipiero (1882-1973)

 

3. Fama, Malum — Josquin Des Prez (c.1455-1521)

 

4. Oráculo — José Antônio de Almeida Prado (b.1943)

 

5. At Trepida Et Cœptis — Jacob Arcadelt (c.1505-c.1567)

 

6. Dulces Exuviæ — Adrian Willaert (c.1490-1562)

 

7. Dulces Exuviæ — Jacob Handl

 

8. Dulces Exuviæ — Josquin Des Prez

 

9. Felices Ter — Johann Walther (1496-1570)

 

10. Felices Ter — Randall Thompson (1899-1984)

 

11. Justum Et Tenacem — Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967)

 

12. Montium Custos — Randall Thompson

 

13. O Venus — Peter Cornelius (1824-1874)

 

14. Vitas Hinnuleo — Randall Thompson

 

15. Rectius Vives — Zoltán Kodály

 

16. Oderunt Hilarem — Jacob Handl

 

17. O Fons Bandusiae — Randall Thompson

 

18. Principibus Placuisse — Jacob Handl

 

In Honorem Vitæ — Antonín Tucapsky (b.1928)

 

      19. Ne Forte Credas

 

      20. Iam Satis

 

      21. Nunc Est Bibendum

 

      22. Eheu Fugaces

 

      23. Tu Ne Quaesieris

 

24. Old Horatius Had A Farm — Z. Randall Stroope (b.1953)

CD Reviews

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (February 6, 2000)

St. Louis Chamber Chorus CD puts some classic poetry to song

The St. Louis Chamber Chorus has a new CD on the market, one that reflects both its goals as an a cappella choral group committed to singing works in their original language and the interest of its artistic director, Philip Barnes. "Rome's Golden Poets: A Cappella Settings of Latin verse" (SLCC05) offers a well-sung selection of poetry by Catullus (some of his cleaner stuff), Horace and Virgil.

 

Because Barnes' day job is teaching classics at John Burroughs School, we may be certain that the pronunciations are spot on for classical (as opposed to church) Latin. Because Barnes' night job is that of a choral conductor with a gift for selecting programs that hang together, we have been given a varied group of 24 poetic settings by composers from Josquin Des Prez (c. 1455-1521) to Peter Cornelius (1824-1874) to Z. Randall Stroope (b. 1953). There are a few harmonically astringent moments for contrast, but all but the most conservative listeners should find it quite approachable.

 

In a nice touch, many of the translations are by England's golden poets, including William Wordsworth, John Dryden and the appealingly odd Christopher Smart, with Barnes filling in where needed. Not surprisingly, given Barnes' sense of humor, amid all the high seriousness of most of the subject matter, there are a couple of moments of whimsy for balance. There are some lovely musical discoveries waiting to be made on "Rome's Golden Poets." The balance and tuning are generally excellent; the choice of subject matter refreshing, something different that's not already available in 10 different versions on major labels. Barnes' program notes are, as usual, well-written and informative. [Sarah Bryan Miller, Post-Dispatch Classical Music Critic]