SAINT LOUIS CLASSICS
The Chorus was delighted to partner for this sixth release with Regent Records, the distinguished label from the UK known for their expertise in choral music recordings. It also is the product of a successful collaboration between British producer, Gary Cole, as well as the Chorus’ own sound engineer, Daniel Ruder. While the Chamber Chorus has earned a reputation for championing modern compositions and lesser-known choral works, this CD showcases the Chorus in classic repertoire from the canon of unaccompanied choral music. The CD includes music by Vaughan Williams, Orlando Gibbons, Robert Schumann, Arnold Schoenberg as well as and modern-day composer Bob Chilcott. The music was recorded at Second Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, thanks to their generosity. Each disc includes a detailed booklet with all texts and translations, as well as informative essays and historical analysis by Artistic Director, Philip Barnes.
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. *O Praise The Lord Lord Of Heaven — Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958)
2. *Invocation to Pan — Granville Bantock (1868 – 1946)
3. Jézus és a Kufárok — Zoltán Kodály (1882 – 1967)
4. The Silver Swan — Orlando Gibbons (1583 – 1625)
5. **Silver Swan — Bob Chilcott (b. 1955)
6. Voskreseniye Hristovo Videvshe (op. 59, 8) — Alexander Gretchaninov (1864 – 1956)
7. Rakastava (op. 14) — Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957)
Romanzen und Balladen (op. 67) — Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856)
8. Der König von Thule
9. Schön Rohtraut
12. John Anderson
Three Songs of Democracy — Roy Harris (1898 – 1979)
13. To Thee, Old Cause
14. Year That Trembled
15. Freedom, Toleration
16. Friede auf Erde (op. 13) — Arnold Schoenberg (1874 – 1951)
* First recording on CD
** World premiere recording
Choir & Organ (November/December 2018)
The Saint Louis Chamber Chorus is extremely adept at singing testing works in foreign languages. The main body of this eclectic programme comes from composers born during the 19th century. The singers give an exhilarating performance of Granville Bantock’s Invocation to Pan and a penetrating interpretation of Kodaly’s retelling of Jesus throwing the moneylenders out of the temple, Jezus es a Kufarok. The commissioned piece is by Bob Chilcott, who was asked to intertwine two diverse texts and agreed to marry the text of Gibbons’s Silver Swan with one by the Roman poet Catullus on the death of his brother. Chilcott’s Silver Swan is one of his most poignant pieces, expressively conveyed. There are many goodies to savour here, particularly Schoenberg’s Friede auf Erden, in which Schoenberg takes the first steps towards casting aside his old romanticism in search of a new direction. It’s beautifully performed by the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus.
American Record Review (September 2018)
I remember reviewing this choir In an anthology of new music they had commissioned (May/June 2008). I came away wishing I had heard them in more substantial works crafted by higher profile composers. Well, that's what we have here. As you can tell from the heading, the program jumps all over the place temporally, harmonically, and stylistically.
Orlando Gibbons's Silver Swan (the one we all did in college) sounds lush and lovely with these 50 handsome voices setting the plaintive mood. It's paired with Bob Chllcott's heart-rending setting of another text inspired by the same graceful bird. Bantock's Invocation to Pan is a neo-pagan affair full of intense mood swings that are brought off with commendable flair. I also tip my cap to this expressive, high-energy Friede auf Erden. (What an absolute bear that is to sing!) Granted, the Grechanlnoff sounds more redolent of St Louis (or New York, where the composer lived) than St Petersburg. The soloists culled from the ranks are good, bordering on OK. But the dominant impression is of an able choir giving its best in a varied and valuable program that includes the first-ever recording of Vaughan Williams’s O Praise the Lord of Heaven! Notes, texts, and translations.
St. Louis Post Dispatch (September 2018)
The choir recently released its sixth recording from Britain’s Regent Records, St. Louis Classics. It’s a well-sung, well-engineered collection of first-rate choral works by composers including Vaughan Williams, Granville Bantock, Zoltán Kodály, Sibelius, Alexander Gretchaninov, Robert Schumann, Roy Harris and others, sung in everything from English to Old Church Slavonic.