Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mormon Tabernacle Choir|
Heavensong: Music of Contemplation & Light
Genres: Pop, Classical
2010 release. Heavensong features beloved classical selections that will lift and transport you through a journey of light and hope. From new Mack Wilberg compositions to familiar melodies to 'The Prayer', this music is pe... more »
2010 release. Heavensong features beloved classical selections that will lift and transport you through a journey of light and hope. From new Mack Wilberg compositions to familiar melodies to 'The Prayer', this music is perfect for quiet contemplation. Heavensong is a poignant and beautiful offering unlike anything the Choir has recorded. Longtime fans and new listeners alike will be captivated by this sublime musical feast.
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Astonishingly beautiful -- the Choir's sound is transformed!
Customer Bob | USA | 01/12/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is much to admire about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's signature sound - confident, mature, stirring. And when you hear those blazing climaxes at the end of, say, "Battle Hymn of the Republic" or "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," you can't help but feel certain that's what the Choir was made for. That is why this new recording has left me somewhat at a loss for words. It is an astounding performance - quiet, youthful, fresh, chamberistic, delicately nuanced, subtle, elegant, refined. In short, a revelation.
I don't know what kind of magic it takes to get 360 singers, who from what I've seen are mostly old enough to be grandparents, and transform that choral sound into something like the chamber purity of an English cathedral choir (only with better intonation!). But listening to Howard Goodall's "The Lord is My Shepherd" on this disk convinces me that Mack Wilberg is the magician that made it happen. I have never heard such sweet, innocent, and tender musical phrases coaxed out of this group, or any other large choir for that matter. And yet none of the Choir's trademark warmth or maturity is sacrificed in the process. It is innocent but not naive, rich yet pure, at once fresh and traditional. Another example... the luminous halo of sound the Choir creates around the orchestra in Faure's Pavane and Massenet's "Meditation" is spell-binding - at times I couldn't tell if they were singing or not, so perfectly was the timbre and intonation matched with the instrumental parts. The result, as with virtually everything on this disk, is astonishingly beautiful.
The repertory is something of a throwback to the Richard Condie days when the Choir dipped more often into the classics. But rather than emphasizing versatility and contrasts, as on those old LPs, this recording focuses exclusively on the quiet, sacred, and contemplative. A couple of familiar Bach cantata movements, the Faure Pavane, Franck's "Panis Angelicus," Massenet and Chesnokov constitute the "old" classics, lovingly rendered. And they're matched with some really appealing contemporary works.
Wilberg's own arrangements and compositions are a side dish here, not the main course. They are attractive without being cloying; the arrangement of "Brother James's Air" stands out as a particularly moving work. John Rutter's "I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes" is a great piece (which I can't always say of Rutter - sometimes he lapses into self-parody) and not all that easy to sing. It's given a virtually flawless rendition here. The Goodall Psalm 23 is a gem. Ralph Manuel's "Alleluia" is also a very effective piece, beautifully sung, and David Foster's "The Prayer" (a concession to popular culture, but in character with the rest of the repertory) allows the Choir to release some of that pent-up bravura that was so masterfully held in check for the rest of the recording. The Orchestra at Temple Square plays throughout with a radiance and musical assuredness that would be the envy of many professional orchestras.
The sound engineering is crisp and the sound is very forward on the recording. The microphones pick up every pianissimo whisper and subtle nuance, as well as the odd floor creak, chair squeak, and page turn. But the ambient noise is unobtrusive, a necessary byproduct of the quiet repertory, and I'll happily take it and keep the clarity rather than have it (and much of the recording's humanity and immediacy) removed through filtering and studio manipulation.
There are any number of orchestras and choirs that have fine musical technique and can give clean, polished renditions of pretty much any score you put in front of them. But too often the end result is a splendid surface and a hollow interior. I don't think there's any other team quite like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, who are able to combine finely-honed musicality with a deep fervor, especially in quiet, sacred repertoire like this. The result is, for me, spiritually rewarding as well as musically stunning, and I'm very eager to see more of this kind of thing from the choir. Bravi, tutti!
LOVE IT, WOW!
LT Joel | San Diego, CA USA | 01/20/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Amazing! They do it again with another great album! I am MOVED by this beautiful CD! Very touching and almost life changing as I listen! Highly recommend to anyone and everyone!"
Too much of a good thing
Cristi Jenkins | 02/01/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is no question that Mack Wilburg can create absolutely beautiful music. The rich, lush orchestral accompaniments go hand in hand with the superb sound created by the choir. With that said, by the time I finished listening to this cd, I wanted a little more variety. To me listening to the cd was like eating a meal that only consisted of chocolate souffle, rich chewy brownies and eggnog. Give me some a capella pieces or something with a chamber orchestral accompaniment. A lighter touch on some of the pieces would have worked better for my tastes. The music at times seemed over-saturated with texture and in my opinion needed a balance of less dense arrangements to compliment the rich pieces. With that said, however, I would still recommend that people buy the cd."