Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|William Appling Singers & Orchestra|
The Revenge of Hamish & Other Choral Works
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
"The Revenge of Hamish," new choral works by William McClelland, has received high praise from critic Donald Rosenberg in July, 2004's "Gramophone" Magazine: "Vivid music, vividly sung . . . The music ranges far and wide,... more »
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"The Revenge of Hamish," new choral works by William McClelland, has received high praise from critic Donald Rosenberg in July, 2004's "Gramophone" Magazine: "Vivid music, vividly sung . . . The music ranges far and wide, embracing everything from Scottish folklorism and pop to many-layered, traditional a cappella writing. Whatever the style, the composer finds lucid and evocative solutions to the poems, all in English, which are set with such skill that it is almost possible to forgo the texts in the booklet . . . The William Appling Singers & Orchestra perform each piece with keen attention to words, blend and phrasing, and the instrumentalists are exceptional advocates for McClelland's appealingly direct manner of expression." Equally enthusiastic is William Zagorski, who writes in the January-February, 2005, issue of "Fanfare" Magazine: "McClelland is fully at home in a multiplicity of styles , and we are treated to a wide range of them on this release--from the tonally ambivalent parallel harmonies of 'Song for the Rainy Season,' the pop-inflections of 'The Ballad of Don and Dan,' the rarefied hymnody (sometimes jazz inflected) of the 'Five Sonnets for Men's Voices' and the ecologically inspired 'Collect Pond,' the symphonic grandeur of 'A Wood,' the offhand counterpoint of 'Wolf Moon,' to the ethnically Scottish flavors of 'The Revenge of Hamish.' Withal, a distinctively American composer's voice emerges, and it is both an imaginative and compelling one . . . Some of this program is a capella. Other numbers offer diverse instrumentations that deftly underscore the subtexts of the poems. In all cases, that point where language ends and music begins is magically blurred. The choral work is excellent and the instrumentalists play with both exactitude and enthusiasm, revealing a composer who is more than worthy of our attentions."
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Daniel Unger | California | 02/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There was a very good review for this recording in "Fanfare" magazine and it sounded quite interesting. The review didn't do it justice. Some of the pieces here are among the finest choral works I have heard. The texts McClelland uses are mostly American, and the music, while in varying styles, has a pure American voice running through it. This composer understands a beautiful, strong melody without ever resorting to triteness or cliches. In the piece set to a poem by Elizabeth Bishop, "Song for the Rainy Season," he seems to completely capture the description and atmosphere of the text's tropical setting, and the writing for the piano as well as the chorus demonstrates the work of a composer of consummate skill. The love sonnets written for male voices are, in a word, heartrending. The texts are perfection and the musical settings enhance each one, giving you a profound insight into the words. Isn't this, in large part, what choral music is supposed to do? Here is one composer who understands this, a composer who isn't writing just to show off his skills, but is really looking for something much deeper. It's just such intelligent and moving music, music that I keep coming back to. I'm so glad I took a chance on this one.
I couldn't find any other recordings by McClelland, but on the basis of this single CD, he takes his place among the ranks of our most interesting contemporary composers."