Heartfelt tribute to a great American composer
The Music Man | United States | 02/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This brand-new recording by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, under the direction of Dr. Craig Jessop is a labor of love.
A heart-felt tribute to renowned American composer Randall Thompson, "Choose Something Like A Star" gathers together some of his most beloved works, including "Frostiana" "The Peaceable Kingdom" "Alleluia" and "The Last Words Of David" and gives them richly sympathetic readings. Dr. Jessop was priviledged to meet Mr. Thompson many years ago, and has maintained a profound respect and admiration for the composer's music throughout his career.
If you are not familiar with Randall Thompson's works, you are in for a treat - his music is both subtle and profound, from the grand declamatory opening "The Last Words Of David" to the cool, peaceful "The Paper Reeds by the brooks;" from the idiomatic Americana of the "Frostiana" song cycle, to the shimmering eloquence of "Alleluia," Mr. Thompson was a master at matching musical phrases with the lyrics he was writing for. Listen to the playful give-and-take of "The Telephone" or the slow walking rhythm of "The Road Not Taken" and you'll understand. The more you listen to this CD, the more it grows on the listener.
The Tabernacle Choir sounds grand here, and no one else would be able to fully convey the power of "The Last Words Of David" or sustain the shimmering, smooth "Ye Shall Have A Song" like they can. Recorded in the Tabernacle (before it closed for extensive renovation) the sound is rich and full, matched note for note with the Orchestra at Temple Square.
I gave this CD to a friend who sang for years with the Utah Symphony Chorus, and he absolutely loves it. I recommend it for those who have sung or otherwise enjoyed the music of Randall Thompson, and for those who haven't, what are you waiting for?"
This will be "The Recording" of Frostiana for many years
CecilyK | Portland, OR United States | 08/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a recently born again fan of the MTC, so I had to pick this one up when it came out. I'm familiar with many of the pieces on the CD, so I was rather surprised with the orchestral arrangements that were included. (Frostiana was originally written for piano!) My surprise quickly turned into a wonderful listening experience as Craig Jessop sensitively led the choir through these beautiful standards of choral literature.
There were several places when the sheer size of the choir got in the way of me understanding the text, and there were balance issues with the orchestra and men/women in a few places. I imagine it's to be expected with a group this size, but it was distracting at times.
However, I was delighted to hear some pieces on this CD that I've never heard before. Craig Jessop and the MTC provide us with a wonderful 'greatest hits' of Randall Thompson with this recording. Bravo to the MTC for having the guts to take on such well-loved music. It's sad to me how little it is performed these days. I hope this CD brings all of these works back into high school and college performances."
A sublime recording
Bjarne Christensen | Bentwater, Texas | 06/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the past, I have often been critical of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It seemed to me that, regardless what type of music they performed, it all sounded the same. When Craig Jessop took over the podium five or six years ago, it was obvious that the choir's musicality and technique began to change for the better.
In my opinion, this recording is the culmination of that change. The choir's transformation to a Robert Shaw-like sound is marvelous. The soprano section has shed its vibrato and is now capable of proucing that elusive "white" sound that all modern choir directors seek to emulate from Robert Shaw. And the tenor section is now all that it can be. Wow!
With a superb collection of Randall Thompson's mystical and melodic choral music, this recording has become my all-time favorite. Along with The Los Angeles Master Chorale's "Lux Aeterna, this music is other-worldly. It is a huge landmark in choral singing and you should run, not walk, to get this recording.
It is simply fabulous!"