Dave Brubeck: Sacred Choral Works

Audio Samples

>Brubeck, Dave : Canticles, for string quartet
>Brubeck, Dave : Ev'ry Christmas I Hear Bells, for chorus & piano
>Brubeck, Dave : Sleep, Holy Infant, Sleep, for chorus & piano
>Brubeck, Dave : Why We Sing at Christmas, for chorus & piano
>Brubeck, Dave : Precious Gift, His Wondrous Birth, for chorus
>Brubeck, Dave : The Commandments, for chorus
>Brubeck, Dave : Psalm 23, for chorus & piano
>Brubeck, Dave : Credo, for chorus
>Brubeck, Dave : Benediction, for chorus

Album Summary

>Brubeck, Dave : Canticles, for string quartet
>Brubeck, Dave : Ev'ry Christmas I Hear Bells, for chorus & piano
>Brubeck, Dave : Sleep, Holy Infant, Sleep, for chorus & piano
>Brubeck, Dave : Why We Sing at Christmas, for chorus & piano
>Brubeck, Dave : Precious Gift, His Wondrous Birth, for chorus
>Brubeck, Dave : The Commandments, for chorus
>Brubeck, Dave : Psalm 23, for chorus & piano
>Brubeck, Dave : Credo, for chorus
>Brubeck, Dave : Benediction, for chorus
Performers Conductors Ensemble
  • >
Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Dave Brubeck is a hallmark in Amerian music. His milestone LP, Time Out, with the blockbuster Take Five, was a hundred percenter, solid from start to finish, as, frankly, was the follower, Time Further Out, but he never again scaled the heights to that degree. Part of the reason for this was his refusal to stay in one place and endlessly rehash past glories. Like Paul Winter, Brubeck wanted to be a musician, not a hit factory (though I'm quite sure he wouldn't have objected had any other LPs or songs climbed the heights as dramatically as the Time pair).

Thus, with Songs of Praise, Dave ventured into religious waters, a task that has historically yielded interesting returns for such diverse artists as Keith Jarrett, Spooky Tooth (w/Pierre Henry), the Electric Prunes, David Axelrod, and other decidedly non-classicalist composers. Songs, however, is much more augustly slanted, a combination of gospel, chant, and Classical oratorio. With the Pacific Mozart Ensemble and Quartet San Francisco under the conductorships of Lynne Morrow and Richard Grant, he penned an hour's worth of sacred music centered in the Christian tradition--particularly, or so it seems to me, the Catholic bent.

This necessarily lends itself to more than one somber recital, as in soprano Mari Marjamaa's handling of Concordia within the Canticles cycle, a beautiful lament and commemoration of the birth of Jesus: lament for the inherent nature of the need of saviorship as against the sins of the world in scriptural canon, commemoration of the incipient salvation. Interestingly, the opening movement of the Salve Mater (Crucifixion) is jubilant upon the life of the Christ and the instrumentality of the Virgin Mary--founts, as the lyrics clearly extol, of hope for humanity. This is perhaps the most engrossing section of the entire CD, alternating between a lively blend of several chant traditions abetted by more modernist modes skillfully indexed, subsiding in quiet reflections on the approaching martyrdom.

Then come the more seasonal compositions (Ev'ry Christmas I Hear Bells, etc.) and addressals of Christian staples (Psalm 23 et al), none of which try for popular sentimentality and rhythms but rather pure musicality. Sleep, Holy Infant, Sleep is an excellent example, lullaby and luminous exaltation simultaneously, too complex for incorporation into the season's songbook but, well, beautiful. Even Brubeck's long pensee on The Commandments is engaging, an amalgam of rondo, seriality, and chant that pulls the listener into its enchanting mode, gospel accents interspersed. Thus, don't look to Songs of Praise for light holiday fare or popularized chorales in a jazz tempo; Brubeck was quite serious when he sat down to pen all this, and it requires concentrated listening to fully reveal the real depths dwelling in every track."- Mark S. Tucker, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

"Dave Brubeck, Sacred Choral Works, Songs of Praise, the Pacific Mozart Ensemble, Quartet San Francisco, Lynne Morrow and Richard Grant, conductors (Dorian Sono Luminus). The Catholic Church should rejoice that it got Dave Brubeck. His feelings are deep and real. These pieces vary wildly. "Sleep, Holy Infant, Sleep" is lovely, an excerpt from Brubeck's Christmas cantata "La Fiesta de la Posada," and I could see it catching on as a Christmas classic. "Why We Sing at Christmas" is actively annoying. Between these extremes are all kinds of things to chew on. "Commandments" mixes humor with piety. I do not know if Brubeck intended it this way, but I have to laugh when it goes in a scolding rhythm: "Thou shalt not ..." "Thou shalt not ..." "Thou shalt not ..." Sometimes it seems that way! Then it goes in shrill treble: "TELL THE ISRAELITES THIS!"

The "Credo" is a complicated case. Brubeck was one of three contemporary composers invited to complete this section from Mozart's unfinished "Great" C Minor Mass. At first assigned "Crucifixus" and "Resurrexit," Brubeck wound up writing an entire Credo. It is fun tracing where he was inspired by chant, where by Mozart, and where from his own disparate musical roots. A simple and lovely Benediction brings the disc to a reverent close. Praise to the Pacific Mozart Ensemble, an a cappella group, for bringing this music off with such bright, workmanlike spirit."-Mary Kunz Goldman, The Buffalo News

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - Anna Reguero
Yes, you read that correctly. This is a choral CD, with music written by famous jazzer Dave Brubeck, who happens to be adept in classical music. It shouldn't come as a surprise, since even his jazz writing is heavily influenced by classical counterpoint and more. The Pacific Mozart Ensemble with the Quartet San Francisco has worked to edit these works and perform them for all to hear on the Dorian Sono Luminus label. These are enjoyable works, mostly traditional in style, though Brubeck does insert extended, crunched harmonies, not unlike jazz, in key moments. The performers have given these works serious thought and work.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, CA (2009-08-15_2009-08-16&2009-).



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Works Details

>Brubeck, Dave : Canticles, for string quartet
  • Performers: Victor Floyd (Tenor); Dave Brubeck (Piano); Tanya Stum
  • Conductor: Lynne Morrow
  • Running Time: 30 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Brubeck, Dave : Ev'ry Christmas I Hear Bells, for chorus & piano
  • Performers: Dave Brubeck (Piano); Kymry Esainko (Piano)
  • Conductor: Lynne Morrow
  • Running Time: 2 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Christmas

>Brubeck, Dave : Sleep, Holy Infant, Sleep, for chorus & piano
  • Performers: Kymry Esainko (Piano); Dave Brubeck (Piano)
  • Conductor: Lynne Morrow
  • Running Time: 2 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Brubeck, Dave : Why We Sing at Christmas, for chorus & piano
  • Performers: Dave Brubeck (Piano); Kymry Esainko (Piano)
  • Conductor: Lynne Morrow
  • Running Time: 1 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Christmas

>Brubeck, Dave : Precious Gift, His Wondrous Birth, for chorus
  • Performer: Dave Brubeck (Piano)
  • Conductor: Lynne Morrow
  • Running Time: 1 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Brubeck, Dave : The Commandments, for chorus
  • Performer: Dave Brubeck (Piano)
  • Conductor: Richard Grant
  • Running Time: 7 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Brubeck, Dave : Psalm 23, for chorus & piano
  • Performers: Dave Brubeck (Piano); Kymry Esainko (Piano)
  • Conductor: Lynne Morrow
  • Running Time: 2 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Brubeck, Dave : Credo, for chorus
  • Performer: Dave Brubeck (Piano)
  • Conductor: Richard Grant
  • Running Time: 7 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Brubeck, Dave : Benediction, for chorus
  • Performer: Dave Brubeck (Piano)
  • Conductor: Lynne Morrow
  • Running Time: 1 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern