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Far in the Heavens: Choral Music of Stephen Paulus - Prayers and Remembrances; Nunc dimittis; Little Elegy, et al. / True Concord Voices & Orch., Holtan

Album Summary

>Paulus, Stephen : Prayers and Remembrances, for chorus & orchestra
>Paulus, Stephen : Nunc dimittis, for double chorus
>Paulus, Stephen : The Incomprehensible, for chorus, oboe & harp
>Paulus, Stephen : I Have Called You By Name, for chorus
>Paulus, Stephen : Little Elegy, for chorus
>Paulus, Stephen : When Music Sounds, for double chorus
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The late Stephen Paulus ("a bright, fluent inventor with a ready lyric gift" - New Yorker) was prolific composer of over 500 works. He wrote for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles, solo voice, keyboard and opera. His as uniquely American music, represented on over fifty recordings, was characterized as "irresistible in kinetic energy and haunting in lyrical design" by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, while The New York Times praised him for "melodic patterns that are fresh and familiar at the same time" and scoring that is "invariably expert and exceptionally imaginative in textures and use of instruments." Far In The Heavens comprises recently composed and previously unrecorded works by Stephen Paulus, including two works commissioned and premiered by True Concord Voices & Orchestra: The Incomprehensible for their fifth anniversary season in 2009, and in 2011 Prayers and Remembrances for the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 tragedy. Mr. Paulus supervised the recording in Tucson, AZ just weeks before suffering a major stroke from which he never recovered, passing away in October 2014 after being in a coma for more than a year at age 65.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium, Tucson, Ariz (05/22/2013-05/24/2013).



Reviews

Outstanding collection
The choral works on this release were all composed or revised within the last four years of Stephen Paulus' life. Their originality, quality, and expressiveness show just how great a loss the classical music world suffered with Paulus' untimely death.

“Prayers and Remembrance” is the largest work on the album, written to commemorate 9/11. According to Paulus, it was written to be "spiritual without being religious." In that, he was successful. The work is elegiac and uplifting, without referencing the music of any faith tradition. The smoothly flowing melodic lines are supported with lush harmonies and deft orchestration. Soprano Kathryn Mueller is a particular standout in the third movement, making the seemingly simple melody a song from the heart.

Shorter choral works make up the rest of the album, but don’t consider them mere filler. “Nunc dimittis” (rev. 2013) is an effective setting of the text -- an excellent example of Paulus at his best. "The Incomprehensible," "I Have Called You by Name" "Little Elegy" and "When Music Sounds" all demonstrate why Paulus was considered one of America's premier choral composers.

The Concord of Voices & Orchestra, directed by Eric Holtan perform these works beautifully. The chorus has a good blend, and the performances -- as to be expected from Reference -- are impeccably recorded.
Submitted on 12/04/15 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Paulus, Stephen : Prayers and Remembrances, for chorus & orchestra
  • Performer: Kathryn Mueller (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Eric Holtan
  • Ensemble: True Concord Voices
  • Notes: Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium, Tucson, Arizona (05/22/2013-05/24/2013)
  • Running Time: 35 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2011

>Paulus, Stephen : Nunc dimittis, for double chorus
  • Performers: Sara Fraker (Oboe); Christine Vivona (Harp)
  • Conductor: Eric Holtan
  • Notes: Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium, Tucson, Arizona (05/22/2013-05/24/2013)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2008

>Paulus, Stephen : The Incomprehensible, for chorus, oboe & harp
  • Performers: Sara Fraker (Oboe); Christine Vivona (Harp)
  • Conductor: Eric Holtan
  • Notes: Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium, Tucson, Arizona (05/22/2013-05/24/2013)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2009

>Paulus, Stephen : I Have Called You By Name, for chorus
  • Performer: Matthew Goinz
  • Conductor: Eric Holtan
  • Notes: Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium, Tucson, Arizona (05/22/2013-05/24/2013)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Paulus, Stephen : Little Elegy, for chorus
  • Performer: Matthew Goinz
  • Conductor: Eric Holtan
  • Notes: Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium, Tucson, Arizona (05/22/2013-05/24/2013)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2010

>Paulus, Stephen : When Music Sounds, for double chorus
  • Performer: Matthew Goinz
  • Conductor: Eric Holtan
  • Notes: Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium, Tucson, Arizona (05/22/2013-05/24/2013)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2012