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Holiday Harmonies: Songs of Christmas incl. Silent Night, O Holy Night, Love Came Down, et al. / Jamie Barton, Maureen McKay. Essential Voices USA, Judith Clurman

Album Summary

>Traditional, Christmas : Angels We Have Heard on High
>Adam, Adolphe : Cantique de Noël, for voice & orchestra ("Minuit, Chrétiens," "O Holy Night")
>Gruber, Franz : Silent Night
>Higdon, Jennifer : Love Came Down, song for soprano, chorus & harp
>Reger, Max [Composer] : Maria Wiegenlied (Mary's Lullaby
>Muhly, Nico : Whispered and Revealed, song for chorus & harp
>Gilroy, Gene : Merry Christmas Wishing Well, song
>Traditional, Christmas : We Wish You a Merry Christmas (English)
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Judith Clurman conducts her acclaimed chorus, Essential Voices USA, in Holiday Harmonies: Sounds of Christmas, the ensemble's third recording for Sono Luminus. This holiday disc includes premiere recordings of new vibrant arrangements of seasonal favorites and new works that were written for the disc by some of America's finest composers. Mezzo Soprano Jamie Barton, Soprano Maureen McKay, Pianist Tedd Firth, and Harpist Stacey Shames are featured performers. Traditional repertoire includes: "Angels We Have Heard on High" (arr. David Chase), "O Holy Night" (arr. Ryan Nowlin), "Silent Night" (arr. Tedd Firth and Judith Clurman), "The Virgin's Slumber Song" (Max Reger), and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" (adaptation Judith Clurman). New works include: "Whispered and Revealed" (Nico Muhly), "Love Came Down" (Jennifer Higdon) and "Merry Christmas Wishing Well" (Gene and Lorraine Gilroy, arr. Michael Gilbertson). Essential Voices USA (EVUSA) was featured under Judith Clurman's baton in the NBC 2014 telecast of Macy's Fireworks Spectacular. The ensemble performs regularly on the Carnegie Hall subscription series with The New York Pops and produces "The Composer Speaks" series at the DiMenna Space for Classical Music. EVUSA was thrilled to participate in the 2013 Presidential Inaugural activities. EVUSA has recorded two other critically acclaimed recordings for Sono Luminus: Celebrating the American Spirit (DSL 92162) and Cherished Moments: Songs of the Jewish Spirit (DSL 92182). Emmy and Grammy-nominated conductor Judith Clurman currently conducts Essential Voices USA (EVUSA), works with the Omaha Symphony on their Sacred Voices concerts, collaborates with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, conducts programs at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, and maintains an active vocal studio in New York City. She has worked with numerous organizations worldwide, and has commissioned works by 65 American classical composers. The winner of the 2015 Richard Tucker Award, the winner of both the Main and the Song Prizes at the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, a winner of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a Grammy nominee, American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton has been described by The Guardian as "a great artist, no question, with an imperturbable steadiness of tone, and a nobility of utterance that invites comparison not so much with her contemporaries as with mid-20th century greats such as Kirsten Flagstad." Jamie appears with the world's finest opera companies and symphonic orchestras. She is featured on the recording singing "Silent Night," "The Virgin's Slumber Song," and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." Following performances of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, the Washington Post hailed soprano Maureen McKay as the "undisputed star of the show," and further exclaimed, "Armed with a silvery, precisely aimed voice, natural stage presence and the kind of beautifully detailed acting you don't see often enough on the operatic stage, McKay turned in a smart, sexy and thoroughly charming performance."

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The American Academy of Arts and Letters (02/12/2015).



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Works Details

>Traditional, Christmas : Angels We Have Heard on High
  • Performer: Tedd Firth
  • Conductor: Judith Clurman
  • Ensemble: Essential Voices USA
  • Running Time: 3 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: circa 1840

>Adam, Adolphe : Cantique de Noël, for voice & orchestra ("Minuit, Chrétiens," "O Holy Night")
  • Performer: Stacey Shames (Harp)
  • Conductor: Judith Clurman
  • Running Time: 3 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 1851

>Gruber, Franz : Silent Night
  • Performers: Jamie Barton (Mezzo-soprano); Tedd Firth
  • Conductor: Judith Clurman
  • Running Time: 4 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 1818

>Higdon, Jennifer : Love Came Down, song for soprano, chorus & harp
  • Performers: Maureen McKay (Soprano); Stacey Shames (Harp)
  • Conductor: Judith Clurman
  • Running Time: 4 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Christmas

>Reger, Max [Composer] : Maria Wiegenlied (Mary's Lullaby :: "Maria sitzt am Rosenhag"), song for voice & piano (or orchestra),
  • Performers: Jamie Barton (Mezzo-soprano); Tedd Firth
  • Conductor: Judith Clurman
  • Running Time: 2 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 1912

>Muhly, Nico : Whispered and Revealed, song for chorus & harp
  • Performer: Stacey Shames (Harp)
  • Conductor: Judith Clurman
  • Running Time: 3 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Christmas

>Gilroy, Gene : Merry Christmas Wishing Well, song
  • Performer: Tedd Firth
  • Conductor: Judith Clurman
  • Running Time: 1 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Christmas

>Traditional, Christmas : We Wish You a Merry Christmas (English)
  • Performers: Jamie Barton (Mezzo-soprano); Maureen McKay (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Judith Clurman
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 15th Century