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Cathedral Music - James Primosch: Sacred Songs; Stephen Albert: Concerto for Four Quartets; Christopher Patton: Out of Darkness / Mary Mackenzie, soprano; Lucie Shelley, treble;

Album Summary

>Primosch, James : Sacred Songs and Meditations, for soprano & orchestra
>Albert, Stephen : Cathedral Music, concerto for 4 quartets
>Patton, Christopher : Out of Darkness, for treble & orchestra
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The 21st Century Consort, founded in 1975, performs an annual concert series at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Under the direction of its founder and conductor, Christopher Kendall, the Consort's artists include principal players from the National Symphony Orchestra, along with other prominent chamber musicians from the Washington, DC area. In addition to its history of touring, broadcasts and recordings, the Consort's four decades of performances have been recorded live and comprise a growing archive of contemporary music. For this recording, they have chosen three major works, two of which (Christopher Patton's Out of Darkness and James Primosch's Sacred Songs and Meditations) were commissioned by the 21st Century Consort. Stephen Albert's music has long been championed by the 21st Century Consort so the inclusion of his Cathedral Music on this recording is especially fitting.

American Record Guide, May/June 2016
Two things struck me immediately. One is that while Washington's National Cathedral might seem a cavernous, hyper-reverberant setting for such a concert, the Albany engineers came up with rich, clear sound for these performances recorded there in July, 2013. The other is that Maestro Kendall's ensemble made up of National Symphony musicians and several high quality DC-area free-lancers is a fine one.

In his Sacred Songs and Meditations, James Primosch (b 1956) took a set of archaic church melodies and texts. 'Let All Mortal Flesh', 'Pange Lingua', 'Corde Natus ex Parentis', and 'Christus Factus Est' are some of the familiar hymns and texts put in play for the instruments and solo voices. Despite its name, Stephen Albert's Cathedral Music is crafted for four different quartets made up of flute, cello, horn, percussion, keyboard, trumpet, guitar, harp, and organ, Cathedral Music strikes me as a set of interpretive etudes, with evocative musical terms such as 'Scherzando', 'Brillante', 'Mysterioso', 'Pesante', and 'Rubato' setting the expressive tone for the interlude to follow. It's pretty interesting stuff. Christopher Patton's Out of the Darkness brings the ensemble and a solo treble voice together for 13 minutes to contemplate the interplay of light and darkness in the awesome setting of a cathedral. I liked what I heard.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Washington National Cathedral (07/08/2013).



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Works Details

>Primosch, James : Sacred Songs and Meditations, for soprano & orchestra
  • Performer: Mary MacKenzie (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Christopher Kendall
  • Ensemble: 21st Century Consort
  • Running Time: 30 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1999
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Albert, Stephen : Cathedral Music, concerto for 4 quartets
  • Conductor: Christopher Kendall
  • Running Time: 21 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1971
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Patton, Christopher : Out of Darkness, for treble & orchestra
  • Conductor: Christopher Kendall
  • Running Time: 13 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2005
  • Studio/Live: Live