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Ola Gjeilo (b.1978): Various Works / Thomas Gould, Ben Hancox, violin; Jon Thorne, Matthew Sharp, bass; The Chamber Orch. Of London

Album Summary

>Gjeilo, Ola : Ubi caritas, for chorus
>Gjeilo, Ola : The Spheres, for vocal ensemble
>Gjeilo, Ola : The Ground (Pleni sunt caeli), for chorus, piano & string quartet
>Gjeilo, Ola : Sanctus, for chorus
>Gjeilo, Ola : Dreamweaver
>Gjeilo, Ola : Northern Lights, for chorus (from Tres Cantos)
>Gjeilo, Ola : The Lake Isle, for chorus, guitar, string quartet & piano
>Gjeilo, Ola : Serenity (O magnum mysterium), for cello & chorus
>Gjeilo, Ola : Tundra, for soprano, female chorus, piano & optional string quartet
>Gjeilo, Ola : Reflections, for string quartet & piano
>Gjeilo, Ola : Sacred Heart (Ubi Caritas III), for chorus & string quartet
Performers Conductors Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Rising composer Ola Gjeilo (pronounced "Yay-lo") releases his major label debut with Decca, Ola Gjeilo, an album of ethereal choral music inspired by his Nordic roots. The self-titled album contains rich vocal textures sung by Voces8, enhanced by radiant instrumentation: piano performed by Gjeilo himself, exquisite strings and acoustic guitar. iTunes recently praised Gjeilo's album Northern Lights as Best Classical Vocal Album of the Year in its Best of 2012 list.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: All Hallows' Church, Gospel Oak, London, England (04/13/2015-04/15/2015).

The young Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo (say YAY-lo) studied at the Juilliard School and has lived in New York and Italy. It's not clear how much contemporary Christian music he might have absorbed while in the U.S. (New York is probably not a top market for the genre), but the sacred pieces here contain passages that evoke the so-called praise & worship music within that genre, with light choral polyphony over a backdrop of piano and/or strings. Other pieces lean more toward Philip Glass, and yet others toward a cappella music in John Rutter's more artless vein. How you feel about these models may determine your reaction to Gjeilo, but there's no doubt that he welds these semi-popular styles together skillfully: a piece may begin with a pop piano introduction (played by Gjeilo himself) and then recede to choral melodic material in a chantlike vein. Gjeilo's music is economical and not pompous in the least. Perhaps the most effective piece here, and a place to start sampling, is Tundra (track nine), a setting of a text by Charles Anthony Silvestri depicting a slice of Norwegian landscape. The utter simplicity of Gjeilo's music here matches the words, but there is nothing derivative about either of them. The performances by the top-notch choirs Tenebrae and Voces8 are superb. Those interested in choral music in crossover styles will find a distinctive take on that new tradition here. ~ James Manheim



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Works Details

>Gjeilo, Ola : Ubi caritas, for chorus
  • Performer: Ola Gjeilo (Piano)
  • Conductor: Thomas Gould
  • Ensemble: Chamber Orchestra Of London
  • Running Time: 5 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2010

>Gjeilo, Ola : The Spheres, for vocal ensemble
  • Conductor: Thomas Gould
  • Ensemble: Chamber Orchestra Of London
  • Running Time: 4 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Gjeilo, Ola : The Ground (Pleni sunt caeli), for chorus, piano & string quartet
  • Performer: Ola Gjeilo (Piano)
  • Conductor: Thomas Gould
  • Ensemble: Chamber Orchestra Of London
  • Running Time: 3 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2011

>Gjeilo, Ola : Sanctus, for chorus
  • Running Time: 4 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 2008

>Gjeilo, Ola : Dreamweaver :: The Crossing
  • Performers: Ola Gjeilo (Piano); Thomas Gould (Violin); Ciaran McCabe (Violin); Matthew Sharp (Cello); Jon Thorne (Viola)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Gjeilo, Ola : Northern Lights, for chorus (from Tres Cantos)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Gjeilo, Ola : The Lake Isle, for chorus, guitar, string quartet & piano
  • Performers: Ola Gjeilo (Piano); Thomas Gould (Violin); Kristian Kvalvaag (Guitar); Ciaran McCabe (Violin); Matthew Sharp (Cello); Jon Thorne (Viola)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Gjeilo, Ola : Serenity (O magnum mysterium), for cello & chorus
  • Performer: Matthew Sharp (Cello)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2010

>Gjeilo, Ola : Tundra, for soprano, female chorus, piano & optional string quartet
  • Performers: Ola Gjeilo (Piano); Thomas Gould (Violin); Ciaran McCabe (Violin); Matthew Sharp (Cello); Jon Thorne (Viola)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Gjeilo, Ola : Reflections, for string quartet & piano
  • Performers: Ola Gjeilo (Piano); Thomas Gould (Violin); Ciaran McCabe (Violin); Matthew Sharp (Cello); Jon Thorne (Viola)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Gjeilo, Ola : Sacred Heart (Ubi Caritas III), for chorus & string quartet
  • Performers: Hannah Dawson (Violin); Ben Hancox (Violin); Matthew Sharp (Cello); Simone Van Der Giessen (Viola)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary