EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITS brings together the artistry of Grammy Award-winning chamber choir The Crossing with innovative works of six contemporary composers. Ranging from songs of praise from the Biblical era to present day, and from contemporary poetry to the reimagining of a Shakespearean sonnet, EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITS explores humanity in all its facets.
Edie Hill’s Poem for 2084 unearths a reflection on the state of the world through the dynamic effects of soaring soprano lines over mystical harmonies below. Hill’s second composition on the album, Marvellous Error!, offers equally powerful and compelling performances. Gregory W. Brown sets Latin and English texts, shifting effortlessly between simple and complex textures, producing otherworldly-sounding performances in the contemplative Vida Aquam and the ethereal Five Women Bathing in Moonlight. James Shrader’s celestial-sounding Angels Sang with Mirth and Glee creates a gentle, inspiring listening experience.
Christopher J. Hoh brings both a reimagination of Shakespeare’s famous (and humorous) My Mistress’ Eyes and an homage to the groundbreaking composer Elliott Carter with To Elliott. Jonathan Sheffer draws on an ancient Hebrew prayer in his y’did nefesh, which offers a plea for union with the Divine. Bruce Babcock’s meditative Be Still reflects on Psalm 46:10, with shimmering textures throughout the five-minute meditation on just eight words.
EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITS is a feat of choral and compositional strength. Handled with grace by The Crossing, it offers reflections on the human condition, the relationship between humanity and the Divine, and our connections to the past, present, and future.
Donald Nally, conductor
Navona Records is delighted to present DASHING, a festive album for the holiday season featuring brand new works and arrangements of holiday favorites by several outstanding composers, with performances by The Stanbery Singers, the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra.
Familiar faces and tunes make appearances here, such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s perennial holiday favorite, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from his ballet The Nutcracker. Henry Wolking provides a jazz arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; likewise, David Tanner contributes with an arrangement of O Holy Night. His other work, A Visit from St. Nicholas, sets Clement Moore’s classic poem “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” to orchestra, with narration by Kerry Stratton. Delvyn Case and Timothy Lee Miller deliver rousing, spirited music with their Rocket Sleighfor orchestra and A Christmas Celebration for wind band, respectively.
Christopher J. Hoh introduces the album’s choral works with his invitational Come Now and Celebrate, along with a choral arrangement of Thomas W. Talley’s folksong “Behold That Star,” composed in the style of African–American spirituals. L. Peter Deutsch weaves choral voices with solo instruments on each of his Three Winter Holiday Songs, “A Winter’s Rime,” “Hodie Christus Natus Est,” and “The Holly and the Ivy.” James Shrader contributes two choral works—a setting of “In the Bleak Midwinter” as a theme and variations, and Balulalow, written in a traditional Scottish style. Phillip Rhodes rounds out the album with the luminescent A Lullaby for the Nativity.
Here are links to the album: