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Phoenix Choir
Spotless Rose: Hymns to the Virgin Mary

Song NameComposer
Splendid JewelStephen Paulus
A Hymn to the VirginBenjamin Britten
Ave, ReginaCecilia McDowall
Ave, MariaCecilia McDowall
Regina CaeliCecilia McDowall
A Spotless RoseHerbert Howells
Ave, Maris StellaJavier Busto
Ave, MariaJavier Busto
Fair in FaceHealey Willan
I Beheld Her, Beautiful as a DoveHealey Willan
Rise up, My Love, My Fair OneHealey Willan
De ProfundisJean Belmont Ford
Asperges me, Domine/CredoJean Belmont Ford
Ave, Dulcissima MariaJean Belmont Ford
Magnificat anima meaJean Belmont Ford

Directed by Charles Bruffy

'Choral singing just doesn't get much better than this. When it comes to purity of tone, daunting precision and superfine blend, Charles Bruffy's remarkable Phoenix Chorale have it all - and then some!' - Gramophone Magazine. Praise indeed for this multiple Grammy nominated recording. Unified by its Marian idea, the program mixed classic British and contemporary American pieces in a novel way, and it provides an excellent window for the world on the vigorous tradition of a cappella choral music that has evolved independently of academic trends and their strictures. All the music here exploits, to a greater or lesser degree, the acoustic effects possible with an a cappella chorus in a large space, and Chandos, turning its engineers loose in an Arizona desert megachurch called the Camelback Bible Church, achieves spectacular results. The standout is perhaps the final four-movement Electa, by Kansas City composer Jean Belmont Ford, with its intense passages of overlap between a solo soprano tone and the choir and its haunting use of solo timpani and bass drum, the only instruments heard anywhere on the disc. Both the Ford work and the Two Marian Pieces by Spanish-born Javier Busto are world premieres, and both are likely to be eagerly adopted by other choirs. The singers shine equally in the subtle dissonances of the first of Busto's pieces and in the tricky artlessness of Benjamin Britten's A Hymn to the Virgin. This is a triumph of engineering, of choral singing, and of conducting on the part of Charles Bruffy, a protege of fabled American choral conductor Robert Shaw, who, like his mentor, has achieved impressive, sensuously irresistible results in a city without a deeply ingrained tradition of classical singing. Booket notes are in English, French, and German.

Item code: 8948C | SACD | $19.95 add item to cart
Choral | Primarily a cappella | Mixed | United States

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