- Requiem, music to Schiller's drama "Don Carlos", for soloists, mixed chorus & instrumental ensemble
Andrew Earle Simpson: A Crown of Stars; Alfred Schnittke: Requiemby Maryland State Boychoir
The wedding cantata is a genre of great antiquity, and Washington, D.C.-based composer Andrew Earle Simpson tries to draw on many phases of its existence, both textually and musically, in A Crown of Stars, his contemporary entry into the genre. The texts range from Sappho and India's Rig Veda to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, while the music features an idiom reminiscent of another wedding cantata, Stravinsky's "Les Noces," updated with some jazz and blues moves. It might sound as though it's all over the map, but Simpson has chosen his texts well, and the action, depicting "Courtship," "Wedding Ritual," and "Wedding Night and Shivaree," confidently moves forward. Simpson's work is paired with the "Requiem" mass of Alfred Schnittke, an unusual move on the face of it (the Albany label is mostly devoted to newly composed music) and one that seems to have little to do with the main attraction. Schnittke's mass started life as several other kinds of music: incidental music for a production of Schiller's play Don Carlos, as well as a piano quintet. It's as varied as Simpson's piece, with the introduction of rock guitars in a Credo movement (itself a novelty for a requiem). Composed in 1975, it remains a landmark of contemporary Russian music. Washington's Cantate Chamber Singers and soloists, along with the Maryland State Boychoir, acquit themselves well, but the sound has the boxy quality with which Albany's releases are sometimes plagued. Recommended for lovers of the eclectic style.
- Release Date:
- Albany Records
Performance CreditsMaryland State Boychoir Primary Artist
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