Andrew T. Miller: The Birth of Christ

Andrew T. Miller: The Birth of Christ

5.0 1
by Andrew T. Miller
     
 
Seattle-based composer Andrew T. Miller's cantata "The Birth of Christ" received its premiere in Dublin in 2006. Its performance was hailed as a landmark event because it brought together Catholic and Protestant choirs. It would be good to report that its musical quality was as significant as its humanitarian achievement, but as a whole, the music fails to fulfill

Overview

Seattle-based composer Andrew T. Miller's cantata "The Birth of Christ" received its premiere in Dublin in 2006. Its performance was hailed as a landmark event because it brought together Catholic and Protestant choirs. It would be good to report that its musical quality was as significant as its humanitarian achievement, but as a whole, the music fails to fulfill that promise. The 70-minute piece is lyrical from beginning to end. The vocal contours are often graceful, and Miller knows how to build surging, emotionally charged climaxes, but it has few genuinely memorable moments. Its harmonic and melodic conventionality would not be reason to dismiss it, because originality isn't essential for a piece to be inventive and imaginative, but most of the movements have a second-hand feeling to them; you can hear some Philip Glass, some Garrett Fischer (another Seattle-based composer, but with a genuinely distinctive voice), some Morten Lauridsen, an embarrassing imitation of an operatic interchange, but mostly, the lyrical, pop-inflected contemporary religious anthem that flourishes in many American Protestant churches. That said, "The Birth of Christ" is obviously a work of sincere spiritual devotion, and its lyricism and earnestness may make it appealing to some audiences who share the composer's convictions, and who aren't concerned about its place in the larger picture of contemporary choral music. The choirs sing with fullness and the uncredited orchestra plays colorfully. The soloists sing with conviction and are frequently effective, although most have some technical deficit that makes them sound more like talented amateurs than professionals, but soprano Amy Bils and tenor Robert McPherson perform with more skill. Actor Liam Neeson reads Luke's account of the Nativity story in one movement. The sound of the live performance is clear, but lacks the aural polish or a carefully engineered studio recording.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/06/2007
Label:
Sony Classics
UPC:
0886971668322
catalogNumber:
716683

Tracks

  1. Introduction  (02:18)
  2. The Birth of Christ, a Christmas Cantata: Prologue: One Blessed Night

    1. Prologue: One Blessed Night  (05:57)
  3. The Birth of Christ, a Christmas Cantata: The Annunciation of John

    1. The Annunciation of John  (08:53)
  4. The Birth of Christ, a Christmas Cantata: The Annunciation of Christ

    1. The Annunciation of Christ  (13:33)
  5. The Birth of Christ, a Christmas Cantata: The Visitation

    1. The Visitation  (03:50)
  6. The Birth of Christ, a Christmas Cantata: Mary's Canticle

    1. Mary's Canticle  (08:02)
  7. The Birth of Christ, a Christmas Cantata: Rejoice!

    1. Rejoice!  (02:03)
  8. The Birth of Christ, a Christmas Cantata: Zechariah's Canticle

    1. Zechariah's Canticle  (03:59)
  9. Scripture Reading, Bible: Reading: Luke II, 20-21

    1. Reading: Luke II, 20-21  (02:37)
  10. The Birth of Christ, a Christmas Cantata: Journey to Bethlehem

    1. Journey to Bethlehem  (02:42)
  11. The Birth of Christ, a Christmas Cantata: The Birth of Christ

    1. The Birth of Christ  (07:41)
  12. The Birth of Christ, a Christmas Cantata: A Shepherd's Song

    1. A Shepherd's Song  (08:28)
  13. The Birth of Christ, a Christmas Cantata: Epilogue: One Blessed Night (Reprise)

    1. Epilogue: One Blessed Night (Reprise)  (04:20)

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Andrew T. Miller: The Birth of Christ 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have had a chance to hear this CD before its release date tomorrow the 6th of November and all I can say is that this is a soon to be classic. The heart of each character, the warmth and intensity of the choir...it truly shows what the Christmas season is really about.