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Songs of the Soul
     

Songs of the Soul

by Saint Louis Chamber Chorus
 
Guild's Songs of the Soul features the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus in a program centered around musical settings from or related to the spiritual poetry of St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), the great Spanish mystic poet and co-founder of the order of the Discalced Carmelites. Although St. John's poetic output is small, it has incredible power and is redolent

Overview

Guild's Songs of the Soul features the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus in a program centered around musical settings from or related to the spiritual poetry of St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), the great Spanish mystic poet and co-founder of the order of the Discalced Carmelites. Although St. John's poetic output is small, it has incredible power and is redolent with inherent mysticism, qualities that are attractive to composers of sacred music. However, for some reason the composition of musical settings to St. John's poetry didn't get underway until the twentieth century, and one of the first composers to set it was Carlos Surinach in his "Canciones del alma" (1964). The four pieces of that set are used as signposts set up throughout this program of 13 tracks and all four stand out considerably from the rest, owing to their distinctiveness and sprightly use of rhythm. In between, two pieces by St. John's contemporary Tomás Luis de Victoria are heard, as is "An den Geist," a setting by Swiss composer Carl Rütti after Rainer Maria Rilke that represents the only literary departure from the concept, but the music fits in with the rest of it. Although the repertoire choices are all carefully made, apart from Surinach, Clare MacLean's "Aunque es de Noche" seems to be the strongest one -- its big clusters of white choral sound evoke the ideal of "the soul" as a separate entity from the body in musical terms. The Saint Louis Chamber Chorus, under Philip Barnes, maintains a pure and well-tuned sound and sings this material -- some of it exceedingly difficult -- as though it's second nature. Recorded at St. Margaret of Scotland Church in St. Louis, the recording is spacious, but a tad distant, and clarity of the texts are a bit of an issue. However, all of the printed texts are available in the booklet, so those who can't aurally make it out have at least some recourse to make sense of them. It's a decent program and sufficiently ethereal, yet in direct comparison to discs made by that other chorus from Missouri -- the Kansas City Chorale under Charles Bruffy -- this falls a bit short.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/28/2005
Label:
Guild
UPC:
0795754727227
catalogNumber:
7272

Tracks

  1. Canciones del alma: 1. Noche oscura del alma
  2. Iste sanctus pro lege, motet for 4 voices
  3. O Flame of Love So Living
  4. Canciones del alma: 2. Llama de amor viva
  5. Senex puerum portabat, motet for 4 voices
  6. Romança VI
  7. Aunque es de Noche
  8. But have been found again for mixed choir
  9. Canciones del alma: 3. Delirio del alma
  10. O Quam Gloriosum est regnum, motet for 4 voices
  11. An den Geist
  12. Beati Immaculati, motet for 4 voices
  13. Canciones del alma: 4. Gozo a la fé

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