Eric Whitacre: Collection
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This a cappella collection of pieces for mixed choir by Eric Whitacre is the first available printed music compilation of its kind for the composer. The book includes pieces of varying difficulty, wide-ranging in theme, from the iconic Sleep and Water Night to the quietly angelic Lux Aurumque (Light and Gold) and the recent Nox Aurumque (Night and Gold). A Boy and a Girl and This Marriage are both wonderfully tender pieces and the inclusion of the early Go, Lovely Rose marks the beginning of a journey through Whitacre's choral output from this first success to the present day.
Eric Whitacre is a Los Angeles-based composer and conductor who is held in the highest esteem everywhere, inspiring and motivating a new generation of singers and musicians. His music creates a visceral, impassioned response in audiences and performers. In 2008, the all-Whitacre choral CD 'Cloudburst', released by the British ensemble Polyphony on Hyperion Records, became and unexpected international best-seller, topping the classical charts and earning a Grammy nomination. The BBC raves that 'what hits you straight between the eyes is the honesty, optimism and sheer belief that passes any pretension. This is music that can actually make you smile'.
Whitacre’s music came to the attention of many choral enthusiasts after Polyphony released their ‘Cloudburst’ CD in 2008, and his YouTube ‘Virtual Choir’ has brought his music to a new generation for whom much conventional choral music is a foreign world. So many choral directors will be tempted by this compilation of seven works for unaccompanied mixed choir, especially as it includes the most popular Lux Aurumque and Sleep. But be aware that these are all settings of secular texts, if with a ‘spiritual feel’. That said, This Marriage could certainly be effectively sung at a church wedding (and asks that ‘these vows and this marriage be blessed’), and all would be effective in concert; each piece ends quietly and gently.
James L Montgomery - RSCM (Sunday by Sunday - June 2011)