THE PASSING OF THE YEARChoral Music By
Jean Belmont-Ford, Jonathan Dove,
Morten Lauridsen and Eric Whitacre
Jean Belmont-Ford, Jonathan Dove, Morten Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre
ANTIOCH CHAMBER ENSEMBLE
Joshua Copeland Director
Christine Chang & Jennifer Cho Piano
“I really liked the choice of repertoire – a decent sample of the contemporary choral scene… the Antioch Chamber Ensemble…deservedly have garnered praise aplenty. They also phrase flexibly and subtly… They control dynamics absolutely and exhibit an impressive array of distinctions at extremely low volume. They not only can crescendo over the long haul, but (it's harder) decrescendo…”
Steve Schwartz, ClassicalNet [February 2013]
"The excellent choir ACE under Joshua Copeland... Excellent performances..."
Turok's Choice, Issue No.229 [February 2011]
"The Antioch Chamber Ensemble... sing with an unaffected verve and tight ensemble unity that many other groups can only envy... the program as a whole is very satisfying... Jonathan Dove’s The Passing of the Year...is a fine cycle of no little invention and dramatic effect... the ACE brings a lot of energy and drive, not to mention subtlety and substance to all of this music, captured in great sound during the festival... Bravo to all concerned."
Steve Ritter, Audiophile Audition [February 2011]
"[In] Whitacre’s Sleep [the] singers are joined by piano and violin in sensitive performances by Christine Chang and Jennifer Cho, respectively. Indeed, Chang, the choir’s regular pianist, is unfailingly attentive to the needs of the music in this piece as well as the Dove... part of the choir’s success is its ability to characterize each piece fully, communicating its individuality; they make the performance about the listener, not the singer. The five songs to poems about roses by Morten Lauridsen are delightful, the choir again finding the perfect characterization: fresh yet sweet, matching Lauridsen’s tender but dry-eyed response to Rilke’s passionate words to produce something utterly charming... a remarkably successful disc... I am certain that any listener will appreciate and value these excellent performances by an outstanding choir."
Jeremy Marchant, Fanfare [March/April 2011]
"Copeland and his 11 fellow performers clearly appreciate the bitterness and hurt in the text and music [by Morton Lauridsen]. Textures are spare, the tempos initially swifter than other recordings, and the effect almost madrigal-like at times, despite modern harmonies... [The Whitacre] performances are the more moving for their luminous clarity. The early Three Flower Songs in particular engage both ear and heart, every line clear, every chord impeccably tuned, and the text beautifully projected. Antioch ’s other Whitacre is comparable... Pride of place, however, must be given to the premiere recording of the choral version of Whitacre’s settings of Hila Plitmann’s Five Hebrew Love Songs. Heard here with piano accompaniment and Jennifer Cho’s elegant solo violin, the instruments underline the Semitic flavor of the work, now blended with, now standing apart from the voices in what is an ideal setting of his wife’s fragile, evocative verse. A recording of the string quartet version has just been released on Decca with the Eric Whitacre Singers, but this one is something special, not least for the wonderfully sensitive instrumental accompaniment... [Belmont Ford's setting of] If Music Be the Food of Love suggests she should be better represented. This charming part-song, beautifully performed, is harmonically of a type with Whitacre and Lauridsen... The 12-voice Antioch Chamber Ensemble...projects the complex eight-part writing [of The Passing of the Year] with remarkable authority. As elsewhere in this program, the flawless blend, excellent intonation, and enthusiastic but sensitive phrasing of these relatively young artists, pure and slightly bright in the English style, assures aural bliss... The recordings...are crystal-clear without being analytical, the parts distinct, but the voices beautifully integrated into the ensemble, with a nice sense of space but no excessive reverberation... make sure to grab this second release while it is available."
Ronald E. Grames, Fanfare [March/April 2011]
"...this is a top-notch ensemble with extraordinarily fine blend and balance, unanimity of attack, intonation, and rhythmic accuracy... To those attracted to this repertoire, this disc is definitely recommended."
James Altena, Fanfare [March/April 2011]
"Without question...a commendable choir. They can be bright and engaging in selections like ‘Answer July’. A poignant hush descends for the opening bars of Whitacre’s ‘Sleep’ and for appropriate moments in the Hebrew Love Songs as well. Emotional entry into the music is admirable in all respects... an attractive program."
Greenfield, American Record Guide [January / February 2011]
Joshua Copeland, May 2010
* * *
Widely regarded as one of the finest professional vocal ensembles in the United States, the Antioch Chamber Ensemble is currently celebrating its 12th season of exceptional musicmaking, having made its debut at the gala opening of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in 1997. Under the leadership of founding Artistic Director Joshua Copeland, the ensemble strives to present as diverse a program as possible of the world’s greatest choral literature, both sacred and secular, and has performed works ranging from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary masterpieces with a core group of ten to twelve of the New York metropolitan area’s finest singers. In 2008, Antioch was awarded first-place honors in the highly prestigious Tolosa International Choral Competition in Spain, establishing them among the top rank of professional choirs in the world. In recent seasons, Antioch has been called “stellar,” “flawless,” “exceptional,” and “spectacular” by US national press. Antioch’s performance highlights include performances for Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concert Series, Trinity Wall Street Noon-Day Concert Series, American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division Conference, Nautilus Music Festival in Nova Scotia and Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The ensemble premiered a piece by composer Bruce Adolphe at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of a special exhibition of works by the Renaissance painter Agnolo Bronzino in March 2010, and returned to the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in May 2010 for their tenth consecutive performance in the Choral Artists Series. In July 2010, Antioch appears at the Musique en Morvan Festival and the Festival des Choeurs Laureats in France. Antioch’s first full-length recording Winter Songs, featuring the Mid-Winter Songs by contemporary American composer Morten Lauridsen, was released in 2003 to wide-spread critical acclaim.
Three Flower Songs
I Hide Myself [Emily Dickinson]
With A Lily In Your Hand [F.Garcia Lorca]
Go, Lovely Rose [Edmund Waller]
Five Hebrew Love Songs [Hila Plitmann]
A Boy And A Girl [Octavio Paz]
Sleep [Charles Anthony Silvestri]
The Passing Of The Year
Invocation [William Blake]
The Narrow Bud Opens Her Beauties To The Sun [William Blake]
Answer July [Emily Dickinson]
Hot Sun, Cool Fire [George Peele]
Ah, Sun-Flower! [William Blake]
Adieu! Farewell Earth’s Bliss! [Thomas Nashe]
Ring Out, Wild Bells [Alfred Lord Tennyson]
Les Chansons Des Roses [R.Maria Rilke]
En Une Seule Fleur
Contre Qui, Rose
De Ton Rêve Trop Plein
La Rose Complète
If Music Be The Food Of Love [Henry Heveningham]