NICHOLAS WHITE: IN SURE AND CERTAIN HOPE
NICHOLAS WHITE, conductor
THE TIFFANY CONSORT SINGERS AND ORCHESTRA
Tiffany Consort String Ensemble
World Premiere Recordings
"Nicholas White is a multi-gifted musician of estimable creative abilities. The program opens with a fresh, invigorating Magnificat and Nunc dimittis [hat exudes] youthful joy...White's music is in no way derivative [of Rutter's] and to some ears, may even surpass that of Rutter in its subtlety of expression, melodic and harmonic invention, and overall effect. In all of his music, White demonstrates a sure command of an extensive harmonic vocabulary that is always effective in conveying texts. His melodies are wistful, soaring, haunting. The Tiffany Consort...form an ensemble of ravishing beauty. Their sound is vibrant, translucent, demonstrating a limitless array of dynamic nuance and vocal timbre. An ensemble of five string players contribute fresh, clear, vigorous, colorful support. This music as performed here offers quiet consolation, deep joy, and balm for the soul. It speaks to the heart."
The American Organist [December 2008]
"Unashamedly beautiful, Nicholas White’s choral music makes you think about the function of music and how a composer decides on the rightness of its design. Unlike Rutter’s, White’s music never cloys ... It’s beautifully crafted, the manner of word-setting stemming very much from the English choral tradition... I think this disc will have enormous attractions for an audience looking for music that soothes more often than it challenges, while still stimulating the imagination as it nourishes the spirit. That the performances are so wonderful is a bonus...Throughout most of this new disc, the Consort is accompanied by an ensemble comprising a string quartet with double bass. The corporate sound from the small one-to-apart choir and accompanying strings is surprisingly lush and refulgent."
International Record Review [June 2007]
"White's Anglican roots are readily apparent here, in gentle music of surpassing beauty and sacred sincerity...this composer certainly understands the appeal of soaring melody, lush harmony, and tender sentiment...White singers are consistently superb...they can perform anything with skill, assurance, gorgeous tone...The string ensemble also impresses. They're all very nicely recorded, and the booklet is useful and complete."
American Record Guide [July/August 2007]
"...a rich and varied program...[In Sure and Certain Hope is] throughout rewarding to hear...[Nicholas White's] writing is consistently fresh and imaginative...The tone, blend, intonation and diction" of the Consort are exemplary...The strings play with style and, when used, always integrate sympathetically with the voices. The production by Richard Price is truly admirable."
Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians [May / June 2007]
"...White is a talented and tuneful composer...There are many moments of great beauty and spinal chills on this recording."
Audiophile Audition [April 2007]
PROGRAM NOTESThe music on this CD was performed in concert at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, New York City, on Monday September 11th, 2006, the fifth anniversary of the attacks upon the United States.
In Sure and Certain Hope was written in 2006, and dedicated to several family members who died during the last two years. Although the bulk of the musical material is newly composed, the work also draws on existing compositions written during the last decade, reworking, and hopefully improving on those pieces to incorporate them into this larger scale offering. The text is from the prayers, psalms and scripture passages in the Burial Office, and is framed by the Requiem aeternam text from the Missa pro defunctis. Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis was written for the boy choristers of Washington National Cathedral (Douglas Major, Organist and Choirmaster), where I was Assistant Organist and Choirmaster from 1994-1998. For this recording it is performed as a soprano duet, with the original organ part arranged for strings. The two spiritual arrangements are the earliest works on this program. Steal Away was written for the choir of First United Methodist Church, Lubbock, Texas (Gordon McMillan, Minister of Music), where I was Guest Artist-in-Residence from 1989-1990; and There is a Balm in Gilead was written for the Chanters of McMurry University, Abilene, Texas, where I was Director of Choral Studies from 1992-1994. My setting of the 14th century hymn Ave verum corpus is dedicated to H. Deane Pierce of Lubbock, Texas, a longtime member of the Chancel Choir of First United Methodist Church, who graciously provided accommodation for me during my stay in that fair city. The Altar was commissioned by Joyce Michelini, in honor of her father Marc, who was celebrating fifty years as Verger of The Church of the Advent, Boston, Massachusetts. The piece was premiered by the superb choir of Church of the Advent, under the direction of Dr. Edith Ho. The second setting of the two George Herbert poems was commissioned earlier this year by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Cincinnati, Ohio, in honor of their Organist and Choirmaster, Ernie Hoffmann. Although the pieces were written almost seven years apart from each other, there are subconscious similarities in the middle sections of each. Drop Down Ye Heavens, a setting of the Advent Prose, was written for the choir of St. Michael’s Church, New York City, where I was Organist and Choirmaster from 1998-2005. So too was Anthems at the Mandatum (The Maundy Thursday Anthem), and both these pieces were incorporated into appropriate liturgies at St. Michael’s during those years. A Prayer for Guidance, sometimes known as A Chorister’s Prayer, was written in honor of Barbara Bruns, Associate Organist and Choirmaster of St. Michael’s Church, NYC from 2000-2005. The beautiful hymn of St. Ambrose, Iam sol recedit, was written for the tenth anniversary reunion concert of the Guest Artists-in-Residence of First United Methodist Church, Lubbock, Texas. The first performance, given by ten enthusiastic Englishmen – myself included – whose gifts clearly lay more in the areas of organ playing and conducting than singing, will go down in the history books.
-- Nicholas White
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Nicholas White is the founding director of The Tiffany Consort. Versatile in all styles of music, he currently resides in Philadelphia, PA, where he is Composer in Residence at Philadelphia Cathedral and Organist and Choirmaster of All Saints’ Church (Torresdale). White is increasingly in demand as a composer, receiving regular commissions from choral groups and churches, with performances taking place worldwide. His music is published by Hinshaw, Trinitas, Augsburg and Oxford University Press. His critically acclaimed work, Magnificat, was premiered at the National Cathedral in 1997, and other commissions include Full Freedom, written for the annual choral tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in January 2002 at The Kennedy Center in Washington DC. White was born in London, England, and received his early musical training as a treble chorister. He held his first organist and choirmaster position at the age of fifteen, going on to become organ scholar of Clare College, Cambridge. Since coming to the U.S. in 1989, Nicholas has held various positions in churches, colleges and schools, including Washington National Cathedral and St. Michael’s Church, NYC.
The Tiffany Consort was founded in 2003 by Nicholas White, bringing together several of New York's finest singers with the intention of presenting virtuosic choral music from all periods, one voice to a part. While the core of the ensemble is eight singers - all soloists in their own right - the number of performers can vary according to the specific repertoire to be performed. During 2006-2007, Tiffany Consort will perform concerts in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. In addition to the trademark performing style of one voice to a part, the group's main interest lies in juxtaposing works of Medieval and Renaissance composers with those of more recent composers. Programs have included compositions by Byrd & Britten, Palestrina & Scarlatti, Schütz & Brahms, Machaut & Poulenc and Tallis & Tippett. The first CD by The Tiffany Consort, entitled "O Magnum Mysterium" (MSR Classics MS1108) was released in the Fall of 2004, and received a 2006 Grammy nomination.
PROGRAMNICHOLAS WHITE (b.1967)
Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis
Ave Verus Corpus
Two Poems of George Herbert
Drop Down Ye Heavens
A Prayer For Guidance
Anthems at the Mandatum
Iam Sol Recedit
In Sure and Certain Hope