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Contemporary Music for Chamber Choir

Dominick Diorio, Jocelyn Hagen, Wayne Oquin, Christopher Theofanidis, David Ashley White


Bruce Power, accompanist



[ * * * * * / 5-Stars ] “This disc contains works by five very gifted American composers performed by the extremely talented Houston Chamber Choir... Here is one of the finest blends of voices I have come across in a long time, and the audience-friendly, diverse settings are in no way dumbed down... An innate understanding of interpretation by the singers coupled with a choice of interesting texts and music makes this CD a must”
Shirley Ratcliffe, Choir and Organ [December 2016]
[ * * * * ] “A very rewarding collection of modern choral works performed flawlessly! I have heard of the Houston Chamber Choir before and been very curious about their other albums that contain contemporary repertoire. However, this is my first actual listening and I am highly impressed! The Houston Chamber Choir is an amazing ensemble and I greatly respect and appreciate their commitment to the music of living composers. Anyone who loves great vocal music should go get this. The music, the performances and the recording are all splendid.”
Daniel Coombs, Audiophile Audition [January 2016]
[ * * * * ] “The Houston Chamber Choir is a superb ensemble ably directed by conductor Robert Simpson, and MSR has grippingly caught their excellent technique and tonal qualities set in the Church of St. John the Divine in Houston. A fine addition to the American choral recorded legacy.”
Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition [December 2015]
“Fans of recent American choral music will find much to enjoy here. [David Ashley White's] piece The Blue Estuaries is impeccably approachable... [In the final “Night,”] the superb sopranos of the Houston Chamber Choir sustain the line impeccably... [soft blink of amber light] is a simply magical setting; performance and recording are superb… [Dominick DiOrio’s A Dome of Many-coloured Glass] is wonderfully evocative... The final movement, 'A Winter Ride,' touches on ecstasy in a gloriously vigorous performance. Strongly recommended.”
Colin Clarke , Fanfare Magazine [November/December 2015]
“This disc provides a superb cross-section of contemporary choral music by American composers. While there is a certain kinship between them that makes them well-matched discmates—for examples, all are firmly and unabashedly both tonal in basis and melodic in content—they also all have distinctive personal voices that readily differentiate one from another... The singing of the Houston Chamber Choir throughout is absolutely splendid. Even at a time where many choral ensembles have achieved enviable standards of precision that were only wishful dreams a couple of generations ago, this group stands out for sheer excellence in its beauty of tone, clarity of diction, seamless blending of divisions, dynamic shadings, and ability to project the meaning of texts… this is likewise an equally remarkable collection of present-day music that is both high in quality of technical craftsmanship and truly pleasurable for listening. Soundmirror in Boston and producer Blanton Alspaugh have provided a rich and spacious but unoccluded recorded acoustic, and MSR has produced a fine booklet with full texts, composer bios, and notes on the works and performing artists. This release is an unabashed winner on every count, and deserves to be part of your music collection; urgently recommended.”
James A. Altena, Fanfare Magazine [November/December 2015]
“The Houston Chamber Choir is always a pleasure to listen to.”
Alan Swanson, Fanfare Magazine [November/December 2015]
“[the composers] are intrigued by the communicative power of the chamber choir – and the Houston Chamber Choir under Robert Simpson is a very fine one. Theofanidis’ Messages to Myself (2007) is especially effective in this regard, since in searching for poetry that he himself finds meaningful, the composer comes up with some that reaches out to the audience as well… All the performances here are first-rate, and although the music will have different meanings, and different levels of meaning, for different listeners, all of it is distinguished by the composers’ clear interest in sharing their emotional responses to texts with a receptive audience – a form of sharing that unfortunately is not always evident in vocal (or, for that matter, instrumental) works by contemporary composers.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [August 2015]
The Houston Chamber Choir stands as one of the country’s leading professional choral ensembles. Acclaimed conductor Paul Hillier remarks, “I loved working with the Houston Chamber Choir; Robert Simpson has created something special.” The ensemble has collaborated with distinguished artists, including conductors María Guinand and Reinbert de Leeuw, and legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck. Houston Chamber Choir has toured internationally from Mexico to Wales and appeared nationally at conventions of The American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America and in concert at Trinity Wall Street in New York and Yale University. A champion of new music, the choir regularly programs music by living composers.

Robert Simpson is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Houston Chamber Choir. He also serves as Canon for Music at Houston’s historic Christ Church Cathedral, and Lecturer of Church Music at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Chorus America awarded him the Michael Korn Founders Award for the Development of the Professional Choral Ar. Choirs under Mr. Simpson’s direction have toured the United States, Europe and Mexico, and performed before national conventions of Chorus America, the American Choral Directors Association, The American Guild of Organists, The Association of Anglican Musicians, and The Hymn Society of America. They have appeared nationally on CBS-TV, ABC-TV and American Public Radio. Robert Simpson is an honors graduate of Brown University and The School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Additionally, he studied for two years at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, Germany. Mr. Simpson is married to Marianna Parnas-Simpson, the noted children’s choir conductor.
The Blue Estuaries (1998)
Commissioned by the Houston Chamber Choir
I. Evening-Star
II. I Saw Eternity
III. To Be Sung on the Water
IV. Train Tune
V. Night

soft blink of amber light (2014)
Commissioned by the Houston Chamber Choir

Messages to Myself (2007)
Commissioned by the Houston Chamber Choir
I. Whitman
II. Rūmī
III. Kirsten
IV. Yeats

WAYNE OQUIN (b. 1977)
O Magnum Mysterium (2013)

A Dome of Many-coloured Glass (2010)
Commissioned by the Houston Chamber Choir
I. Listening
II. At Night
III. Hora Stellatrix
IV. A Winter Ride

MSR Classics
for 5 Soloists, Choir and Strings, Op.12 HOUSTON …

19th and 20th Century Russian Secular Choral …