HARBACH VOL.17: CHORAL MUSIC ILent & Easter, Advent & Christmas, Sacred Music, Secular Music, Spirituals
APOLLO VOICES OF LONDON
GENEVIEVE ELLIS, director
TIMOTHY END, piano
Louise Clare Marshall, alto
Sarah-Jane Lewis, mezzo-soprano
Sapphire Armitage, Mimi Doulton & Joanna Forbes L’Estrange, sopranos
Melanie Marshall, mezzo-soprano
Rodney Earl Clarke, bass
Margaret Campbell, flute
Pedro Silva, cello
Thomas Nielsen, Katie Smith & Tom Watts, trumpets
Gary Lovenest, snare drum
World Premiere Recordings
"all [of the works] are given forthright and carefully considered performances by Apollo Voices of London under Genevieve Ellis – with solid piano support from Timothy End. Clarity of presentation, a hallmark of Harbach’s instrumental music, is clearly present in her choral works as well: there is nothing confusing, unclear or experimental in her use of voices, with the words of all these pieces being paramount. This does not mean that Harbach’s harmonies are old-fashioned: the dissonances that open Praise Him with the Trumpet, one of the four works brought together as Sacred Music, are one example among many of her knowledgeable handling of sound – while the very next work in the same group, Sing, Alleluia, shows just how sweetly Harbach can handle harmony when she so chooses."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [February 2024]
"A gorgeous, multi-faceted recording of vocal compositions by Barbara Harbach entitled 'Choral Music I' offers superb entertainment and a new appreciation of her musical prowess. If you have sung in choirs or choruses, as I have, I believe you will love this recording and keep it in a special place in your music collection. Harbach is a prodigious thought-provoking composer... 'Choral Music I' is surely one of the very best of her many recordings... Harbach has included 21 compositions, each of which stands on its own as a mini-masterpiece. The wondrous performances of the Apollo Voice of London are all superb and beautiful, if not heart rending by turns. Taking an overview, one might choose any of them for a musical program or a personal electronic file per topic. While I enjoyed the whole CD, I came away from it with many favorites as I believe you will too."
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [February 2024]
"I have reviewed several of MSR’s issues of Harbach’s instrumental music. In them I found music that is tonal, beautiful, transparent and balanced in texture, and radiating an optimistic, life-affirming expression. The same holds true for the music on Choral Music I... the performances by all concerned present these works in their best light. I think the disc would be worth purchasing just for the performance by alto Louise Clare Marshall and pianist Timothy End of Harbach’s arrangement of the spiritual Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child... Harbach’s spare piano part, reminiscent of Copland’s Old American Songs, is the foundation for Marshall’s searing performance. She sings with a breathtaking directness of expression; embellishments are employed for expressive rather than pyrotechnical ends. The depth and beauty of Marshall’s voice, and her clarity of declamation, are exemplary. But the artistic quality on this recording is admirable throughout. The Apollo Voices of London, under the direction of conductor Genevieve Ellis, is a fine ensemble, singing Harbach’s music with tonal beauty, lovely diction, and keen involvement. The recorded sound is lovely. Complete texts are included, as is the composer’s commentary on the works. Recommended."
Ken Meltzer, Fanfare [January/February 2024]
"It is good to hear the choral output of Barbara Harbach. Her symphonic output has impressed me on multiple occasions in the past, and she brings her experienced hand to the world of the choir with outstanding results... The segregation of the disc into various fields works very well. Performances are faultless to my ears, and Harbach’s music certainly does not disappoint. Texts and translations are included, along with annotations. This is a fine disc."
Colin Clarke, Fanfare [January/February 2024]
PROGRAM NOTESThe Apollo Voices of London have performed at the Proms, the Barbican, the Royal Festival Hall and many other leading venues and cathedrals in a wide variety of repertoire, ranging from Mozart to Birtwistle. They have recorded for MSR Classics, Chandos, Decca, Sony, Telarc, Virgin Classics and Warner Classics record labels. Concerts abroad have included a live performance of the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick’s classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey in Shanghai. Studio appearances have included video game recordings and the movie soundtracks for Kenneth Branagh’s film version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (libretto by Stephen Fry) and Harry Gregson-Williams’ scores of Arthur Christmas (Sony Pictures) and Prometheus (20th Century Fox), Life in a Day and Shrek Forever After (Universal Pictures). [ apollovoices.com ]
Genevieve Ellis is Assistant Chorus Master of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. She read music at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and pursued further training at the Royal Academy of Music and Flanders Opera Studio. An accomplished pianist, vocal coach and conductor, she has worked for several companies and festivals including English National Opera, Opera de Lyon, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Ellis was a guest Chorus Master at Opera de Lyon (War Requiem, 2017) and with the BBC Singers (Prisoner of the State, 2020) and has taken rehearsals for the Philharmonia Chorus and London Oriana Choir. At the Royal Opera she has assisted Chorus Director William Spaulding on more than 60 titles, working with conductors including Sir Antonio Pappano, Sir Mark Elder, Semyon Bychkov, Susanna Mälkki, Bertrand de Billy, Mark Wigglesworth and Ivor Bolton. She has been Chorus Master for Le nozze di Figaro, Il barbiere di Siviglia and Don Giovanni, and in 2023 she led the chorus in rehearsal and performance of Saariaho’s Innocence. Ellis can also be heard on a release of Hensel Lieder for First Hand Records.
Timothy End is the accompanist of the Philharmonia Chorus and the City of London Choir. He graduated with a first-class honors degree in music from King’s College, London before entering the Royal Academy of Music, gaining the DipRAM award for an outstanding recital. He was awarded both the Pianist Prize and Jean Meikle Duo Prize at the Wigmore Hall Song Competition. Further prizes include the Accompanists’ Prize at the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards, the Parnell Award for an Accompanist at the ROSL Annual Music Competition, the Gerald Moore Award and the MBF Accompanist Prize at the Kathleen Ferrier Competition. Much sought after as a chamber musician, he has been featured on BBC Radio 3 and has recorded for MSR Classics and Chandos.
The skill Louise Clare Marshall brings to her work spans genres from Jazz, Pop, R&B, Electronic, Classical to Gospel music. Louise has worked with Beverley Knight, David Gilmour, Michael Ball, Robbie Williams, Bryan Ferry, Ronnie Wood, Van Morrison, Sheila Ferguson, Sam Brown, Steve Winwood, Paul Young, Don Blackman, Solomon Burke, Karl Jenkins and John Rutter. She has performed in London’s West End in Jesus Christ Superstar (Lyceum Theatre), Whistle Down the Wind (Aldwych Theatre), The Genius of Ray (Haymarket) and with Soul Train on their first UK tour.
Sarah-Jane Lewis graduated from the Royal College of Music with First Class Honours and received her MA DipRAM from the Royal Academy of Music. She completed her studies at the National Opera Studio. In 2017, she became a Jerwood Young Artist at Glyndebourne and also a Link Artist at the Royal Opera House. Awards include first prizes at the Hampshire Singing Competition, Freda Parry Singing Competition, Ludmilla Andrew Russian Song Prize, the Richard Lewis / Jean Shanks Prize and the Major Van Someren Godfrey Prize.
Barbara Harbach has a large catalog of works, including symphonies, operas, works for string and chamber ensemble, choral anthems, ballet, musicals and film scores. She has also composed music for organ, harpsichord and piano and has arranged numerous Baroque works for brass and organ. A gifted performer as well, Harbach has toured extensively as both an organist and harpsichordist throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Her lively performances and recordings have captured the imagination of many American composers; the body of work written for and dedicated to her is substantial. Harbach is also heavily involved in the research, editing, publication and recording of manuscripts of 18th-century keyboard composers, as well as historical and contemporary women composers. Also a prolific recording artist, Harbach can be heard on more than a dozen albums on MSR Classics, Naxos Records, Gasparo Records, Kingdom Records, Albany Records, Northeastern Records and Hester Park. Harbach, who serves as editor of the WomenArts Quarterly Journal, initiated Women in the Arts−St. Louis, a celebration of the achievements of women creators. More than 800 events by cultural organizations in the St. Louis region have provided audiences with new and historical examples of the work of women writers, composers and artists. In recognition of this, she received the Arts Education Award from the Missouri Arts Council, the Missouri Citizen for the Arts Award, the Yellow Rose Award from the Zonta International Club of St. Louis and the Faculty Excellence Award from the College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Missouri St. Louis. The winner of numerous awards and honors, Harbach received the Hellenic Spirit Foundation Award, Grand Center Visionary Award for “Successful Working Artist,” Argus Foundation Award and YWCA Leader of Distinction Award in the Arts. She was recently named National Arts Associate Distinguished Member of the Buffalo Chapter of SAI, and one of the “30 Most Innovative Women Professors Alive Today”. Harbach is also the recipient of an honorary doctorate in music, Honoris Causa, from Wilmington College in Ohio for her achievements as a composer, performer, editor and publisher. Currently a Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emerita of Music at the University of Missouri−St. Louis, Harbach holds a Bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University, a Master’s degree from Yale University, a Konzert-diplom from the Musikhochschule of Frankfurt, Germany, and a Doctorate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
Praise Him with a Trumpet (1990)
Sing, Alleluia (1990)
The Hills Shout Glad Hosannas (2007)
Sing, Jubilation (2018)
ADVENT and CHRISTMAS
This Night in Bethlehem (1990)
Sing! Christ is Born (1990)
Audible Light (1991)
LENT and EASTER
Bathe My Soul (1991)
Of Christ’s Dark Cup (1991)
Turn Round, O My Soul (2018)
Mary’s Joyful Shout (1990)
In Peace and Joy I Now Depart (2016)
Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child (2021)
Give Me Jesus (2007)
When I Cross That River (2000)
Many Thousands Gone (2015)
Here I Stand (2018) from Hester – An American Musical
Intoxicated by the Wine of Love (2016)
Sunset St. Louis (2012)
Women Composers (2016)
America, the Promised Land (2008)
Recorded 9, 11-12 June 2023 at St. John’s, Smith Square, London, England. A Candlewood Digital high resolution Natural Presence™ recording: Produced, edited and mastered by Richard Price, Candlewood Digital LLC. Sound engineer: Mike Hatch, Floating Earth Ltd. Assistant engineers: Alex Sermon and James Waterhouse. Project manager: Patrick Garvey. Music consultant: David Angus.