Review By Colin Eatock,Houston Chronicle,December 2011
Eric Whitacre is currently a star in the choral world, and this disc certainly helps to explain why. His music is rich, resonant and entirely suited to the choral medium. Mind you, it helps that the choir recorded on this work—Noel Edison’s the Elora Festival Singers—is one of the finest vocal ensembles on the continent.
…Whitacre’s choral textures shines radiantly. This is meditative music, but it also has an underlying power in it. © 2011 Houston Chronicle Read complete review
Review By Jerónimo Marín,Ritmo,January 2011
Eric Whitacre es un compositor americano nacido en Nevada, Estados Unidos, y que ha entrado en su periodo de madurez, pues su fecha de nacimiento es 1970. Su estilo musical es apto para todos los públicos, lo que ha llevado a una difusión de su música sin igual—de sus 44 obras escritas hasta hoy ha vendido más de un millón de partituras—. Y dentro de ese escaso bagaje su obra coral es particularmente atractiva y bella, basada en algo tan simple como una armonía con abundancia de intervalos de segunda y una delicada atención de los textos. Escuche tan solo una obra como Lux Aurumque, y quedará prendado de esta escritura de abundantes armónicos que nos invaden los oídos. Créame si le digo
Review By Lisa Flynn,WFMT (Chicago),December 2010
Eric Whitacre is now the unquestioned superstar of American choral composers. His marriage of poetry with beauty of sound creates a unique and enchanting sonic world. A wide selection of his most well-known music is brilliantly captured on this CD by the Elora Festival Singers of Canada.
Review By Lindsay Koob,American Record Guide,November 2010
the Elora Festival Singers shine here from start to finish. Excellent recorded sound reveals their every note and nuance, and the folding booklet contains excellent and revealing notes…At last we have a top-notch Whitacre collection for the discriminating but budget-conscious choral fan.
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Review By Jason Victor Serinus,Spirit of Change,October 2010
Even before his YouTube Virtual Choir recording of “Lux aurumque” (Light of gold) became an international hit, Nevada-born Eric Whitacre, 40, had become the golden boy of American choral music. The reasons for his fame are abundantly clear on this new, budget CD from Naxos. His music, with its easily assimilated, almost otherworldly strangeness and ethereal beauty, touches a deep core within our being.
Review By Roger Knox ,The WholeNote,October 2010
This recording will appeal to admirers of well-crafted choral music that judiciously incorporates contemporary musical techniques. American composer Eric Whitacre (b. 1970) has cultivated a style where added notes and tone clusters are the norm in higher registers. With careful attention to pitch content, texture, register, and dynamics, seldom is an unattractive sound heard. Though based in innovations by other composers great and small, Whitacre’s music shows special artistry in focusing technique to ends. In Her Sacred Spirit Soars, simply thickening and thinning sonorities as pitches rise and fall conveys the sacred spirit of the music’s long-breathed motion. I particularly like the mystical sense in Lux aurumque (Light of Gold), about which the
There are effective piano-accompanied settings, of E.E. Cummings’ little tree with its ecstatic ending, and of Octavio Paz’s Little Birds which includes whistling, repeated consonants and quasi-aleatoric (random) singing. I prefer the sensitivity to mood in the short lyrical works; When David Heard and percussion-enhanced Leonardo Dreams of his Flying Machine have longer minimalist passages I find less convincing.
Noel Edison’s splendid Elora Festival Singers are up to Eric Whitacre’s every challenge. Perfectly pitched, vibrato-less sopranos in multiple parts produce sounds of wonderful life. All sections contribute to the tour-de-force with well-balanced sonorous blocks and long-decaying tones evoking reverberant space. Which brings me to close by noting the fine production and engineering by Bonnie Silver and Norbert Kraft of this important recording.
Review By Malcolm Riley ,Gramophone,September 2010
A must-have recording of the honest, transparent music of Eric Whitacre
It is largely due to the discerning advocacy of Stephen Layton and Polyphony that the choral music of Eric Whitacre (b1970) has enjoyed such a meteoric success in the UK in recent years. Several of the items on their “Cloudburst” disc (Hyperion) are also included in this equally polished release.
Review By Lawrence A Johnson ,The Classical Review,August 2010
In the last decade Eric Whitacre has quietly become one of the most performed American composers at home and increasingly so abroad, an impressive achievement for one who has just turned 40 this year.
Whitacre, who studied with John Corigliano, has written music for wind band, orchestra and even an eclectic pop musical, Paradise Lost, “combining trance, ambient and techno electronica with choral, cinematic, and operatic traditions.” But it is his a cappella choral music for which he is primarily known, and this present disc makes a fair sampler of his works in the genre.
Review By David Patrick Stearns ,The Philadelphia Inquirer,July 2010
Eric Whitacre is the flagbearer in the new generation of choral music composers, thanks to music that’s lush, consonant, harmonically sophisticated, but, unlike the older Morten Lauridsen, more than unending streams of gorgeousness. Again and again in this collection of mostly shortish works—including oft-recorded pieces such as I thank you God for most this amazing day and the lesser-known Birds , one of his many settings of Octavio Paz poems—Whitacre stands above the others thanks to his extra spark of musical invention as well as his instincts for gentle surprise and knowing when an idea has run its course.
Review By Infodad.com,July 2010
There are highly personal elements throughout the choral music of Eric Whitacre (born 1970), and they are heard in abundance on a new CD of 11 of his works. Eight of these pieces are a cappella and give Whitacre ample scope for his eclectic mix of contemporary techniques and sounds with vocal music’s traditional emphasis on precision of enunciation and beauty of tone. The longest piece here, When David Heard, gives the Elora Festival Singers nearly 13 minutes of sometimes-intricate, sometimes-direct communication, and Noel Edison paces them well—their textural clarity and warmly blended sound are quite effective. The other a cappella pieces on this CD are Her Sacred Spirit Soars, A Boy and a Girl, Water Night, This Marriage, Lux aurumque (here translated incorrectly as
Review By Norman Lebrecht,Dilettante,June 2010
Whitacre, 40, is among the most performed American composers of the moment. You can hear why from this sing-easy disc of simple harmonies for amateur choirs, rooted in the Anglican tradition. Blindfold, he could be mistaken for John Rutter. Before long, my ear is begging for a challenging interval, or a tempo change. Noel Edison conducts the Elora Festival Singers. Perhaps I should try Whitacre’s instrumental and electronic output.
Review By Lawson Taitte ,The Dallas Morning News,June 2010
At 40, Nevada native Eric Whitacre is already one of the world’s most popular choral composers. He has two major British gigs, and there are annual festivals named for him in Australia and Italy. One of his pieces has eight recordings by different groups in the catalog.
This CD by a distinguished Canadian ensemble conducted by Noel Edison holds some of his most popular works and several less-familiar ones. The transparent glow of the higher voices is aptly suited to Whitacre’s eclectic and luminous style.
These aren’t pieces for church choir. Most have secular texts by poets such as Emily Dickinson, E.E. Cummings and Octavio Paz. Occasionally there’s instrumental accompaniment such as piano or percussion.
Review By James Manishen,Winnipeg Free Press,June 2010
The first impression of American composer Eric Whitacre, 40, is his absorbing harmonic language. Uncomplicated, yet well upholstered with the interval of the “second” adding crunch to the tonal harmonies. A lot happens underneath the variety of texts here, but the music unfolds so organically, one senses neither text nor tone could function independent of the other.
Review By Joshua Meggitt,Cyclic Defrost,June 2010
Nevadan composer Eric Whitacre specialises in music for choir and wind, and this survey of recent choral works is an excellent introduction to the former. Those fond of the sublime sonorities of Arvo Part and John Tavener take note: Whitacre too works in crafting music of incredible beauty, vast glistening harmonies which possess a transcendental purity while utilising contemporary, almost idiosyncratic structures.
Review By WQXR (New York),June 2010
The Elora Festival Singers, one of Canada’s finest professional choirs, present eleven of his most popular works based on a mix of sacred and secular texts from Rumi, Octavio Paz, e. e. cummings, the Bible and Charles Anthony Silvestri. The pieces are as much about atmosphere as music.
Review By John Terauds,Toronto Star,June 2010
The liner notes for this new album—issued a few weeks before the start of the annual Elora Festival—are the most overwrought and opaque introduction to a composer’s music I have ever read. So, don’t read. Listen, and be seduced by 61 minutes of 21st-century choral bonbons, as rendered by one of Canada’s finest professional choirs and their founding music director of three decades, Noel Edison. Mining poetry from several different cultures, adventurous U.S. composer Eric Whitacre blends the clear textures of minimalism, the complex tone clusters of the late-20th century and the slippery tonal centre of 100 years ago with the polyphonic Renaissance, creating a natural tension that envelops us in enchanting, atmospheric aural worlds. The 11 tracks are a
Review By Olivia Giovetti,Time Out New York,June 2010
Composer Eric Whitacre is all about text and context. As he explains in the liner notes for his latest CD, Choral Music, just issued on Naxos, “I simply try to quiet myself enough to hear the notes already hidden below the poet’s words.” The result of his self-quieting is 11 musical happenings, a set of works that can be enjoyed individually or in one lush choral bender.
Review By Gail Eichenthal,National Public Radio,June 2010
I can’t possibly forget the first time I heard about the music of Eric Whitacre—it was moments after the inaugural concert at Los Angeles’ brand-new Walt Disney Hall, in 2003. I’d had the honor of co-hosting an NPR live broadcast that night and was leaving the hall when I bumped into an old friend, the L.A. Philharmonic’s audio producer, Fred Vogler. Fred, in turn, introduced me to a friend of his, a young man named Eric Whitacre who looked exactly like a rock star—long dirty blond hair, a hint of stubble on his chiseled face.
“He’s one of the most frequently performed choral composers of our time,” Vogler said. I nodded politely, thinking, “Of course he is, Fred. And I’m Clara Schumann.”
Review By Jeff Simon,The Buffalo News,June 2010
“His music has struck a universal chord in an area that no longer seems to be universal,” writes annotator Tim Sharp. You can say that again. The last disc of Whitacre’s choral music by the choral group Polyphony, called “Cloudburst” was some of the most sumptuous choral music of our time. So is this, whether Whitacre takes his texts from Rumi, Octavio Paz, E.E. Cummings, the Bible or Charles Anthony Silvestri. If any of this were the first music you heard in the afterlife, you’d know right away that your news for eternity was good—very good. frankly, that’s what this music sounds like.
Review By Stephen Eddins ,Allmusic.com,June 2010
Not only is the ensemble Elora Festival Singers founded and led by Noel Edison, the resident choir of the summer festival held about an hour west of Toronto, but its concerts, tours, and recordings have established it as one of the freshest Canadian chamber choirs. It’s an exceptionally fine group, with a warm, well-blended, youthful sound, and the singers’ discipline and technical prowess are evident in everything they sing. This album devoted to the choral music of Eric Whitacre includes almost half of the works for mixed voices he had written up to 2009, and it’s an impressive collection. Whitacre is a master of the lusciously rich harmonic language that has become the lingua franca of tonal choral music in the new century, but he also brings an exceptionally
Review By Steven Ritter ,Audiophile Audition,June 2010
Aside from the “Cloudburst” album on Hyperion, most of my exposure to the music of 40-year old Nevada native Eric Whitacre has been on choral compilations, though I know that at least one instrumental work for Wind Band has also been recorded on Naxos. Whitacre loves superimposed harmonies and lingering dissonances, not unlike some of the music of John Tavener, though I think Whitacre the better composer overall. There is an ecstatic nature to his music, but even this is becoming cliché these days as more and more choral composers are indulging themselves with this sort of static, soprano-intense sound clusters not unlike what Ligeti was doing 30 years ago, but contextually more significant and definitely more accessible.
Review By ,Balaam's Music,May 2010
Although still a relatively young man—he was born in 1970—Whitacre’s music is becoming increasingly popular with choirs and choral societies. We’ve certainly sold hundreds of his choral parts in the last couple of years, with pieces like Lux Aurumque and Water Night leading the way. It’s interesting, beautiful, music with original textures and sonorities, set to a wide variety of texts. Performed by a top Canadian chamber choir, the Elora Festival Singers, conducted by Noel Edison, it’s a highly enjoyable fiver’s worth.
Review By David Vernier,ClassicsToday.com,May 2010
Eric Whitacre’s choral works have been generously surveyed on disc, but only a handful of choirs have yet devoted an entire recording to his music. He couldn’t have more luminous or illuminating interpreters than the Elora Festival Singers, a choir that I’ve heartily praised in the past and that deserves the same recognition here. Although there is much duplication, this program makes a fine companion to the 2005 recording by Polyphony (Hyperion) that I previously recommended.
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