Paul Halley: How can I keep from singing? – Lord of all hopefulness
Malcolm Archer: When I survey the wondrous cross – We cannot measure – The Lord’s my shepherd
Benjamin Britten: The New Year Carol – The Birds
Aaron Copland: Zion’s Walls – At the river – Simple Gifts – Ching-a-Ring Chaw
Peter Aston: I give you a new commandment
Stephen Paulus: Hear my words
James Biery: O Come, Divine Messiah
Peter Hurford: Litany to the Holy Spirit
Eleanor Daley: Canticle to the Spirit
Ruth Watson Henderson: Bless the Lord, O my soul
César Franck: Panis angelicus
Charles Gounod: Regina Coeli
Gabriel Fauré: Ave verum corpus
K. Scott Warren: Humbly I adore thee
Steve Pilkington: Wondrous Love
Aaron David Miller: I want Jesus to walk with me
Reginald Unterseher: Ev’ry time I feel the spirit
Daniel Roihl: Angel
Saint Ignatius Loyola Children’s Choir, Nancianne Parrella (Organist), Michael Sheetz (Pianist), Mary Hull (Conductor)
Recording: Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola, New York City, New York (June 23-25 and 27, 2011) – 61’09
MSR Classics #MS 1399 – Booklet in English
Nowhere does the sound of angelic purity ring more distinctly than from a children’s choir. Here we have the treble voices of the Saint Ignatius Loyola Children’s Choir singing a wide selection of sacred anthems. The compositional integrity is celestial and delicate. Reorganized in 2001 with four graded choirs based on vocal continuity, the Saint Ignatius Loyola Children’s Choir has made its membership available to those within and outside parish boundaries. Weekly rehearsals yield performances during holidays and festival liturgies; the Choir made their Carnegie Hall debut in 2009.
Recorded within St. Ignatius’ walls, “Angel” possesses deliquescent radiance and religious atmosphere. But the echoes are overpowering enabling avenues of murkiness that fight the compositions’ overall aesthetics. Pieces by Archer, Paulus and Warren act as a serving tray for morsel slivers of soloists all of whom sufficiently stimulate the palette even though they do little to curb the appetite. Diction, inflections and meticulousness are a menu’s requisite “order of the day” for a CD striving to garner credibility amongst its listeners. One will struggle in hearing sharpness and precision seething through these hallowed walls.
While the accompaniments of Michael Sheetz’s piano and Nancianne Parrella’s organ establish a partially positioned halo around the songs, the crown never gets fully straightened by Mary Huff. Vocal techniques are amiss: hesitant lead ins, note searching and note scooping. Any song can easily be sidetracked by having one or two stray notes away from a unison choir. This is likely the most irritating conundrum, leading the listener to focus more on the flaws rather than the merits.
Example: one of the most beautiful selections is César Franck’s Panis angelicus, but as high notes are reached, voices swoop and screech to attain the upper reaches of the ledger line. Little legato exists. Bits of flatness and dullness result.
Professionalism mandates strong discipline. Unfortunately, something is gravely amiss.