“The Valley Sings”
Choral music by composers of the Hudson Valley: G. Tsontakis, A. Copland, Panaiotis, J. Fitzwilliam, C. Fryer, P. W. Sipple, J. B. Hedges, J. Russell, S. Hoffman Warren, E. Lundergan & P. Schickele
Kairos, A Consort of Singers, Edward Lundergan (Conductor)
Recorded at Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY (June 12, 13, 17 and 24, 2012) – 63’16
MSR Classic #: MS 1427 – Booklet with songs in English
The “Kairos Consort of Singers” was founded in 1994 by a Brother of the Holy Cross Episcopal Monastery, and reorganized in 1996 by current Artistic Director Dr. Edward Lundergan. It often performs in the acoustically wonderful monastery, where this recording was made.
No claims are made for the Hudson River Valley School of Music, and yet listening to this delightful and moving CD, The Valley Sings, featuring the Kairos performing the work of composers from the region, the question arises: What do they have in common with the painters of the region?
Committed to the region and to singing the works of George Tsontakis (now at Bard, one of the musical anchors of the northeast US), Edward Lundergan and Aaron Copland.
These are all composers born in the 20th century, Copland squeaking in with a birthdate of 1900. The artists all come from the 19th century and were influenced by British painters like Constable, a pleine aire painter who was a rival of J.M.W. Turner.
Shirley Hoffman Warren’s wicked Purpoe of a Cat is for a cappela choir and clearly reflects her jazz background as well as a classical formality. Peter W. Sipple sets poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins in frames.
Ever impish, Peter Schickele, known best to New Yorkers for his PDQ Bach evenings, plunges into haiku, capturing the rhythms of the 5.7.5 beat phrases, and the tones of Japanese music, which reflect the high and low pitches of the language. Particularly the high tones of the consort are clear and pierce the sound space like a clap of thunder on Mt. Marcy and Skylight, the highest source of the Hudson.
As you listen to this recording, you can hear the dominance of light, or monumentality. There is much drama, a certain wildness reflecting the native scenery of the region. Light and air bathe terrestrial forms.
Many of the pieces are religious, but they feel more reverential than they do worshipful, a feeling that inevitably creeps over you as you look at the majestic Hudson wending its way north to its origins in the Adirondack mountains near the Lake of Tear Clouds, a musical name if you’ve ever heard one.
This album is a good way to keep up with contemporary music. It is both provocative and easy on the ear. It is a wonderful introduction to the glories of the Hudson valley, among which Edward Lundergan’s Kairos Consort of Singers must be counted.
Kairos is a Greek word meaning the right, opportune or supreme moment. This recording is full of such moments.
The high-resolution CD has not been compressed and reproduces the music’s dynamic range as intended by the performers.