sleeper's prayer: Choral Music from North America

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In barely a decade of existence, Merton College’s new choral foundation has ambitiously redefined the choral landscape of the great university city of Oxford through its twin commitment to excellence & innovation.

Now, focusing entirely on American music of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, this latest in a series of thematically conceived recordings begins as a striking ‘double portrait’ of two composers who have written or arranged works especially for the choir.

David Lang’s austere choral postminimalism, informed by a background of Jewish liturgy and thought, provides a striking foil to Nico Muhly’s more richly referential approach; Muhly fell in love with the Anglican tradition as a young chorister in Rhode Island.

Two solo organ works by Muhly, and a transcription from his mentor Philip Glass’s opera Satyagraha, widen the expressive gamut still further – from whimsical allusiveness to meditative calm – and are set in context alongside the more stylistically eclectic yet no less powerfully communicative sound-worlds of Libby Larsen and Abbie Betinis. Two final choral items draw on pre-existing traditions of the spiritual and the Baptist hymnal in moving demonstration of the New World’s ability to honour its past while gazing Firmly ahead.

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Recorded: 30 Jun - 2 July 2019, Merton Chapel

Release Date: 22 May 2020
Catalogue No: DCD34232
Total playing time: 1:03:35