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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Crossing: A Marvelous Choral Group and Their Release "It is Time"

Romanian poet Paul Celan may not get a great deal of attention here in the States. In the cultural dark ages of the present that is perhaps to be expected. NO modern poetry gets much in the way of attention. Though we lament the dearth of poetry dissemination as a whole we must give recognition (when it is due) to those artists and composers who creatively adapt important modern poetic texts to musical settings.

The Crossing, an exceptionally well-poised chamber choral group, have done something of this nature for Paul Celan's poetry with It is Time (Navona 5845). We get the chance to hear some very beautiful, very post-modern/modern settings of Celan by six less-than-well-known composers: David Shapiro, Kile Smith, Paul Fowler, Frank Havroy, Erhard Karkoschka and Kirsten Broberg.

It was said of some actor or other (I forget who) that he could recite from the phone book and move people to tears; he was that good. In many ways The Crossing under conductor Donald Nally have similar gifts. They sound incredibly beautiful no matter what they are doing. But the compositions themselves on It is Time are by no means lightweight fare. This is the music of today, beyond formula and dogma, richly expressive and unmistakably of our own time.

The results are breathtaking. I do not jest.

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