What is contemporary in classical music today, as I've remarked before, has a huge breadth of possibilities. Today's recording fits right into that ever plastic set of what is allowed and welcomed. It is the choral music of Patricia Van Ness (b 1951) as performed by the acclaimed choral group Coro Allegro, which is a Boston organization comprised of, and sympathetic to the gay and lesbian community. In Paradisum (Navona NV5890) presents two major choral works of Van Ness, her "Requiem" and "The Voice of the Tenth Muse," the latter based on the writings of Sappho.
These are works that have great accessibility and fall somewhere between the postmodernism/neo-old timelessness of Arvo Part and a bit of neo-romanticism, shorn of the cliches one can hear from those more imitative than original in this realm.
David Hodgkins conducts with a fine attention to detail. Coro Allegro and instrumentalists (the latter for the Requiem) respond with verve in these performances. And the works have much to recommend them. Van Ness creates beautiful worlds of choral sound. She seems a natural to writing for voice and the music has much appeal. Choral aficionados looking for music new and good will find this disk quite enchanting.