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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Crossing, Rising with the Crossing, Donald Nally


The Crossing is a marvelous chamber choir and you probably know of them if you read these pages. I've covered a fair amount of their releases--they are to me a seminal outfit for the New Music today. They are superb. There's a new one that covers a great deal of ground, Rising w/ the Crossing (New Focus Recordings FCR281).

Featured are a pretty vast potpourri of some 12 short works, beautifully performed. We get two Early Music gems by Buxtehude that manage to sound like they fit in with the Post-Minimal, Radical Tonality gems on display here.

A very prescient opening work, "protect yourself from infection" (2019) is a text from the last Pandemic--the Great Influenza of 1918. A sung list of victims fallen in Philadelphia alternates with a prayer-like chant of preventive health advice from the time. What could be more relevant just now?

And then the nine additional contemporary works have lots to absorb and enjoy. Lang comes through with s couple further points of interest--via several movements from "National Anthems."

Then we get to experience some other choice works that fill out the program nicely, choral studies by Joby Talbot (2000), Erika Esenvalds (2016, 2013), Paul Fowler (2016), Alex Berko (2018), Ted Hearne (2016) and Santa Ratniece (2008). All of these have more or less in common the idea that repetition is not primary but more hooked into tan ambient sonority characteristic to the post-New-Age, so to speak. The Crossing are extraordinarily well-suited to this repertoire for their gorgeous timbral essence, so that everything works out for the very best and keeps listener interest focused and keen, or so I found anyway.

It is a good one for the season, but then for any season in the end. Good show!

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