Music of Randall Thompson
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Modern classics for chorus in impeccable performances.

Here is Albany Records' tribute to Randall Thompson in his centennial year. There can never be too many recordings of this wonderful composer's music. His relatively small collection of works is dominated by a cappella choral music, most of it composed to English texts, all of it characterized by splendid craftsmanship and painstaking workmanship, with vocal lines gratefully shaped and rewarding to sing. Not surprisingly, his music is oftentimes classified as neo-classic in its inspiration, a personalized blend of 16th and 17th century contrapuntal techniques with a conservative yet recognizably 20th century harmonic base. His stated goal throughout his career was to create music of sensibility and good taste, which both musicians and audiences would appreciate. He favored simple melodies and harmonies over abstract modernist styles, which he felt to be antithetical to the natural use of the human voice. "Writing for voices has a purifying and refining effect on any composer's work," said Thompson in describing his approach to music. "Choral music makes terrifyingly simple demands. Good texts for choral music must be based on universality of appeal... After choosing a text, then sing it a thousand ways to yourself until you latch on to a tune. Let the tune and the words develop the form, (and when the composition is complete) sing every part yourself. If you can't sing it yourself, there is something wrong."
Contents:
Randall Thompson, composer
The Last Words of David
Roberts Wesleyan Chorale, Robert Shewan, conductor, Barbara Harbach, Organ, Roberts Wesleyan Brass Chorale

Randall Thompson, composer
A Feast of Praise
Roberts Wesleyan Chorale, Robert Shewan, conductor, Barbara Dechario, harp, Roberts Wesleyan Brass Chorale

Randall Thompson, composer
Alleluia
Roberts Wesleyan Chorale, Robert Shewan, conductor

Randall Thompson, composer
The Peaceable Kingdom
Roberts Wesleyan Chorale, Robert Shewan, conductor

Randall Thompson, composer
Twelve Canticles
Roberts Wesleyan Chorale, Robert Shewan, conductor

Randall Thompson, composer
The Best of Rooms
Roberts Wesleyan Chorale, Robert Shewan, conductor

Review:
"...The 1940 Alleluia is one of Thompson's most famous works, and deservedly so. Setting only the title word, it has an instantly memorable lyric contour....The recording and performances are good though flawed. The Roberts Wesleyan Chorale is a college group, and both highly musical and disciplined. At the same time, perhaps as a result of youth and shifting personnel, their sound is not always as polished as one might want....But these aspects do not detract from what is a worthy release." (Fanfare)
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