Island of Hope
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The New Amsterdam Singers give splendid performances of new choral music by American composers.

Ronald Perera was born in Boston in 1941. He studied composition with Leon Kirchner at Harvard. He also worked independently with Randall Thompson in choral music and with Mario Davidovsky in electronic music. His compositions include operas, song cycles, chamber, choral and orchestral works, and several works for instruments or voices with electronic sounds. He has taught at Syracuse University, Dartmouth College and, since 1971, at Smith College. The Golden Door was commissioned in 1997 by New Amsterdam Singers and its first performance was at Merkin Hall on June 8, 1999. The Garment of Praise is Part Four of Randall Thompson's Requiem, commissioned by the University of California in 1958. It is a major piece and a choral tour de force. Using biblical texts, Thompson writes for unaccompanied double chorus. The style has much in common with the polychoral works of Schutz. With its moving simplicity and direct appeal, it needs no explanation in order to be appreciated. Paul Alan Levi's Act of Love was commissioned by New Amsterdam Singers in connection with the chorus's 30th anniversary in 1998. Levi was also born in 1941 and was educated at Oberlin, the Juilliard School and Columbia University. His principal teachers were Hall Overton and Vincent Persichetti. Levi is currently on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. He has also taught at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, New York University and Rutgers. Ricky Ian Gordon was born in 1956 into a show business family (his mother was a singer). He studied piano and then composition at Carnegie Mellon University, where he discovered theater, acting and writing songs for drama department productions. His passion for American 20th century poetry and drama is evident in his choice of lyrics for recent compositions. Three by Langston, commissioned by Keynote Arts Association for the 1998 Manhattan Choral Festival, is set to poems by Langston Hughes and is a blend of the best in popular and classical American music.
Contents:
Ronald Perera, composer
The Golden Door
New Amsterdam Singers, Clara Longstreth, conductor

Randall Thompson, composer
The Garment of Praise
New Amsterdam Singers, Clara Longstreth, conductor

Paul Levi, composer
Acts of Love
New Amsterdam Singers, Clara Longstreth, conductor

Paul Levi, composer
Memoirs and Best Friends
New Amsterdam Singers, Clara Longstreth, conductor

Paul Levi, composer
In Praise
New Amsterdam Singers, Clara Longstreth, conductor

Ricky Ian Gordon, composer
Three by Langston
New Amsterdam Singers, Clara Longstreth, conductor

Leonard Bernstein, composer
Almighty Father, from Mass
New Amsterdam Singers, Clara Longstreth, conductor

Leonard Bernstein, composer
Make Our Garden Grow, from Candide
New Amsterdam Singers, Clara Longstreth, conductor

Review:
"This is...meaningful and enjoyable music...Any American choral fan should relish this different and affecting collection." (American Record Guide)
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