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Chicago a cappella Forestier, Palestrina and "Eclectric"


Choirs and choral ensembles are like human bodies, constantly renewing their composition, but remaining themselves. Three CDs received from Chicago a cappella for review have made a fine early Christmas present, all of which I am happy to recommend for consideration.

The group has retained the same Artistic Director, bass Jonathan Miller, but the personnel are mostly different since they recorded Palestrina in 1996. His music is a little bland to my taste, but the Mathurin Forestier is a real gem and a notable discovery.

Miller characterises helpfully the special features which give this obscure composer, about whom little is known, a personal musical identity. Forestier's two masses display long lines which remind Miller of Josquin and Ockeghem, textures in a low range and never muddy, with strong forward momentum and rhythmic interest. Miller deduces that Forestier sang bass because of the particular excellence of his writing for the lower voices.

ECLECTRIC is a delightful compilation of modern compositions and arrangements, of huge variety in provenance and style. There are a couple of jazzy items (American style vocal-jazz originating from Stockholm!); El Hambo by Mäntyjärvi (one of my favourite choral composers); Chinese/Western fusion by Chen Yi; a tasty sequence of texts about food by Bob Chicott.



Full information with complete track listings and purchase info
at http://www.chicagoacappella.org/recordings/recordings.htm


Centaur Records Inc has a site well worth exploring, with many featured composers unknown in Europe


See also Chicago a cappella's recording of Shakespeare songs on Cedille reviewed by Musical Pointers














© Peter Grahame Woolf