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Music of William Ferris

Gloria Patricia Spencer (soprano), Kathleen Meredith (alto), John Vorrasi (tenor) & Philip Skeris (bass)
William Ferris Chorale & Composer Festival Orchestra, William Ferris

Ed È Subito Sera John Vorrasi (tenor) Chicago String Ensemble/Alan Heatherington
Bristol Hills London Symphony Strings, Arnie Roth
Corridors of Light John Shirley-Quirk (baritone) & Sara Watkins (oboe)
William Ferris Chorale & Composer Festival Orchestra, William Ferris

Cedille: CDR7004

A belated tribute CD to an American composer (1937-2000) who was "too conservative for the avant garde and too modern for conservatives" [Francis Crociata] as were the eclectic composers he championed and supported.

The Gloria is devout and exultant, and would be welcome at London venues such as St John's Smith Square and Cadogan Hall. The works with string orchestra reminded me of Gerald Finzi, idiomatically close and given to a similarly leisurely pace; John Vorrasi a fine tenor soloist in the Cantata Ed È Subito Sera.

Corridors of Light, which Ferris conducted (1995) caught my attention, because of its famous baritone soloist John Shirley-Quirk, who used to be a dominant presence in UK. Now, I find, he has been teaching at St John's Hopkins in USA, and recorded this work with his oboist first wife. I remembered John for many premieres of important works including operas, and especially for his kindness working with my small son on Mackerras's famous recording of the Purcell Ode Hail Bright Cecilia, duetting in Hark each tree.

Peter Grahame Woolf