Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Sowerby The Canticle of the Sun
plus works by William Schuman & Aaron Copland

The Pulitzer Project Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus/Carlos Kalmar

Cedille CDR 90000 125

This is an interesting CD, recommendable on account of its long overdue premiere recording of Leo Sowerby's The Canticle of the Sun (1946 Pulitzer prize) which has had a checkered career as too its prolific composer, whose reputation had its ups and downs and all too few performances of this work. It impressed me as a strong example of mid-40s American music, and the disc is supported by notes which give the whole interesting history of entrepeneur Joseph Pulitzer, his newspapers and his prize.

The Canticle of the Sun was chosen by a jury including Aaron Copland, whose own Appalachian Spring has become almost too popular for another recording of the orchestral suite to be necessary. The Canticle is a powerful and sensitive large scale choral cantata based on St. Francis of Assisi's famous 13th-century hymn praising God and his creations, which lends itself well to his setting taking over half an hour (" - - a panorama of all the elements of heaven and earth - ").

Recorded at a live concert in summer 2010, it is powerfully directed and sung, sonically good and does belated justice to a work which could do well in UK, possibly in The Proms?

Peter Grahame Woolf