This album gets off to a splendid start, with the incisive, spirit-lifting Cantate Domino. The organ accompaniment is warm, weighty and, in keeping with the up-tempo nature of the piece, surprisingly nimble. The writing, like the singing, is direct and unfussy, which is the composer’s default position. That’s a strength, not a failing, as the ensuing Immortality, with Kathy Schuman’s ethereal solo and the choir’s ringing ‘Hallelujahs’, so amply demonstrates. As for Unto Thee, O God, the second of the Four Motets, it’s distilled delight. What a lovely, rich tone this choir has, the Ave Maria haloed by another Schuman solo, plus harp, oboes and French horns.
This is singing and playing from the heart, and Steve Colby’s expansive, naturally balanced recording captures it all to perfection.
(...) Really, this is music of unexpected range and quality, not at all what one might expect from the composer of that lid- and roof-lifting spectacular, the Mount St Helens Symphony. In short, From the Ends of the Earth is one of the finest choral recordings I’ve heard since the Tyberg Masses, made with the South Dakota Chorale (Pentatone). That album, also available from NativeDSD, was one of my top picks for 2016, which tells you something about the musical and technical prowess on show here.
Be sore amazed; I certainly was.
“In the superb hands and voices of Gloriæ Dei Cantores, Hovhanness clearly aligns himself with a higher authority.”
“The album is an excellent introduction to the sacred music of this fascinating and deeply spiritual composer.”