Nostos (2017)

Traditional, Brahms, Mantyjarvi, O'Regan, Martynov, Chesnokov, McGlynn, Howells, Esenvalds, Nystedt, Part

The Cal State Fullerton University Singers

Robert Istad

Collaborations in music, and perhaps in life in general, can be among our most rewarding experiences. At Yarlung, these collaborations and camaraderie are what keep us going. Nostos offers an example of just how fruitful this sort of relationship can be.
Music director Robert Istad is one of the most exciting choral conductors in the next generation of American music. He recently inherited the venerable post of Music Director of the Pacific Chorale, led by the eminent John Alexander since 1972.1 Dr. Istad also serves as president of the California Choral Director’s Association, and is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Fullerton. Rob has conducted the Cal State Fullerton University Singers for eleven years.
The School of Music at Cal State University Fullerton justifiably prides itself in excellence, and has done so for many decades. In the vocal arts alone, singers such as Deborah Voigt and Charles Castronovo studied at Fullerton. Cal State University Fullerton President Mildred Garcia takes special interest in music and she counts herself among the many fans of the University Singers. She has described the members of the ensemble as worldwide ambassadors for the university.
President Garcia should be proud. One week before our recording sessions, Rob Istad and the University Singers returned from a triumphant tour in Scandinavia, the Baltics and Russia. Happily for me, the ensemble sang the same repertoire as in our recording, so the singers arrived perfectly rehearsed and in an ideal psychological frame of mind for our project.

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The Cal State Fullerton University Singers

The School of Music at Cal State University Fullerton justifiably prides itself in excellence, and has done so for many decades. In the vocal arts alone, singers such as Deborah Voigt and Charles Castronovo studied at Fullerton. 

One week before the recording sessions, Rob Istad and the University Singers returned from a triumphant tour in Scandinavia, the Baltics and Russia. The singers performed without sheet music on their tour, and this deep familiarity with the repertoire made it possible to record each of the pieces you hear on Nostos in complete takes.  There is no editing involved. Rob’s singers actually sing this well. Yarlung’s board president Aaron Egigian introduced Yarlung to Rob Istad and suggested that his students at Fullerton ranked among the very finest vocal ensembles. Indeed Aaron had hired the singers for concerts at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, where he serves as senior director for music programming. Aaron mentioned their recent tours in Europe and Asia and their 2015 residency in Paris, and commended their local performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Pacific Symphony Orchestras. 

During the summer of  2017, the Singers accompanied the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl for Harry Potter and the Chamber Secrets and the Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban. 

The ensemble’s recent concert tours have included performances in Paris, Austria, Germany, Eastern Europe, Spain, and Australia in venues such as the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, a performance for UNESCO in Pisa, and performances in the Ottobeuren and Eingen music festivals in Germany.   

photo by Cooper Bates (delivered by label)

Robert Istad

Robert Istad is Music Director of the Pacific Chorale. He is professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Fullerton. He is also Artistic Director of the Long Beach Camerata Singers and Long Beach Bach Festival.

Istad received his Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, his Master of Music degree in choral conducting from California State University, Fullerton, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral music at the University of Southern California. He studied conducting with Dr. William Dehning, John Alexander and Dr. Jon Hurty. 

Istad serves as President of the California chapter of the American Choral Director’s Association, and is in demand as an adjudicator, guest conductor, speaker and clinician throughout the nation.

Istad was recognized as Professor of the Year in 2016 and he has prepared choruses for a number of American’s finest conductors and orchestras; including Gustavo Dudamel  and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carl St. Clair and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and many others. 

photo by Alex Koppel (delivered by label)

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Nostos (2017)

Traditional, Brahms, Mantyjarvi, O'Regan, Martynov, Chesnokov, McGlynn, Howells, Esenvalds, Nystedt, Part

The Cal State Fullerton University Singers

    Positive Feedback (Writer's Choice Award 2018)

2018 Writer's Choice Award from Positive Feedback Undertaking a choral recording is no easy task. For instance, the hall's acoustics can make or break the recording not to mention having to carefully balance the direct vs. reflected sound. With that in mind Bob Attiyeh (of Yarlung Records) set out to find just the right venue to record Nostos, and in the end chose the recently finished Valley Performing Arts Center at Cal. State Northridge. (Nostos was also the premiere recording at this new hall.) Fans of the old Decca/Argo choral recording will love this new Yarlung recording. Nostos features the likes of Howell's Requiem, Brahms' Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein rein Herz (Psalm 51), Martynov's Zapovedi blazhenstv (The Beautitudes), Part's Nunc dimittis and Eriks Esenvalds' arrangement of Amazing Grace. No one will be disappointed with the solos on Howell's Requiem nor the Martynov's piece. Nostos is also sonic blockbuster with a sense of space even exceeding those old Argo recordings. Those into digital can download Nostos in Stereo and Multichannel DSD 256 from Native DSD Music.

Myles Astor[read full review]

    Positive Feedback

"Stunning! Remarkable! Never heard such a thing! Eleven vocal works sung and recorded FLAWLESSLY in one take, without sheet music, no editing, recorded in stereo with a legendary AKG C-24 tube microphone, all tube preamplification, and direct to SonoruS ATR12 analog tape recorder!"

Robert H. Levi[read full review]

Nostos (2017)

Traditional, Brahms, Mantyjarvi, O'Regan, Martynov, Chesnokov, McGlynn, Howells, Esenvalds, Nystedt, Part

The Cal State Fullerton University Singers

Analog Recording Equipment: Sonorus ATR12
Digital Converters: Hapi
Editing Software: Pyramix
Mastering Engineer: Steve Hoffman, Bob Attiyeh & Tom Caulfield
Microphones: AKG C-24, Schoeps M222
Recording Engineer: Bob Attiyeh & Arian Jansen
Recording location: Valley Performing Arts Center at Cal State Northridge
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD256

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YAR80173DSD: Nostos
01:09:28   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Nunc dimittis
Part
00:08:16   Select quality & channels above
2.
O crux, Op. 79
Nystedt
00:06:34   Select quality & channels above
3.
Amazing Grace
Esenvalds
00:06:07   Select quality & channels above
4.
Requiem
Howells
00:20:35   Select quality & channels above
5.
Media vita
McGlynn
00:03:47   Select quality & channels above
6.
Spaseniye sodyelal, Op. 25, No. 5
Chesnokov
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7.
Zapovedi blazhenstv
Martynov
00:05:52   Select quality & channels above
8.
Alleluia, laus et gloria
O'Regan
00:02:11   Select quality & channels above
9.
Pseudo-yoik
Mantyjarvi
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10.
Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein rein Herz- Psalm 51 Motet, Op. 29, No. 2
Brahms
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11.
My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord
Traditional
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