O'Regan - Threshold of Night (2008)

O'Regan

Conspirare

Craig Hella Johnson

The two short Emily Dickinson settings that open and close this programme of premiere recordings were commissioned by Conspirare and Craig Hella Johnson for this recording. They frame the programme rather like a compositional ‘inhalation’ and ‘exhalation’, a crescendo and decrescendo or a prelude and postlude. Densely textured, the music aims to hint at the myriad readings Dickinson’s surface-simple poetry yields in its many readers. Each setting uses a solo soprano and tenor, their voices referencing the polarities inherent in each poem (‘sun’ and ‘shade’; ‘love’ and ‘hate’).
The Ecstasies Above takes for its title a phrase found in the lyric poem, Israfel, by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), which was first published in 1831 in The Southern Messenger. The poem is set in its entirety, with the exception of one stanza. Through his creative description of the angel, Israfel, and the heavens, Poe creates a virtuous image of the supernatural. Poe compares this heavenly vision to the harsh reality of human existence. Whilst the beauty of Israfel’s voice and lyre can silence even the moon and the stars in the heavens, Poe suggests that if Israfel were placed in an earthly environment, he would not sing with such zest. From the Koranic source of the name for the protagonist, the story is refashioned by Poe into an homage of ecumenicity to an all-encompassing angel of music. 
Musically the score makes much use of textural variation between the three groups (full chorus, solo octet and string quartet). The tug of war between material that is almost childlike in its playfulness and sections that seem more sombre reflect my own thoughts on Poe’s oeuvre. As a European transplanted to North America, I am intrigued by the seeming disparity between the quasi-adulation of Poe’s poetry in Europe and the much cooler reaction he has always encountered in his native environs.

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Conspirare

Conspirare Company of Voices, based in Austin, Texas, is recognized as one of the country’s premier choral ensembles. Comprised of professional singers from around the United States, Conspirare combines outstanding vocal artistry with innovative programming, creating a uniquely dynamic choral art. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson, the ensemble has received rave reviews and national acclaim including two Grammy nominations for its release Requiem, as well as the 2005 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, presented by Chorus America. In addition to an annual concert series held in Austin and other Texas cities, Conspirare has toured the San Francisco Bay Area and performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York as part of the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association. In 2008, Conspirare was the only choir from the United States invited to perform at the Eighth World Symposium on Choral Music in Copenhagen. Other Conspirare releases include through the green fuse (2004) and a collection of works by British composer Tarik O’Regan entitled Threshold of Night (2008) which was Conspirare’s inaugural release for harmonia mundi usa.

Craig Hella Johnson

Craig Hella Johnson is the founding Artistic Director of Conspirare. He has earned a reputation as one of the finest choral conductors in the United States. His performances are consistently praised for their musical integrity and depth of artistry and have drawn national acclaim. In addition to presenting works from the choral classics, Craig Hella Johnson continues to explore the relationship and interconnectedness of various musical styles; blending classical and popular, sacred and secular. In addition to his work with Conspirare, he is Music Director Laureate and Conductor for the Victoria Bach Festival. Guest conducting engagements include the Austin Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, the Berkshire Choral Festival and the St. Olaf Choir.

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O'Regan - Threshold of Night (2008)

O'Regan

Conspirare

Mastering Engineer: Sound/Mirror
Producer: Blanton Alspaugh
Recording Engineer: John Newton, Tom Caufield
Recording location: Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy New York
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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Included in any DSD purchase is access to the base DSD64 resolution. All DSD capable units will be able to play DSD64.
Album Download duration price
807490DI: O'Regan - Threshold of Night
00:59:26   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Had I Not Seen the Sun
O'Regan
00:01:52   Select quality & channels above
2.
The Ecstasies Above - I.
O'Regan
00:05:34   Select quality & channels above
3.
The Ecstasies Above - II.
O'Regan
00:05:40   Select quality & channels above
4.
The Ecstasies Above - III.
O'Regan
00:06:11   Select quality & channels above
5.
Threshold of Night
O'Regan
00:06:19   Select quality & channels above
6.
Tal vez tenemos tiempo
O'Regan
00:07:49   Select quality & channels above
7.
Care Charminge Sleepe
O'Regan
00:06:13   Select quality & channels above
8.
Triptych - I. Threnody
O'Regan
00:04:28   Select quality & channels above
9.
Triptych - II. As We Remember Them
O'Regan
00:07:53   Select quality & channels above
10.
Triptych - III. From Heaven Distilled a Clemency
O'Regan
00:05:14   Select quality & channels above
11.
I Had No Time To Hate
O'Regan
00:02:13   Select quality & channels above

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