Mstation Classical Reviews

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Thu, 20 Apr 2006

Whitacre, Cloudburst

Eric Whitacre - Cloudburst and other choral works
Polyphony, Stephen Layton
Stephen Betteridge, piano Robert Millett, percussion
CD, Hyperion

Nevada born Eric Whitacre grew up with the ambition of being a rock star after having unsuccessfully studied piano, and trumpet. Joining the University of Nevada to study a Major in Music Education, he was seduced into the choir not by the music, but the pretty sopranos. In his own words "I was sort of tricked into joining the choir...My life was profoundly changed on that day and I became a choir geek of the highest order."

Unfortunately, Meurig Bowen has beaten me to writing the luscious programme notes. Definitely worth a read! (Also translated into French and German for convenience).

The opening to this album, I thank you lord for this most amazing day, is exquisite. Conservative though Whitacre's writing maybe in comparison to most composers' efforts of the last century and a bit, his ability to write gorgeous harmonies, encompassing all of the thought of the modern era is no less adventurous. I have caught myself a few times thinking I was listening to very early music of the 15th and 16th century. The clashes, piled triads, suspensions, and innate ability to write for voice astound me. It is almost like film music at times too.

This music is beautiful like your lover, asleep with the morning light cast across them. It is the rolling hills, sharp peaks, crashing waves, and endless dawn and dusk. Impossible though I've found it, picking a highlight from this album, here are a few moments I really spent time over - The climax from 1'11'' of track 2 Track 6 Track 8

Enjoy this, and look out for any concerts where Whitacre's music is being performed. Oh yes, and buy this album too! (E Walton)

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