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CD138   Songs of Love for Chorus



Songs of Love for Chorus

Music of Rands, Hawley, and Thomas

Woodley Ensemble
Frank Albinder, conductor
Elizabeth Blakeslee, harp

  • Complete texts and translations
  • 70'30" total playing time

CD138    $15.95

Purchase from Canticle Distributing

Albinder and Woodley take an adventuresome foray into various aspects of the subject "Love." Although a few selections from Canti d'amor and Love Songs were previously recorded by Chanticleer, this is the first recording of both of the complete cycles, and this is also the first commercial recording of Rands' ...among the voices... . Hawley's Six Madrigals, written for Chanticleer, have been recorded by them.

Bernard Rands
Canti d'amor
for Mixed Voices A Cappella (1991)
"...among the voices..."
for Mixed Voices and Harp (1988)
Augusta Read Thomas
Love Songs
for Mixed Chorus A Cappella (1997)
William Hawley
Six Madrigals
for Mixed Voices A Cappella (1986)

Listen Listen:

No. IX. “In the dark pine-wood” from Canti d’amor by Rands

No. VI. “For stony limits cannot hold love out” from Love Songs by Thomas

“Siepe, che gli orti vaghi” from Six Madrigals by Hawley


Over half of the selections here are from Bernard Rands, one of our distinguished British imports. The 15 short madrigals of Canti d'Amor treat texts from James Joyce in a highly original style indebted to Monteverdi's collection of the same title. His four harp-supported Samuel Beckett settings of Among the Voices are complex modern marvels, illuminating "tiny, exquisite modules of language" with striking musical juxtapositions.

Rand's wife August Read Thomas, to whom the first set is dedicated, contributes seven fascinating Love Songs. They set text fragments as brief as four words from such notables as Shakespeare, Lord Byron, and Emerson. Like her husband's work, these sophisticated pieces illuminate key words and phrases in a searching, stylized fashion also reminiscent of ancient madrigals.

Wiliam Hawley offers a more flowing, tonally conservative approach to his Six Madrigals that conclude the program. He casts the 16th-Century Italian texts from Torquato Tasso in the imitative style of the Renaissance masters, while reminding us of his contemporary pedigree with recurring harmonic surprises. Lines of limpid polyphony alternate with more emphatic homophonic passages."    --American Record Guide January/February 2004

This recording...is seventy minutes of exquisite contemporary choral singing. From the lush opening chord to the last, conductor Frank Albinder leads the Washington D.C. based ensemble with impeccable precision. Especially impressive is the vertical tuning displayed by this group while performing repertoire replete with difficult harmonies and tone clusters. Dynamic contrasts are thrilling and heartfelt and are indicative of the singers' connection to the poetry.
  --Scott R. Buchanan, Choral Journal, April 2004