The New York Concert Singers Judith Clurman, conductor Melanie Feld, oboe; Susan Jolles, harp; Margaret Kampmeier, piano; Lois Martin, viola
"A model of choral virtue." － The New York Times
The striking array of works conducted by Judith Clurman on this－New World's first Christmas recording－opens a window onto the many facets of a contemporary American Christmas. Most of these compositions were first performed at one of the annual Christmas-tree-lighting ceremonies at Lincoln Center, where Clurman has directed music-making since 1992, and many were commissioned for those events.
The carols and anthems of Christmas can be American or European, brand new or very old, and the works on this recording pay tribute to this eclectic ancestry, albeit in very different ways. Some, such as Wayne Oquin's Ave Maria or Ned Rorem's While All Things Were in Quiet Silence, have texts drawn from church liturgy and music with clear historic precedents in anthems and motets of the European tradition. Others focus on the holiday's secular mythology, whether the joy of caroling with friends, as in Joan Morris and William Bolcom's Carol: Neighbors on this Frosty Tide, or human decency, as in Jennifer Higdon's Deep in the Night.
A more satisfying program of Christmas music, ecumenical and brimming with the joy and hope of the season, will be hard to find.
A Season's Promise