Cappella SF and Ragnar Bohlin’s Mass Transmission: Choral Works by Mason Bates is an Opera News Critic’s Choice selection for December!
“Mason Bates isn’t the only contemporary composer who fluidly integrates electronic timbres in symphonic, operatic and chamber-music mediums. But few others have been as successful at proliferating that sound through the repertoire of such major American musical organizations as the Chicago Symphony, Seattle Opera and Santa Fe Opera. … Mass Transmission presents two choral works—one written a decade ago, the other in its world-premiere recording—that scale back on the use of electronic sounds. The album features Bates favoring complex vocal textures while still embracing traditional choral warmth. … Under the direction of artistic director Ragnar Bohlin, the vocal ensemble Cappella SF demonstrates superb harmonic blend and a sharpened sensitivity to subtle changes in dynamics … The voices of Cappella SF take the forefront [in Mass Transmission]. The electronics provide a crucial sense of space and place in its evocations of radio static and Indonesian jungle landscapes, while Demers’s organ adds emotional import and urgency to the sung text. … As a whole, the album confirms what we already know: Mason Bates continues to be relevant and may shape prospective stylistic trends in the worlds of contemporary classical music and opera.”—Daniel J. Kushner, Opera News