Voices of Ascension
Dennis Keene, conductor

Timeline of Renaissance composers on back cover of program booklet
Complete texts of musical selections

“O Magnum Mysterium” (Oh Great Mystery) begins one of the masterpieces heard on this album, spelling out the spiritual inspiration behind all sacred Renaissance music. “I think that as our modern lives get more and more noisy and cluttered we yearn for a more peaceful and transcendent world. Perhaps that explains the recent interest in the antique music of the church: the music heard in the old basilicas, cathedrals and monasteries of Europe. ‘This particular recording came into being because of the remarkable reaction to the two Renaissance works on our first CD, ‘Mysteries Beyond’ (formerly ‘Ave Maria’). Many of our listeners said ‘let’s have a whole album of Renaissance music” – Dennis Keene, from the booklet notes

Amelia S. Haygood, President and founder of Delos International, has this to say about the title “Beyond Chant”: “In our 22 years of making classical recordings, we have centered our efforts on presenting American artists and composers to as wide an audience as possible. Of late we have tailored some releases, and sections of program booklets on selected titles, to young people.
“While we were working on this project of Renaissance music with Dennis Keene, whose intense commitment to the highest musical standards is immediately obvious to anyone having even casual contact with his work, the phenomenon of ‘crossover,’ pop-oriented interest in recordings of Medieval chant was just beginning to cause a stir in the marketplace.
“While our working title for this recording had been “Mysteries of the Renaissance,” we decided to add a phrase reflecting a topic much discussed during the sessions: the ways in which Renaissance music “took off” from chant. We discussed how we might lead some of the pop-oriented young who were interested in the meditational aspects of chant to the beauty of the Renaissance, in hopes that they might find some of the solaces they had heretofore experienced in chant. Thus our title became “Beyond Chant: Mysteries of the Renaissance.”

Press commentary on Dennis Keene and The Voices of Ascension

“Probably the finest professional chorus I have ever conducted” – Margaret Hillis

“Dennis Keene is the finest young conducting talent in the choral world today.” – Gregg Smith

“Sheer musical excellence… Mr. Keene drew an intensity from his singers that effectively tapped into both the meditative and ecstatic currents of the music.” – The New York Times

“The music on this CD is exquisitely beautiful and the performances are as good as you’re going to hear anywhere.” – Buffalo News

“There’s a wonderful new American chorus – the Voices of Ascension. Beyond Chant: Mysteries of the Renaissance contains singing of superb accuracy, balance and blend.” – The Denver Post

“A wonderfully satisfying cross section of Renaissance music.”

Recorded 20-bit * Dolby Surround

1. Palestrina: Sicut Cervus
2. Josquin Desprez: Ave Maria
3. Lassus: Justorum Anime
4. Palestrina: Jesu Rex admirabilis
5. Palestrina: Exultate Deo
6. Viadana: Exultate Justi
7. Victoria: Jesu, Dulcis Memoria
8. Byrd: Ave Verum Corpus
9. Sweelinck: Psalm 90
10. Sweelinck: Psalm 96
11. Sweelinck: Hodie Christus Natus Est
12. Conductus: O Maria Virgo Pia * Alessandra Visconti, Kathy Etherington, sopranos
13. Josquin Desprez: Tu Pauperum Refugium
14. Tallis: O Sacrum Convivium
15. Tallis: If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments
16. Gibbons: Hosanna to the Son of David
17. Victoria: O Quam Gloriosum
18. Schutz: Selig sind die Toten
19. Leo: Heu Nos Miseros
20. Palestrina: Exaltabo Te
21. Batten: O Sing Joyfully
22. Victoria: O Magnum Mysterium
23. Tye: Laudate Nomen Domini
24. Hassler: Cantate Domino