Composers: Henk Badings, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Claude Debussy, Jerome Kern, Aaron Jay Kernis, Morton Lauridsen, Gyorgy Ligeti, Meredith Monk, Francis Poulenc, Carl Rutti, Conrad Susa, John Tavener, Randall Thompson
The Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Symphony Chorus explores the rich variety of choral traditions of the 20th century. The Chorus’s acclaimed director, Vance George, has compiled a program of remarkable scope and variety. Voices 1900/2000 traces the last century’s extraordinary evolution of musical styles, through Romanticism, Expressionism, Impressionism, Minimalism, and a host of experimental forms along the way, incorporating chant, religion, jazz, folk, Broadway, pop and more. It includes an array of international influences, from America, England, France, Holland, Switzerland, and Hungary. The 20th century’s advances in technology and global communication have encouraged these seemingly disparate elements to co-exist as they do so comfortably on this CD. What all the works on Voices 1900/2000 have in common is their undisputable quality. The San Francisco Symphony Chorus is one of America’s foremost symphonic choruses and has had the opportunity to work with many of their notable compatriots. Voices 1900/2000 presents the meditative and hypnotic works of Aaron Jay Kernis and Meredith Monk, as well as the stalwart tonality of Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein. France is represented by Claude Debussy, and Francis Poulenc in an Expressionist 1940s war-time work. Mid-century compositions by Hungarian Gyorgy Ligeti and Dutch Henk Badings offer fascinating contrast. A 1993 work by the Swiss composer Carl Rutti successfully fuses minimalist rhythms with impressionist harmonies. The CD opens with one of the choral icons of the 1990s, John Tavener’s Song for Athene, which was notably performed at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. Voices 1900/2000 is an engaging retrospective of choral music from around the world, allowing the listener to enjoy revisiting the developments of the last century and look forward to seeking out new vistas in the next.