The depth of the American choral scene is aptly demonstrated by the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. Hailing from the comparatively small (albeit culturally rich) city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, they yield to nobody in the technical realm, with a smooth small-ensemble sound even in the thorniest textures on the program, the pieces from The Mid-Winter Songs of Morton Lauridsen. The group reverses the order of the usual choral recital, opening with familiar melodies before proceeding to more contemporary music (and finally back to the pop song I'll Be Seeing You). Reactions may vary in the more vernacular material; the feigned African American accent in Unclouded Day seems awkward, especially in that this is not a work from the African American tradition, even if the Staple Singers were among its most prominent exponents. But the contemporary compositions are unusually well done, and they include unusual works including Jake Runestad's Reflections, commissioned by the choir. Sample the reflective Dominus Vobiscum, of Haitian American composer Sydney Guillaume, for a fair representation of the choir's aims. The engineering, at the acoustically appropriate Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, is another strong point. The Santa Fe Desert Chorale is a fresh voice in American choral singing, and one looks forward to future releases from the group.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Heavenly Home: Three American Songs|
|Excerpts from Mid-Winter Songs|