American composer Carson Cooman, born in 1982, has had an extraordinarily productive career; by the time he was 25, his opus numbers were in the mid-700s. He has written in a broad range of genres, including operas, musicals, orchestral, chamber, keyboard, vocal, and choral music. This selection of sacred choral music, some a cappella and some with organ accompaniment, dates from 2002 to 2006. The pieces are arranged according to the order of the liturgical year. Cooman's choral writing is comfortably situated in the mainstream of late twentieth century British and American traditions. It's possible to hear echoes of John Rutter, William Mathias, and Morten Lauridsen in his harmonic language and general style -- it's tonally rich, with clear text setting and an immediately appealing sound. While it may not break any new ground (which should certainly not be demanded of a composer's works written when he was in his early twenties), it is always skillfully, confidently and inventively executed, and it has a rhythmic vitality and drive that make it very attractive. While he includes some standard Biblical and hymn texts, Cooman has broad and deep literary tastes and sets some intriguing poetry. These anthems, motets, and carols were all commissioned by experienced and accomplished choirs, and since Cooman takes full advantage of their skills, the level of difficulty puts most of the pieces outside the range of the average parish choir. The Choir of Royal Holloway, University, conducted by Rupert Gough and accompanied by organist Samuel Rathbone, sings with clarity and expressiveness. Naxos' sound is only adequate -- a little boomy and distant.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|New World Carols: An American Christmas Triptych, for chorus & organ, Op. 515|
|Missa Brevis, for chorus & organ, Op. 558 ("Trottier")|
|Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis, for chorus & organ, Op. 470|