Brigham Young University Singers

Eric Whitacre: Choral Works, Vol. 1

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The a cappella Eric Whitacre choral works heard here were composed between 1991 and 2001, and recorded in a trio of sessions in 1997, 1999, and 2002 by BYU Singers, a student choir from Brigham Young University. Whitacre has pointed to this choir as having an ideal sound for his music, so it's not surprising that the group has tried to capitalize on this with Whitacre releases on its own label. Listeners are not obligated to accept Whitacre's preference, of course, and especially since the great institutions of British choral singing have gotten interested in Whitacre listeners can find performances with greater pitch confidence, and with more idiomatic Spanish pronunciation in the work that did much to put the composer on the map, 1992's Cloudburst, setting texts by Octavio Paz. But there's definitely an X factor in the album's favor: the young singers are palpably excited by the music, and that counts for a great deal. They're also generally impressive for a college choir. In addition to Cloudburst, the album also contains Lux aurumque, the motet that has skyrocketed to popularity since Whitacre conducted hundreds of singers in a simultaneous online performance. Recommended for Whitacre fans, not so much as an "authentic" performance as one done with love.

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