Mormon Tabernacle Choir / Orchestra at Temple Square

He Is Risen

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In the 1960s, recordings by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir were major events. The choir is not quite such a household name these days, but its sound is little changed and it remains perennial classical chart-toppers. This Easter release, in any event, could serve as a fine introduction to the group. One caution is in order: only the track listings on the physical CD and online make it clear this is an EP, with about 25 minutes of music. But it's a 25 minutes of vast musical spaces, with familiar tunes, mostly from outside the Mormon orbit, expertly arranged by several musicians who are intimately familiar with the choir, the Orchestra at Temple Square, and the relationship of both to the environment of the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, which is really the star of the show. No conductor is credited, curiously, but presumably it was Mack Wilberg, the choir's music, director, who also did several of the arrangements. Those arrangements are textbook examples of how to treat a really big choir subtly, and this is nowhere more apparent than in the grand finale, "Worthy is the lamb that was slain," from Handel's Messiah. This piece is very easy to overpower, and the clarity of the choral lines could have come from a recording with a Baroque choir of eight. Recommended even beyond the circle of the choir's usual fans or Easter holiday celebrants.

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