soft blink of amber light

Soft Blink of Amber Light

Soft Blink of Amber Light is the Houston Chamber Choir’s fourth commercial release on the MSR Classics label, and presents performances of commissions and premieres by some of the nation’s leading composers: Christopher Theofanidis, David Ashley White, Jocelyn Hagen, Dominick DiOrio, and Wayne Oquin.

The album’s title work, soft blink of amber light, by Minnesota composer Jocelyn Hagen, is an introspective and colorful meditation on poetry by Julia Klatt Singer, written for choir and a small instrumental ensemble of flute, clarinet, piano, and marimba. Other works on the recording include Christopher Theofanidis’ Messages to Myself, a dynamic collection of a cappella settings of poetry by Whitman, Rūmī, Kirsten, and Yeats; David Ashley White’s The Blue Estuaries, a collection of expressive settings of poetry by Louise Bogan; and Wayne Oquin’s setting of O Magnum Mysterium. The album closes with Dominick DiOrio’s virtuosic work for choir and marimba A Dome of Many-coloured Glass. Written as a cantata-concerto, DiOrio’s work sets to music poetry by Amy Lowell.


Tracks

David Ashley White (b. 1944)
The Blue Estuaries (1998) [11:22]
I. Evening-Star
II. I Saw Eternity
III. To Be Sung on the Water
IV. Train Tune
V. Night

Jocelyn Hagen (b. 1980)
soft blink of amber light (2014) [8:38]

Christopher Theofanidis (b. 1967)
Messages to Myself (2007) [14:23]

I. Whitman
II. Rūmī
III. Kirsten
IV. Yeats

Wayne Oquin (b. 1977)
O Magnum Mysterium (2013) [4:34]

Dominick DiOrio (b. 1984)
A Dome of Many-coloured Glass (2010) [17:21]

I. Listening
II. At Night
III. Hora Stellatrix
IV. A Winter Rider

Reviews

“This group stands out for sheer excellence in its beauty of tone, clarity of diction, seamless blending of divisions, dynamic shadings, and ability to project the meaning of texts.”
– James A. Altena, Fanfare magazine

Colin Clarke of Fanfare magazine raves that “fans of recent American choral music will find much to enjoy here…strongly recommended.”

Clarke also describes David Ashley White’s The Blue Estuaries as “exquisitely conceived and executed,” Jocelyn Hagen’s titular piece setting as “simply magical,” Christopher Theofanidis’ movements as “magnetic…draw[ing] in the listener inexorably,” and Dominick DiOrio’s cantata-concerto as “a gloriously vigorous performance…wonderfully evocative.”