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These are thrilling performances of Ives’ challenging choral works by the leaders of modern choral interpretation – the SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart. These are visionary works and the only recordings currently available. This is a sonically thrilling and valuable recording for all fans of the choral and vocal arts and of 20th century music.
Charles Ives: Psalm 90, "Lord, thou has been our dwelling place"
Psalm 90, "Lord, thou has been our dwelling place"
Charles Ives: Psalm 24, "The earth is the Lord's"
Psalm 24, "The earth is the Lord's"
Charles Ives: Psalm 67, "God be merciful unto us"
Psalm 67, "God be merciful unto us"
Charles Ives: Psalm 135, "Praise ye the Lord"
Psalm 135, "Praise ye the Lord"
Charles Ives: Psalm 14, "The fool hath said in his heart"
Psalm 14, "The fool hath said in his heart"
Charles Ives: Psalm 25, "Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul"
Psalm 25, "Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul"
Charles Ives: Psalm 100, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord"
Psalm 100, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord"
Charles Ives: Psalm 54, "Save me, O God by thy name"
Psalm 54, "Save me, O God by thy name"
Charles Ives: Psalm 150, "Praise ye the Lord, Praise God"
Psalm 150, "Praise ye the Lord, Praise God"
Charles Ives: Psalm 42, "As pants the Hart"
Psalm 42, "As pants the Hart"
“…their earthiness and openness are sensitively exploited by Marcus Creed and the SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart. From the majesty of Psalm 90 to the modesty of Pants the Hart, this disc is a joy. Though this music
drips with the flavour of Ives’s time, place and purpose, these performances emphasise their timeless brilliance.”
“…nearly all the psalm settings on this disc… must have been written with his church choirs in mind. But it's hard to believe they were sung often or well, since they're written in frankly experimental mode, with difficult pitching and rhythms, and complex harmonies... The virtuosos of the SWR Vocal Ensemble make light of these difficulties, singing firmly and confidently in scarcely accented English.”
“These 10 psalms are not first recordings but most of them have dropped out of the catalogue, so this is largely unknown Ives. This fine collection is a revelation in performances like these from the outstanding Stuttgart choir under its British conductor.”
21st February 2009
“Supremely confident performances under an expert British-born conductor.”
“Ives worked with choirs as a young organist; his father's choir tried out versions of some of these pieces but they wouldn't have got very far. Most of these psalms began life in the 1890s but Ives went on revising them into the 1920s. The most familiar is Psalm 67, God be mercifulunto us, with its superimposed gentle bitonal chords – expertly balanced in this performance. Psalm 90 sets a pattern followed in some of the others – there's a low C held in the organ pedal throughout, consonant chords or unison passages erupt into clusters and back, and a generally mystical atmosphere prevails. This is emphasised by three sets of bells and a low gong 'as church bells in distance' that characterise the serene final section. There are more prominent bells in the jubilant Psalm 100. Nobody but Ives could have dreamt up textures like these. Psalm 135 adds trumpet, trombone, timpani and tenor and bass drums. The percussion creates a subdued march effect against the choir singing in five-time, and there's word-painting for the vapours, lightning and winds. Psalm 25 has extended canons between male and female voices, the whole thing underpinned again by long held pedal notes in the organ. Ives's early Victorian style is represented by Psalm 42, with a lovely solo from Julius Pfeiffer. These 10 psalms are not first recordings but most of them have dropped out of the catalogue, so this is largely unknown Ives. This fine collection is a revelation in performances like these from the outstanding Stuttgart choir.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.