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St Olaf's Choir and Chamber Ensemble - Ives - The Herald

24 May 2003
The Herald
Michael Tumelty
4 Stars

Usually the very mention of the name of one of America's greatest experimental composers, Charles Ives, would be enough to send traditional music lovers heading for cover. Some years ago when there was a performance in Glasgow of the second symphony, with its multiple combinations of hymn tunes, marching band tunes and popular melodies all being played simultaneously and culminating in the bugle calls of a cavalry charge, that audience was shell-shocked.

Quite unlike the symphonies of the great man, The Celestial Country is a beautiful oratorio for choir, soloists, organ and string quartet. While there is the odd hint of astringency in the harmonies, by and large it is a warmly Romantic composition, sung with deep feeling by the St Olaf Choir from Minnesota. A little know early work, worth investiagting.

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St. Olaf Choir with Chamber EnsembleSt. Olaf Choir with Chamber Ensemble
Ives: The Celestial CountryIves: The Celestial Country