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Best known for his inspired Son of God Mass for saxophone, choir and organ, the British composer, conductor and writer James Whitbourn is admired for his fresh, distinctive yet accessible compositional voice. Setting texts from ancient seers to the mod
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'Light is stronger than darkness' declares the chant in "A Prayer of Desmond Tutu", led by the archbishop himself. Lustrous words are at the spiritual heart of these songs. Composer James Whitbourn has turned lucid reflections of seers through the ages into choral psalms of illumination. Their confessional moments of clarity give form to hope, and beaming paths for the chorus. The monumental seven-section title piece "Luminosity" interprets brilliant quotes in spectral chorales with undertones of Indian trance.
Conversely, "There is no speech or language" aptly describes the other side of revelation, the undescribable rush of emotion. Chorals are so sonorously beautiful that they escape words into pure tones. Whitbourn weaves these textures of emotion into evocations of soaring grace, or comforting solace, or jubilant release. "Alleluia Jubilate" is breathtaking, so radiant it stuns you into rapt stillness. This music is like dappling sunlight. It describes something deeper and wider than words can reach. It is trancendent and wonderful enough just for that.
This ethereal and eerie music would also appeal to fans of David Axelrod; Ennio Morricone and his soprano Edda Dell'Orso; Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise ("Twin Peaks"); Miranda Sex Garden; Lush; Bjork; Buddha Bar comps; and Goldfrapp.
The etherial, beautiful sounds of multiple human voices combined with pipe organ, sitar, viola and other instruments is unlike anything I'd heard before, particularly in such a modern work. Most contemporary music that i am casually familiar with is so atonal to my ears as to not be of any interest whatsoever.
This is the kind of album that needs to be listened to in a darkened room on a quality stereo with no disturbances.
If music stirs your soul, this is a must-have.
I would expect such an experience from Bach or Mozart, but to hear this in a modern format done almost exclusively with human voice is a truly mystical experience. Whitbourn is a genius.