NEW YORK CHORAL SOCI - THOMPSON: TESTAMENT OF FREEDOM; FROS
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Top Customer Reviews
The recording, however, features VERY lackluster performances by choir and orchestra. The choir sings without giving to the text any sense of connection or textual phrasing. For example, the choir sounds like: "THE - GOD - WHO - GAVE - US - LIBERTY...," instead of: "The God who gave LIBERTY." Every quarter note should not sound the same; rather, the text should be sung musically with a sense of oratory. All quar-ter-notes-should-not-be-equal.
The orchestra sounds pretty, but doesn't have much spark or energy to give the performance an engaging sense.
If you can, find another recording for these great works. You'll be glad you did.
Let's start with what's right:
1. The balance in the chorus in quite good.
2. The orchestra is excellent.
3. Diction is excellent -- entrances and cut-offs likewise. Vowel-matching has obviously been stressed, and it really helps with the blend.
4. The Testament of Freedom is sung with passion and fire -- precisely what this glorious piece needs. Very well done, indeed.
5. "A Girl's Garden" is utterly delightful! Wonderful clarity, you get a sense of a group of friends telling you a charming story about a village "legend," which is exactly how it should be done, in my opinion.
Now, for some of what I believe are deficiencies:
1. The balance between the orchestra and the chorus in the Testament is off in places. The orchestra overpowers the chorus in some of the quieter parts.
2. As someone else pointed out, the chorus is very noticably FLAT in "The Road Not Taken" -- especially at the end. We're not talking just a minor drift -- it's more like 1/4 tone or more. Surely someone during recording would have noticed?
The problems are enough to keep me from giving this five stars. It's a good recording, and certainly one to have if for no other reason than it's probably the only commercially-available recording of the SATB version of Testament of Freedom. Thompson's setting of Thomas Jefferson's words is extraordinary, and deserves more popularity than it has received. Maybe now that patriotism seems to be back in fashion, this music will receive more play.
As far as the performance itself, it is, as far as I know, one of the few performances of "Testament" and the only one of Frostiana available on CD. Testament is big and bold --- appropriate to the music and setting, I think. Frostiana is delightfully nuanced, although it does sound as though it was recorded in more than one setting. For me, this recording is one of the treasures of my collection. I was particularly glad to find it because only a very old release of "Testament" with "grim" acoustics has been available previously. END
Most recent customer reviews
I sensed that this music was good, possibly very good - but it was hurt so much by the detrimental performance on this CD. Read morePublished on Dec 31 2003
THANK YOU, RANDALL THOMPSON! I love this recording. Especially "The Road Not Taken" from Frostiana. I heard "Frostiana" for the first time at a church concert recently and it has... Read morePublished on July 3 2003
I purchased this cd for the seven-song "Frostiana" segment. That such beautiful music could be recorded with so little passion and audial clarity is very disappointing. Read morePublished on April 13 2001