1812 Centre Creek Dr., Suite 110, Austin 78754 / (512) 476-5775 / EMAIL

Samuel Barber: An American Romantic

Choral music by Samuel Barber, with new chamber versions for Conspirare by Robert Kyr

Billboard #10 (issue 09.29.12)

With David Farwig, baritone, and Chamber Orchestra

Recorded September 2011 at Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN

Presented here are some of Samuel Barber’s (1910-1981) finest works for choir. As with his instrumental music, they showcase his ability to write emotive music within pristinely sophisticated structures; works of extraordinary beauty and difficulty. Includes first recordings of new versions (for chamber chorus & orchestra) of Easter Chorale and The Lovers written especially for Conspirare by Robert Kyr (b. 1952). Additional solos by Matt Tresler, Estelí Gomez, and Derek Chester. With Faith Debow, piano, and Thomas Burritt, timpani.– from Harmonia Mundi package notes

“Craig Hella Johnson and his impeccable ensemble perform some of Barber’s most exquisitely sensual music, some familiar, some not. In the hands of Conspirare, ‘romantic’ seems a gross understatement … Conspirare creates dazzling colors. Their attention to detail is exemplary. Their diction is a joy. They sing with a natural precision that doesn’t sacrifice any intimacy of the music … The Agnus Dei is downright shocking.” — Matthew Richard Martinez, ConcertoNet

Everything about this sterling CD says labor of love… Without changing a note or a rhythm of the vocal writing, Kyr has produced what is essentially a new composition of the orchestral music, tighter, truer, and expressive in a more particular, drama-centered way … [The Lovers] takes the combined forces of Conspirare deeper into the realm of the dramatic than usual, and the musicians to a one respond individually and keenly. Their remarkable ensemble – surely this is the best chamber chorus in America – is on evidence throughout the disc; here it just crawls farther out onto the ledge … The versatility Conspirare shows in the performance of music by a single composer is astonishing.” — Tim Pfaff, The Bay Area Reporter

  1. Twelfth night, Op. 42, No. 1 (1968)
  2. To be sung on the water, Op. 42, No. 2 (1968)
  3. The virgin martyrs, Op. 8, No. 1 (1935)
  4. Let down the bars, O death, Op. 8, No. 2 (1936)
  5. REINCARNATIONS: Mary Hynes, Op. 16, No. 1 (1937)
  6. REINCARNATIONS: Anthony O’Daly, Op. 16, No. 2 (1940)
  7. REINCARNATIONS: The Coolin’, Op. 16, No. 3 (1940)
  8. A stopwatch and an ordnance map, Op. 15 (1940)
  9. Sure on this shining night, Op. 13, No. 3 (c. 1968)
  10. Agnus Dei, Op. 11 (choral arrangement 1967)

THE LOVERS, Op. 43 (1971), Kyr version 2011

  1. Prelude (instrumental)
  2. I. Body of a woman
  3. II. Lithe girl, brown girl
  4. III. In the hot depth of this summer
  5. IV. Close your eyes
  6. V. The Fortunate Isles
  7. VI. Sometimes
  8. VII. We have lost even this twilight
  9. VIII. Tonight I can write
  10. IX. Cemetery of kisses
  1. Easter Chorale (Chorale for Ascension Day), Op. 40 (1965), Kyr version 2011