Title - 'The Road Home'
Artist - Santa Fe Desert Chorale
For those not in the know, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale was founded in 1982 by artistic director Lawrence Bandfield. He chose Santa Fe with the belief that the city's artistic reputation would provide visibility to the group. Banfield led the Chorale until 1998.
From 1999 to 2004 the director was Dennis Shrock, who had previously been the choral director of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Indeed, in 2002 they started a year-round program for children (ages 7 to 14), which also holds public performances.
The Santa Fe Desert Chorale did not have a director for their 2008 Summer season, using four prospective directors, as well as three guest conductors. Since 2009, their official director has been Joshua Habermann, who was one of the four finalists tried during the 2008 season. Habermann also directs the Dallas Symphony Chorus.
During the Winter, 2011 season, the Chorale debuted a second group, named Desert Chorale II composed of students from the University of New Mexico, in addition to singers from the main group. Desert Chorale II was formed by Habermann as a means of providing training to singers outside of a university setting.
Released this past March 16th, 2018 via Avie Records, and after 36 years of music, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale is finally putting their music on CD.
Taking its title from Stephen Paulus’ a cappella choral piece, The Road Home celebrates the diverse and ever-changing influences that make up American culture by featuring repertoire by immigrant and native-born Americans, ranging from mid-19th-century Shaker music to jazz, folk and classically inspired works by leading 21st-century choral composers.
Joseph P. Webster (1819 – 1875) arr. Aaron Humble
1. In The Sweet By and By (3.06)
2. The Lark (0.52)
3. The Nightingale’s Song (0.42)
4. Deal Gently with Thy Servants (4.23)
5. Encouragement (2.33)
Heavenly Home: Three American Songs
arr. Shawn Kirchner (b. 1970)
6. Unclouded Day (2.20)
7. Angel Band (6.14)
8. Hallelujah (3.27)
Sydney Guillaume (b. 1982)
9. Dominus Vobiscum (7.08)
Jake Runestad (b. 1986)
10. Reflections (7.15)
Morten J. Lauridsen (b. 1943)
Excerpts from Mid-Winter Songs
11. Lament for Pasiphaë (4.34)
12. Mid-Winter Waking (1.44)
13. Intercession in Late October (6.02)
Stephen Paulus (1949-2014)
14. The Road Home (3.30)
15. I’ll Be On My Way (3.35)
Sammy Fain (1902 – 1989)
16. I’ll Be Seeing You (2.25)
arr. Phil Mattson
Total time: 59.58
The 24-voice, professional Santa Fe Desert Chorale, one of the most distinguished American vocal ensembles, makes its commercial recording debut with beautiful and assured performances, led by the aforementioned artistic director Joshua Habermann.
Recorded, October 23-24, 2017 at Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, Texas, USA, produced by Elizabeth Ostrow, and with the Recording Engineer & Editor talents of Brad Michel at the helm, The Road Home is a stunning, simply magnificent work of orchestral art.
Simple Shaker songs from the mid-19th century are performed in both their original, pure forms along with moments of shining solo vocal brilliance. Add to that some extraordinary arrangements by Shawn Kirchner, and Morten Lauridsen’s “Mid-Winter Songs” representing the best of contemporary American choral music, well, what more could you want from just one recording.
“It’s really a monumental achievement,” Desert Chorale executive director Janice Mayer has since said. “It was largely based on a program we did in 2016 called ‘American Voices.’”
“These are more challenging works, and they’re more spare and very delicate and require excellent musicianship,” she continues.
“Our singers come from all over the country; from Boston to Oregon to Miami to Los Angeles. Last year, we had 26 states and two foreign countries. The recording will allow us to reach an international audience.”
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