Resonant Streams: Choral Music from Sun to Sea
For its third recording, the University of Washington Chorale, an advanced undergraduate ensemble containing students from all majors across the Seattle campus, sing a varied programme with sweet urgency. The performances are never less than earnest, although intonation can wander, and occasionally the effect is fresh and beautiful; the wonderful diversity of the repertoire is in itself exhilarating, with many unexpected discoveries.
The opening sweep of sound begins with Holst’s Hymn to the Waters, ushered in by Sophie Baird-Daniel’s Technicolor harp. More routine stuff by Bouzignac and Marc-Antoine Charpentier and a Chinese folk song lead to Fauré’s ecstatic Cantique de Jean Racine, its sensual violin and cello solos nestled in the chorus’s aural cloud.
The Chorale follows an enthusiastic performance of Libby Larsen’s ‘Comin’ to Town’, all about Midwestern high cool, cowboys and canines, with a sweet, girl-scout reading of the usually lusty chorus from Oklahoma!; they finish with a considerably more rousing take on Nouse lauluni, Soila Sariola’s high-energy encore speciality crafted from throbbing Europop energy and the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala.
All the way through there are special moments, like the way the percussion slips in at the beginning of Lars Jansson’s exquisite Salve regina and Sadie Quinsaat’s heartbreakingly innocent soprano solo in a second Chinese folk song. The music was recorded in 2014 and 2016 at the Meany Hall for the Performing Arts at the University of Washington and at St Joseph’s Cathedral in Seattle, and captures the size of the chorus with more emotional impact than musical clarity.