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The Crossing|Born

Born

Donald Nally, The Crossing

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The chamber choir, The Crossing, specializes in close readings of texts and unusual musical settings of those texts, often involving lightly extended technique, and Born makes an ideal introduction to the work of this ensemble. As with many of the group's recordings, this one might be described as mostly spiritual but not religious. The album takes its title from one of its two works by Michael Gilbertson that bookend the program; the second Gilbertson work is based on an imagined conversation between David and Jonathan in the Bible. Both of these are effective, but it is the album's centerpiece that is the major attraction. Composed by Edie Hill in 2019, Spectral Spirits memorializes four extinct birds: the Carolina parakeet, the passenger pigeon, the Eskimo curlew, and the ivory-billed woodpecker. Three movements are devoted to each bird, a prose account from the bird's own time, a brief reading of its English and Latin names, and a poem by Holly J. Hughes. Hill's music evokes the bird in its particularity, and the overall effect of this is profoundly sad. It probably takes a virtuoso choir like The Crossing to do the work justice, but one may nevertheless hope that it becomes more widely performed on programs devoted to environmental themes. This is an especially strong outing from one of the most distinctive American choral ensembles.
© James Manheim /TiVo

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Born

The Crossing

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Born (Michael Gilbertson)

1
Born
00:09:44

Wislawa Szymborska, Lyricist - Michael Gilbertson, Composer - Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

Spectral Spirits (Edie Hill)

2
I. Prelude. These Birds
00:02:22

Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - Edie Hill, Composer - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Maren Montalbano, Artist, MainArtist - Holly J. Hughes, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

3
II. Eyewitness. Henry David Thoreau and the Passenger Pigeon
00:01:40

James Reese, Artist, MainArtist - Henry David Thoreau, Lyricist - Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - Edie Hill, Composer - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Holly J. Hughes, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

4
III. The Naming
00:00:15

Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - Edie Hill, Composer - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Maren Montalbano, Artist, MainArtist - Holly J. Hughes, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

5
IV. Passenger Pigeon
00:06:40

Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - Edie Hill, Composer - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Holly J. Hughes, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

6
V. Eyewitness. Gert Goebel and the Paroquets
00:01:43

Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - Edie Hill, Composer - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Holly J. Hughes, Lyricist - Dominic German, Artist, MainArtist - Gert Goebel, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

7
VI. The Naming
00:00:17

Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - Edie Hill, Composer - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Maren Montalbano, Artist, MainArtist - Holly J. Hughes, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

8
VII. Carolina Parakeet
00:03:27

Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - Edie Hill, Composer - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Holly J. Hughes, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

9
VIII. Eyewitness. Lucien M. Turner and the Migration of the Curlews
00:03:50

Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - Edie Hill, Composer - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Rebecca Myers, Artist, MainArtist - Holly J. Hughes, Lyricist - Lucien M. Turner, Lyricist - Paul A. Johnsgard, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

10
IX. The Naming
00:00:19

Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - Edie Hill, Composer - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Maren Montalbano, Artist, MainArtist - Holly J. Hughes, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

11
X. Eskimo Curlew
00:03:54

Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - Edie Hill, Composer - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Holly J. Hughes, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

12
XI. Eyewitness. Mr. Wilson and the Ivory-Bill
00:02:06

Alexander Wilson, Lyricist - Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - Edie Hill, Composer - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Holly J. Hughes, Lyricist - Dominic German, Artist, MainArtist - Christopher Cokinos, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

13
XII. The Naming
00:00:19

Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - Edie Hill, Composer - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Maren Montalbano, Artist, MainArtist - Holly J. Hughes, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

14
XIII. Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
00:05:11

Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - Edie Hill, Composer - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Holly J. Hughes, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

Returning, Pt. 1 (Michael Gilbertson)

15
What Knits Us
00:09:32

Michael Gilbertson, Composer - Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Kai Hoffman-Krull, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

Returning, Pt. 2 (Michael Gilbertson)

16
I Thought of Staying Quiet
00:09:23

Michael Gilbertson, Composer - Donald Nally, Conductor, MainArtist - The Crossing, Choir, MainArtist - Kai Hoffman-Krull, Lyricist

(C) 2022 Navona (P) 2022 Navona

Album review

The chamber choir, The Crossing, specializes in close readings of texts and unusual musical settings of those texts, often involving lightly extended technique, and Born makes an ideal introduction to the work of this ensemble. As with many of the group's recordings, this one might be described as mostly spiritual but not religious. The album takes its title from one of its two works by Michael Gilbertson that bookend the program; the second Gilbertson work is based on an imagined conversation between David and Jonathan in the Bible. Both of these are effective, but it is the album's centerpiece that is the major attraction. Composed by Edie Hill in 2019, Spectral Spirits memorializes four extinct birds: the Carolina parakeet, the passenger pigeon, the Eskimo curlew, and the ivory-billed woodpecker. Three movements are devoted to each bird, a prose account from the bird's own time, a brief reading of its English and Latin names, and a poem by Holly J. Hughes. Hill's music evokes the bird in its particularity, and the overall effect of this is profoundly sad. It probably takes a virtuoso choir like The Crossing to do the work justice, but one may nevertheless hope that it becomes more widely performed on programs devoted to environmental themes. This is an especially strong outing from one of the most distinctive American choral ensembles.
© James Manheim /TiVo

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