Shall I Compare Thee?
Chicago a cappella
Cedille Records CDR 90000 085
On its new CD, the "world class" (Fanfare) nine-voice ensemble Chicago a cappella brings its trademark "wit, imagination, [and] flawless intonation" (Chicago Tribune) to 23 contemporary choral settings of Shakespeare texts - including ten recorded premieres and three works composed expressly for the group.
Making its Cedille Records debut, Chicago a cappella performs artful arrangements that draw from influences ranging from bossa nova and the blues to Renaissance and medieval modes. You'll hear a fascinating spectrum of styles within single works and across the entire program. This is one CD where (in the words of the Bard) "music and sweet poetry agree."
" . . . more fun than human beings should be allowed, the most addictive CD to come my way in a long time is Shall I Compare Thee? Choral Songs on Shakespeare on the Cedille label. Some of the pieces are familiar from previous Shakespeare compilations--Jaako Mantyjarvi's Four Shakespeare Songs, with its magnificent "Come away, come away, death;" a selection of Matthew Harris's Shakespeare's Songs from which you would never in a million years guess that he was a student of Carter and Babbitt; Nils Lindberg's Shall I Compare Thee? But, most of the material is new--to me, at least--and none of it has ever been sung this well on CD. The Chicago a capella is some kind of magic blend of the great old jazz group, the Hi-Los, with a little Double Six of Paris and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir thrown in. I challenge anyone who listens to the first cut--Summer Sonnet by Kevin Olson, a composer and pianist at Elmhurst College near Chicago--to stop humming it for a week." Sequenza21.com
to download the CD booklet.