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Recording  • In The Wide Awe and Wisdom

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The sixteen compositions on this recording are selected from among works commissioned of Paul Halley during the past decade. Each commission came with certain parameters, as well as a specific text proposed by the comissioning organization or individuals. These texts cover a wide range, from the poetry of George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Emily Dickinson and Pablo Neruda, to the psalter and the Song of Mary. Paul Halley notes, "It is significant that each text was chosen not by me, but by those for whom the musical setting was to be created. The words themselves pushed
me into areas of musical expression that I might otherwise have left unexplored. For example, the poem “In The Wide Awe And Wisdom Of The Night” called for a setting based on an octatonic scale and Hopkins’ sonnet generated a passacaglia of irregular (‘sprung’) rhythms and broken phrases. At times, I felt I wasn’t so much composing as translating, just as the poets themselves had translated brief glimpses of universal mysteries. These poems are clearly sufficient unto themselves, but perhaps, being sung, aspects of their inner power and beauty are made more manifest."

Paul Halley is a Grammy Award-winning
composer, choral conductor, and organist. Born
in Romford, England in 1952, Halley received his
early musical training in Ottawa, Canada, and at
age sixteen became an Associate of the Royal
Conservatory of Toronto. While Organ Scholar
at Trinity College, Cambridge, Halley was made
a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. He
served as Organist and Choirmaster at The
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NY from 1977-
1989, during which time he became principal
writer and keyboardist for The Paul Winter
Consort. Halley later settled in Connecticut
and founded the choirs, Chorus Angelicus, and
Gaudeamus. In 2007 he relocated to Halifax,
Nova Scotia to become Director of Music at
the University of King’s College, and in 2015 he
was also appointed Director of Music at The
Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax.

'In The Wide Awe And Wisdom - Choral Works by Paul Halley' is one of five finalists selected for the 2018 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Award.

In The Wide Awe And Wisdom
Choral Works by Paul Halley

Grammy Award-winner Paul Halley presents sixteen new choral works from among his commissions of the past decade. Halley's signature style, of vibrant harmonies, lyrical melodies, and intricate rhythms, underlays a range of beautiful texts. Elegantly performed by Keramion Singers, with Paul Halley at organ and piano, and a quartet of other players on trumpet, french horn, saxophone, timpani, and cymbals. Fresh and vibrant.

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There are sixteen tracks, so scroll up and down in the music player to select tracks and buying options. The album is available as a beautiful digipak double CD set with 16-page booklet with complete texts and credits at $23.99 USD. Or, you can purchase the complete recording of sixteen tracks at $13.99 or at $0.99 for individual song tracks.

Listen here:

  Tracks and Sheet Music

All compositions are copyrighted to
Paul Halley/Back Alley Music (ASCAP) available as choral sheet music from Pelagos
. Links to sheet music for each title are below.

CD One
Total Album Time 47:09

1. 6:40
We Will Rejoice For Evermore
Words: from Gates of Prayer 1975
: P. Halley
Sheet Music PEL2050

2. 8:31

In The Wide Awe and Wisdom Of The Night 
Words: Charles G.D. Roberts
: P. Halley
Sheet Music PEL2097 

3. 5:48

Beati Omnes Qui Timent Dominum  

Words: Psalm 127
: P. Halley
Sheet Music PEL2094

4. 4:01 
Nobile Claret Opus 

Words: Abbot Suger, Psalm 127: 1
: P. Halley

Sheet Music PEL2091

5. 6:47
A Brighter Garden     

Words: Isaac Watts, Emily Dickinson
: P. Halley

Sheet Music PEL2064

6. 4:46

Move Eastward, Happy Earth

Words: Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–92)
: P. Halley

Sheet Music PEL2093

7. 4:15  
The Pulley  
Words: George Herbert
: P. Halley

Sheet Music PEL2016

8. 6:21

God's Grandeur
Words: Gerard Manley Hopkins
: P. Halley

Sheet Music PEL2080

CD Two
Total Album Time 38:19

9. 6:29   
Sanctus and Benedictus    
Words: Ordinary of the Mass
: P. Halley

Sheet Music PEL2024

10. 4:15
You Gather Things To You
Words: Pablo Neruda,
trans. W. S. Merwin
: P. Halley

Sheet Music PEL2092

11. 5:48
I Cannot Dance, O Love   

Words: Jean Weibe Janzen,
Charles Wesley
: P. Halley
Sheet Music PEL2049

12. 2:16

Oculi Omnium
Words: Psalm 145: 16&17
: P. Halley

Sheet Music PEL2014

13. 6:00

Magnificat: Tone II      

Words: Gospel of St. Luke
: P. Halley

Sheet Music PEL5028

My Beloved Spake 

Song Of Solomon
: P. Halley
Sheet Music PEL2032

15. 3:03

We Wait For Thy Loving Kindness, O God 
Selected Scripture
by Rev’d C. M. Armitage
: P. Halley
Sheet Music PEL2067

16. 4:41

Psalm 150: Laudate Dominum 
Psalm 150
: P. Halley
Sheet Music PEL2062

Items with catalogue numbers
are linked to music available
on this site. Click on link.

All compositions
by Paul Halley are
© Back Alley Music

for recordings

Sheet Music

for sheet music

In The Wide Awe And Wisdom
Choral Works by Paul Halley

KERAMION SINGERS directed by Paul Halley
Nick Halley, assistant conductor
Paul Halley, organist

Catalogue No. PEL1006 UPC 672590100622


In this stunning double CD set, with a repertoire sequence that is thoughtfully balanced and considered, Paul Halley features sixteen new choral works from among his catalogue of commissions of recent years. Halley's well-known style of combining threads of vibrant harmonies, lyrical melodies, and intricate rhythms, abounds in these songs set to underlay a diverse range of texts, from George Herbert and Gerard Manley Hopkins to Emily Dickinson and Pablo Neruda. Common themes emerge from the selection of texts on the album, the forward movement of the Earth in Tennyson's "Move Eastward, Happy Earth" and Roberts' "In The Wide Awe And Wisdom Of The Night", man in relation to God in Herbert's "The Pulley" and Hopkins' "God's Grandeur", and declarations of love in such works as Dickinson's "A Brighter Garden" and Neruda's "You Gather Things To You." In fact, Halley composed five of the works on the recording as gifts for the weddings of his children and step-children.

Keramion Singers, comprised professional singers and choral scholars who work with Paul Halley in Halifax, present these works at Halley's direction with a vocal and sensemble sound that is alternatively bright and present or rounded and atmospheric, depending on the mood being conveyed. Four a cappella pieces showcase the choir's impeccable tuning and phrasing, while the twelve accompanied works, with Halley on organ and piano, and instrumentalists on trumpet, saxophone, or French horn, and timpani, reveal the singer's mastery of thythmic range and contextual expression.

This long-awaited release on the Pelagosmusic label is sure to please those who admire Paul Halley's work as a composer, as well as by those who are familiar with his mastery of keyboard performance and the pure choral sound he elicits from his renowned choirs.


For anyone with the slightest propensity to be moved by music, Paul Halley's work may at once leave you breathless, excited and/or in tears. Such is his latest ineffable outing on the Pelagos label: In The Wide Awe And Wisdom - a tasteful mix of the sacred and secular, commissioned works and those composed for special occasions for family. After countless recordings of the music of others, (often characteristically and colorfully arranged by him), this modest genius, highly decorated in the world of jazz (five Grammy Awards, no less) and internationally respected in the world of choral and organ music, needed more than a little nudging to finally commit a collection of his own choral works to disc.

The music on this new CD is fresh and new with a hint of innocence and obvious joy provided by the youthful choristers, the Keramion Singers. They are in the company of some sensitive and thoughtful musicians.

Ever present in Halley's music is the palpable thread of pure jazz and this new recording is no exception. His jazz leanings render his music instantly recognizable. The attention to detail is ever-present in Halley's sensitive writing - inventive and colourful, sometimes unnerving, the dissonance sometimes sustained yet almost always resolved. From the dark but beautifully ethereal title track, 'In The Wide Awe And Wisdom', we journey through colourful hamonic changes in 'The Pulley', to the delicate serenity of 'My Beloved Spake' and finally, to the triumphant 'Laudate Dominum', perfectly placed as the final treack and prompting, on my part at least, spontaneous applause.

- Irene G. Wilkinson, Novemeber 2017.




Meg Race, Executive Producer
Produced by Paul Halley & Meg Race
Engineered by John D. S. Adams, Stonehouse Sound
Art design and production by Kate Sinclair-Sowerby, Co. & Co.
Art supervision by Meg Race

Recorded at The Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax, NS


Paul Halley, director
Nick Halley, assistant director

The current roster of Keramion Singers comprises professional musicians and choral scholars who regularly sing with Paul Halley at the institutions in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he serves as Director of Music.

Jen Hall
Elizabeth Halley
Vanessa Halley
Janelle Lucyk
Marielle Nicol
Dominique Saulnier

Anne Bell
Katie Merwin
Sarah Myatt
Alan Rempel
Karis Tees

Nick Halley
Paul Rogers
Nicolas Veltmeyer
Ben Von Bredow
Jamie Whitley

Simon Blake
Shaylan Burkhart
Steve Roe
Leo Timmins
David Wallis

Paul Halley organ and piano
Nicolas Veltmeyer organ, “A Brighter Garden”
Tristan De Borba soprano saxophone
Curtis Dietz trumpet
Erin Donovan timpani and cymbals
Gina Patterson french horn

The painting used in the design of this package is “Voice of Joy” © 2017 by Marina Malvada, www.marinamalvada.com. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

All of the musical compositions on this recording are by Paul Halley and are
available from Pelagos Incorporated at www.pelagosmusic.com.

The Very Reverend Paul Smith, Dean of the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax, NS
The Reverend Dr. Gary Thorne, Chaplain of the University of King’s College, Halifax, NS.

Meg and Paul dedicate this recording to the memory of their dear friend, Tom Bates (d. 2017), who was sound engineer for the previous nine recordings on the Pelagosmusic (and Joyful Noise) label.

© 2017 Pelagos Incorporated
All Rights Reserved
Made in USA