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Sacred Feast

GAUDEAMUS

Directed by
Paul Halley

A collection of unaccompanied sacred choral masterworks
recorded in the beautiful acoustic of Trinity College Chapel, Hartford, CT  




Pelagos no longer carries this CD.
Item no longer in print

 
   


To listen to sound clips, see track list below.

 
   


"The sound is unusually well engineered, capably capturing the noble acoustics of Trinity College Chapel in Hartford .  Both for the exceptionally fine performances of the “standards” and for the lesser known works, this recording comes with my highest recommendation.”
 

The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians

   
  TRACKS

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1.  ◙♫
Beati Quorum Via
Music:
C.V. Stanford

2.   ◙♫
O Vos Omnes
Music:
P. Casals

3.  ◙♫  
Ubi Caritas
Music:
M. Durufle

4.  ◙♫
Justorum Animae
Music:
C.V. Stanford

5.  ◙♫  
Coelos Ascendit Hodie
Music:
C.V. Stanford

6.  ◙♫
Let All Mortal Flesh
Keep Silence
Music:
E. Bairstow

7.  ◙♫
O Sacrum
Convivium
Music:
T. Tallis

8.  ◙♫
Ave Verum
Corpus
Music:
I. Raminsh

9.   ◙♫
Hail Gladdening
Light
Music:
C. Wood

10.  ◙♫
Ave Maria
Music:
A. Bruckner

11.  ◙♫
Pater Noster
Music:
J. Handl

12.  ◙♫
Crucifixus
Music:
A. Lotti

13.  ◙♫
O Sacrum
Convivium
Music:
O. Messiaen





Pelagos no longer carries this CD.
Item no longer in print






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DESCRIPTION

A bountiful feast of classic acappella choral repertoire. Gaudeamus performs sacred masterworks in the beautiful acoustic of Trinity College Chapel, Hartford. The immediacy of the performance brings these classic choral pieces to life.

This superb group of singers once again brings forth their signature sound under the direction of Paul Halley - music filled with spirit, nuance, and freshness of expression. Recorded by Tom Jung for his widely respected label, DMP Records, the CD beautifully combines the clarity of sound for which Jung is known with the rich acoustic of this collegiate gothic structure.

Originally developed to demonstrate the latest recording technology from Sony/Phillips, this CD has already become a hit at the high-fidelity end of the music industry. The realism and immediacy of the performance is documented in a way which truly brings these classic choral pieces to life. As Jung says, 'the listener is placed in the chapel where the music was performed'.

 

 
           
  REVIEWS

from Positive Feedback


"In May 1998, dmp’s Tom Jung and Tom Bates recorded an exquisite selection of a cappella sacred music performed by Gaudeamus at the Trinity College Chapel in Hartford, Connecticut. This Sony/Phillips sponsored project is the first “fully loaded” hybrid Super Audio CD. It sounds in two, five, and six channel DSD while compatible with all CD players. It is the only current SACD choral recording and backed by Sony/Phillips to showcase the choir and superior accuracy and naturalness of SACD recording technology.

Paul Halley, the Director of Gaudeamus, is a three-time Grammy Award-winner for his work as a performer and composer with The Paul Winter Consort. He is the former Organist and Choirmaster at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and currently lives in rural northwestern Connecticut from where he tours with his children’s choir, Chorus Angelicus, and adult ensemble, Gaudeamus.

Gaudeamus is Latin for, “Let Us Rejoice”. The thirty-one-member choir is mixed with professional and amateur singers. The Gaudeamus sound rests between a small urban master chorale and a first-rate church choir. The quality of singing, while technically accomplished, calls no attention to itself. It is organic, enthusiastic, and heartfelt. The singers call the listener to meditate, reflect, and join their worship through interpretations of Casals, Durufle, Tallis, Handl, Bruckner, and others.

When played back on an SACD player, voices are surrounded with the great open space of the Chapel. The DSD technology, as has been stated repeatedly, by better ears than mine, renders a truly musical playback that is detailed and relaxed.

This work lends itself to listening at six in the morning with strong coffee and the Psalms, or much later, when the house is quiet and there is time to draw back from the incessant din. Get it."

- Lawrence Glasner
 
 
           
  from The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians

"This excellent recording includes several “standards” by Stanford, Durufle, Bairstow, Wood, Bruckner, Lotti, and Messiaen – but all are superbly sung, a joy to hear.  In addition are the “‘O Vos Omnes” of Pablo Casals, Tallis’ “O Sacrum Convivium”, and an “Ave Verum Corpus” of the Canadian composer Imant Raminsh.  All works are unaccompanied.  The 30-voice ensemble has admirable tone and balance, with a sensitive and effective range of dynamics. Diction is fine. Halley understands the various idioms represented and tailors each work to its needs.

The sound is unusually well engineered, capably capturing the noble acoustics of Trinity College Chapel in Hartford .  Both for the exceptionally fine performances of the “standards” (including perhaps the most sensitive Lotti “Crucifixus” and the most radiant Wood “Hail, gladdening light” I have heard in many years) and for the lesser known works, this recording comes with my highest recommendation.”  
 
- Victor Hill
 
 
  from The American Organist

"'Sacred Feast' presents two candidates for title cut: settings of "O sacrum convivium" by Thomas Tallis and Olivier Messiaen, as well as three works by C.V. Stanford, who was - like Paul Halley, and perhaps not coincidentally - an English-born organist turned composer and conductor. The engineering used to record this disc was apparently state-of-the-art in 1998, judging form the blurb on the Pelagos Web site, and for the first three or four selections the sound truly is exquisite. Technical wizardry, however, cannot conceal the fact that the choir becomes ever more tentative as the recording advances. There are even a couple of off-pitch cadences in the Tallis and Raminsh works. It is difficult to understand why these problems weren't addressed by Halley and the engineers, who obviously had something very near perfection within their reach. One can only hope for future efforts that are completely successful.

Note: on this recording, it was impossible to edit anything since the engineering technology was so new - the choir tried to be as perfect as possible."

- Jennifer Kolmes

 
       
      from Amazon.com Editorial Reviews


"To many listeners who remember Tom Jung's dmp label from the 1980s, when he and groups such as
Flim & the BBs
made pioneering and exemplary digital jazz recordings, this very classical, very (sacred) choral program may come as a surprise. But it will be a pleasant one, nonetheless. Choral enthusiasts will immediately recognize many of the selections, which represent some of choral music's most beloved masterpieces--Stanford's "Beati quorum via" and "Justorum animae" motets, Duruflé's incomparable "Ubi caritas," Bruckner's "Ave Maria," and Messiaen's "O sacrum convivium." They also will be happy to discover that the 30-voice Gaudeamus ensemble, a Connecticut-based group founded by director Paul Halley in 1992, performs to an exceptionally high standard, characterized by well-balanced sound, solid vocal technique, and generally rock-solid intonation. Only the Messiaen, and Tallis's own setting of "O sacrum convivium," reveal some shaky tuning, but the choir makes up for these lapses with sublime singing in the Stanford, Duruflé, and Bruckner--and really revels in the rich dissonances of Lotti's "Crucifixus" and in the soaring lines of Charles Woods's "Hail gladdening light." This is an admirable and highly recommendable venture into the very competitive--and often snooty--choral music arena for Jung and dmp. And those who know the label's uncompromising sonic standards will be reassured with this typically superb engineering effort that perfectly captures the choral sound and acoustics in Hartford's Trinity College Chapel--a structure reminiscent of a mini-King's College Cambridge. Unfortunately, dmp includes virtually nothing about the music in the liner notes.

- David Vernier
 
      from Bob Zeidler's Amazon.com Listmania

"Paul Halley, for many years a keyboardist, composer and arranger for Paul Winter and his Consort, has recently been devoting his activities primarily to choral music and to his own keyboard solo works. This album is the latest in his choral series that features the adult Guadeamus chorus, and it is a very good chorus, if not quite on the level of similar-sized (30 voices strong) a capella groups chosen, trained and directed by the late, great Robert Shaw.


The overwhelming strength of this album is its variety, and the taste with which Halley has chosen the selections offered. They range in time from Thomas Tallis and Antonio Lotti to Olivier Messiaen, and include works by Pablo Casals, Maurice Duruflé, Anton Bruckner and Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. None of pieces is sufficiently familiar to render the album a duplicate of selections offered up elsewhere, and they are creatively combined here.

All are sung well, but I would like to single out the Casals "Vos Omnes," Lotti's "Crucifixus" and Messiaen's "O Sacrum Convivium" for special mention, as well as Duruflé's "Ubi Caritas." This last piece, a gorgeous setting of Gregorian chant, is one which Halley had earlier adapted to the unique forces available to him at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City, combining Gregorian and African chant (on his "Angel on a Stone Wall" album available at Amazon on the Living Music label). It is a pleasure to hear it as Duruflé had written it, on this album.

The liner notes regrettably shed absolutely no light on either the composers or the music, being instead a "vanity" presentationn of Halley's background and the recording techniques used for the album. (The sound is a little harsh, given the state-of-the-art equipment that was used.)


But five easy stars for the variety and ecumenicism of the selections offered."

- Bob Zeidler
 
     

About the Chapel

THE TRINITY COLLEGE CHAPEL is a splendid example of gothic revival architecture which was designed by the firm of Frohman, Robb and Little who were also architects of the Washington National Cathedral and many other notable edifices.  While unique in design, its style is English collegiate gothic with obvious inspiration derived from some of the Oxbridge college chapels.  Since its consecration by the Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut in 1932, the Trinity College Chapel has served the college and its greater community in many ways including religious services, concerts and academic ceremonies.  The Chapel houses two important pipe organs and a 49 bell carillon.  Its resident choir is The Trinity College Chapel Singers, a 25 member ensemble of Trinity College undergraduate students. 

 
     

About the recording

Sacred Feast was recorded at Trinity College Chapel in Hartford, CT
on May 23 - 25, 1998.


This recording was made with 6 microphones feeding 6 channels of a Philips DSD recorder.  Three forward facing microphones, set up in a Quasi-Decca Tree arrangement, represent Left, Center and Right front.  The other 3 microphones capture the more ambient part of the performance, Left Surround, Right Surround and Overhead.  The Overhead channel is full range unlike the LFE or .1 channel used in 5.1.  The object here is to more accurately represent the acoustical space by placing a speaker over the listener’s head creating the dimension of height.  This is not necessarily convenient, but life would be boring if we didn’t experiment a little.  Whether you listen in 2-channel stereo, 5-channel surround or 6-channel surround, this SACD represents the most accurate source for music reproduction possible.  

This dual-layer Hybrid SACD can be played in both a standard CD player and a Super Audio CD player. When played in a Super Audio player, you will experience pure 1bit Direct Stream Digital


 

 
     

CREDITS

Artists
Gaudeamus

Directed by Paul Halley 




Production

Produced by Tom Jung and Tom Bates

Tom Jung and Tom Bates, Recording Engineers

Choirs recorded at Trinity College Chapel, Hartford, CT


Sony/Phillips, Project Underwriters


Special thanks to
Bruce FIfer and Floyd Higgins
 

Choirs

Gaudeamus

Sopranos

Elizabeth Allyn
Michelle Fenton
Vanessa Halley
Marilyn Holcomb
Sarah Potter
Margaret Race
Rachel Rosales,
Joanne Scattergood
Martha Sullivan  

Altos
Gretchen Collins
Kathy Griswold
Samantha Halley
Mary Ann Hart
Teri Padua
Patty Ryan
Debbie Storrs  

Tenors
Adam Atkins
Tommy Bogdan
James Boratko
Peter Coulianos
Floyd Higgins
Bob Lovendale
Micah Olson  

Basses
Kevin Andersen
Jim Barrett
Starr Cole
Martin Dodd
Bruce Fifer
Nicholas Halley
Phil Sneed
Gregory Zabielski  







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