MP3 Paul Halley and Theresa Thomason with Keramion - Sound Over All Waters
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12 MP3 Songs
SPIRITUAL: Contemporary Gospel, CLASSICAL: Choral Music
Renowned organist, pianist and choirmaster Paul Halley teams up with singer Theresa Thomason to produce âSound Over All Watersâ, a stunning CD of sacred and gospel music. The CD also features the choir Kerámion.
The serendipitous pairing of these two diverse talents, Thomasonâs vocal artistry and Halleyâs compositional brilliance, results in new music that is as exciting as it is engaging. Although from radically different musical backgrounds, she from the gospel tradition, he from classical choral and Anglican traditions, the feeling of joy and spontaneity that emanates from this album bespeaks a perfect collaboration.
Halley performs on various keyboards and composed much of the music on the CD, setting poetry and other selections to majestic, graceful melodies and arrangements. From the first exuberant track, âThe Rain Is Over and Goneâ based on verses from the Song of Solomon, to the starkly simple arrangment of th final song, âCome Thou Fount of Every Blessing,â Halley and Thomason present a seamless unity of passion and praise, blending the old and the new in a CD replete with respect for the content.
Thomason's vibrant and powerful voice rings with sincere devotion. She is a versatile performer, interpreting everything from Bible verses to gospel to the poetry of Wendell Berry and John Greenleaf Whittier with just the right degree of exquisite expression.
About Paul Halley:
PAUL HALLEY, M. A. Cantab, FRCO, ARCT, was born in Romford, England in 1952 and received his early musical training in Ottawa, Canada, where he studied piano, organ and singing. At the age of sixteen, he was made an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto. Having been awarded the organ scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge under Dr. Richard Marlow, he received his M.A. with prizes in composition and performance, and was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, winning first prize in the College examinations. Via a circuitous route involving two years teaching in Jamaica, W.I., and the study of Development Economics at the University of Victoria, BC, Halley became Organist and Choirmaster at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City where he served for thirteen years, 1977 to 1990, transforming the Cathedralâs music program into a rich combination of classical and contemporary music. Concurrent with his tenure at the Cathedral, Halley became a principal member of The Paul Winter Consort and earned four Grammy Awards for his contributions as featured writer and performer on many Consort recordings.
Following his departure from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in 1990, Halley settled in rural northwestern Connecticut and founded Joyful Noise, Inc., the non-profit organization which administers the childrenâs choir, Chorus Angelicus and the adult ensemble, Gaudeamus. These choirs continue to bring their celebrated sound to audiences throughout North America and Europe through an annual concert series of classical masterworks and contemporary repertoire, tours and recordings. In 1999, Halley became Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Church, Torrington, CT and established the Joyful Noise choirs there as Artists-In-Residence. At Trinity, Halley conducts a 30-voice, semi-professional choir, mentors an Organ Scholar from Yale Universityâs Institute of Sacred Music, and creates fresh hymn descants and new settings of liturgical music. Halley has expanded the churchâs music ministry to include monthly Vespers services, and the Trinity Arts Series, a forum for the work of professional musicians and artists in a sacred space.
Halleyâs compositions have been commissioned, performed and licensed by many notable artists and organizations including Sony Entertainment, Windham Hill/BMG Music, Hal Leonard, the New Jersey Symphony, John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra, The Louisville Symphony, Canadian Brass, Margie Gillis, and Jennifer Muller and The Works. Halley receives annual Composer Awards from ASCAP, and his recordings and performances are frequently broadcast on National Public Radio and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Recently commissioned works include a song cycle for singers Louise Winter and Gerald Finley, and the new choral/orchestral work âIn Sideribus Domi: At Home In The Starsâ for the Clay Center of Science and Art, Charleston, WV through the auspices of the American Composers Forum.
Halleyâs compositions and recordings are produced and distributed by Pelagos Incorporated for which Halley acts as Creative Director. Among Pelagosâ celebrated recordings are: Nightwatch, a reissue of Halleyâs landmark 1982 improvisation album, recorded on the Great Organ of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; Sound Over All Waters, a compilation of Halleyâs choral works and arrangements for gospel singer Theresa Thomason and the professional choral ensemble, Keramion; Triptych, Halleyâs keyboard works for the unique trio of piano, pipe organ, and harpsichord, recorded at Spivey Hall in Atlanta; and Untraveled Worlds, a glorious compilation of world music repertoire presented by Chorus Angelicus.
Halley lives with his wife and business partner Margaret Race on a mountaintop farm in Norfolk, Connecticut. With their six children, they make an annual pilgrimage to the islands off the south shore of Nova Scotia to spend summer days messing around in an endearing catboat which rejoices in the name, âMagnificatâ. A fondness for the province is the tenable excuse for an imminent job change and relocation. Beginning July 2007, Halley will assume the Music Directorship of three venerable Halifax institutions: St. Georgeâs Anglican Church, the Atlantic School of Theology, and King's College Chapel, where Halley hopes to establish an Organ and Choral Scholars Program, and a School of Sacred Music.
"Hold to God's Unchanging Hand" is a lively gospel style song with a jazzy undertone while "Sound Over All Waters" has a traditional feel. "Circles," a poem by Wendell Berry, is moodier, more contemporary, yet it is not out of place, remaining true to the overall spirit of the CD. "Come Away to the Skies" has a swinging rolling melody with great rhythmic appeal. The mood shifts and changes with each song, but there is overall cohesiveness to the arrangements.
Kerámion's performance meshes beautifully with Thomason' s singing; they have a clean, clear sound that supports and complements the solo voice flawlessly. They also get a chance to shine on their own with two familiar spirituals: "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."
The penultimate track, "Freedom Trilogy," combines the talents of Thomason, Kerámion, the Choir of Sacred Sounds and members of Chorus Angelicus, the children's choir Halley founded. The track begins with the 16th century "Kyrie," sung in crystal clear harmony, which leads into to rousing South African hymns "Haleluya! Pelo Tsa Rona" and "Siyahambu." The hymns break off to a lively percussion bridge, after which Thomason launches into a silk smooth up-tempo rendition of "Amazing Grace." The choruses and Thomason combine to bring the selection to a dramatic conclusion, and one might expect that to be the finale of the album. But the final track of solo voice and organ reminds us that no matter how we share our worship, faith is something that comes from each of us alone.
This CD is an enriching experience regardless of your belief system; there is a universality in the musical expression that transcends denomination. Thomason's sincerity and enthusiasm shines though on each track.
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