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MP3 St. Paul's Chamber Choir - Fill the World with Loudest Praise

A stunning high-quality CD recording of familiar hymns in great new choral settings, along with two winning instrumental pieces from a student composition contest. An inspiring and uplifting recording.

11 MP3 Songs in this album (50:00) !
Related styles: CLASSICAL: Choral Music, SPIRITUAL: Hymns

A stunning high-quality CD recording of familiar hymns in choral settings, along with two winning instrumental pieces from a student composition contest sponsored by the ISAE. An inspiring and uplifting recording that will introduce you to these composer''s works. You''ll want to add it to your personal collection, and it also makes a great gift for your choir members, church workers, and friends.

" ''Fill the World with Loudest Praise'' is a collection of nine hymn anthems by living American composers. All the hymns are familiar, basic repertory, but these settings breathe remarkable freshness and charm into every piece. The CD cover identifies the choir as St. Paul''s Chamber Choir of Houston, Texas; inside the liner notes further identify the church as St. Paul''s United Methodist Church. If you have any preconceptions of hymn singing by Methodist Texans, this stunning collection will open your ears and your minds. This very professional choir of 22 voices sings with elegance and grace, with flawless diction and breathtakingly beautiful phrasing. The trebles sing with the pure focus of cathedral choirboys, but these are women singing. Conductor Robert Brewer clearly has a strong vision of the sound he wants.

Perhaps the words "Loudest Praise" in the album title are a bit misleading. There is certainly no blaring or yelling. There is brilliant brass playing in the opening "Holy, Holy, Holy"(NICAEA) arranged by K. Lee Scott. There is dignified vocal strength where appropriate, but there also are moments of quiet awe. In a similar spirit, Craig Phillips'' SAB setting of "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken" (AUSTRIAN HYMN) with brass, timpani, and organ manages to avoid the Teutonic bombast which are so often clothes (and smothers!) this tune. There are also moments of intimacy and reflection in this first-class hymn anthem. Phillips is the Music Associate at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, California.

Alice Parker is represented with Isaac Watts'' first hymn, "Come, Let Us Join Our Cheerful Songs," set to NUN DANKET ALL. This is not an a cappella setting, as are so many of her hymn and carol arrangements, but rather is a lively and challenging organ accompaniment, beautifully played by Ken Coleman, which adds welcome punctuation and spice.

Hal H. Hopson provides an organ and trumpet accompaniment in his SAB setting of Watts'' "From All That Dwell Below the Skies." The tune LASST UNS ERFREUEN is kept strongly to the fore, except in the third verse ("Your lofty themes, ye mortals bring") where an original melody in a minor mode provides a welcome change of pace.

Carl Schalk uses organ and brass choir in his arrangement of ABERYSTWYTH, to Charles Wesley''s "Jesus Lover of My Soul." Schalk''s dignified and restrained treatment makes the intimacy of the text even more powerful, especially in the a cappella stanza "Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on thee." John Ferguson also uses a brass quartet with organ for "All Hail the Power of Jesus'' Name" (CORONATION), achieving admirable variety and color in the six-stanza setting.

A flute, a drum, and a piano provide the accompaniment for David Ashley White''s setting of "On Jordan''s Stormy Banks." The tune is PROMISED LAND, and the instrumentation, the clean counterpoint and open harmonies neatly capture the spirit of an old American camp meeting.

Alfred V. Fedak adds a violin to the organ accompaniment in his setting of "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." He does not use the tune HAMBURG, as Gilbert Martin does in his famous hymn anthem. The splendid choice here is the English tune ROCKINGHAM. Violinist William Pu plays impeccably, and Fedak''s choice of scoring for two-part mixed voices keeps the textures clean and graceful.

Edwin T. Childs of Chicago''s Moody Bible Institute sets Watts'' "Jesus Shall Reign Where''er the Sun" to the familiar tune DUKE STREET. Men and women are each given stanzas, and brass and timpani fan fares herald the final verse, "Let every creature rise and bring peculiar honors to our King." This is a dignified setting, but it certainly breaks no new ground.

Two very pleasant instrumental interludes are included on this album. They are the result of a student composition contest sponsored by the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College, through a grant from the Lilly Foundation. Kit Mills has written an orchestral fantasy for horn and strings on "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" (EASTER HYMN). The melody is rhythmically stretched and playfully tossed about in this technically marvelous performance. Mills, still in his early twenties, is a recent graduate of Wheaton College. Let''s look for more wonders from this inventive young man.

The second interlude is provided by Eric Demarest, currently a senior at Wheaton College. He''s given us a charming setting of "Just As I Am" (WOODWORTH) for English horn and string trio. The tune is heard first from the cello, then from the horn. With frequent use of pizzicato and other string techniques, this charming chamber piece avoids all the sentimentality that so often accompanies the tune. The playing is exemplary throughout.

All the choral arrangements on this CD are available from Selah Publishing Company, but this disc is far more than a promotional piece. Its variety, its superb recording, and the fine taste and marvelous conducting of Robert Brewer make this an album to inspire us again and again." --"The Hymn," April 2001

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