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Track(s) taken from CDA67543

When David heard

author of text
2 Samuel 18: 33

Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Recording details: January 2005
Temple Church, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: February 2006
Total duration: 12 minutes 57 seconds

Cover artwork: Radiance by Simon Cook (b1954)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'This beautifully performed and recorded CD contains the bulk of Whitacre's choral canon and displays his delicate yet vital approach to writing for voices. I guess if you like Tavener (or Pärt, who is strongly evoked in David), you'll enjoy Whitacre' (Gramophone)

'Cloudburst is the central piece here, a dazzling kaleidoscope of busy clamour, arcing lyricism, solo and spoken passages, sighing, handbells, wind chimes, inter alia. Whitacre was only 22 when he wrote it. Mightily effective, it's superbly performed (as is everything else on this CD) by Polyphony and Stephen Layton' (BBC Music Magazine)

'I would certainly urge anyone with a love of choral singing to buy this disc, not merely to sample this atmospheric sound-world but to luxuriate in the gorgeous choral tone of Polyphony' (International Record Review)

'Ethereal and chillingly beautiful choral works—an intense and moving aural experience' (The Independent on Sunday)

'Here's a CD to put the hype back into Hyperion … extraordinarily beautiful … the recording is blessed with top performers in the choir Polyphony under the conductor Stephen Layton, who carefully shapes the recitativo phrasing and demands crystal clarity in diction and ensemble. Hyperion has a winner' (The Times)

'The combination of tonal opulence, expressive depth and verbal conviction creates a heart-melting mix in When David heard, by far the longest work on the disc and a masterpiece of unaccompanied choral writing. Unmissable' (Classic FM Magazine)

'A sign that the 36-year-old American choral composer Eric Whitacre has arrived is that he has been given the glamour treatment by Stephen Layton's magnificent Polyphony, one of the finest a capella choral ensembles active in the world today … Whitacre has experienced enormous success recently, writing choral and wind ensemble music. It's not hard to see why, from this impeccably performed collection' (Fanfare, USA)

'This is one of the most exciting discs to come onto the market … the whole experience is simply stunning. The precise and secure tuning of Layton's group, with effective, elegant phrasing and ensemble makes this more than a winner—it's a superb disc' (Cathedral Music)

'A highly significant composer with a very genuine gift for choral writing and one, moreover, with that priceless ability to communicate strongly and effectively with his audience' (MusicWeb International)

'Theirs is the sort of virtuosity that calls no attention to itself but unfolds the music with a spontaneous, ongoing sense of discovery' (Opera News)

'Whitacre creates magical compositions that are stunning in their power. A beautiful album' (Daily Express)

'A lifetime of listening to choral music had not prepared me for such lush harmonies—a cappella voices perfectly tuned and blended. This was my first encounter with Polyphony, possibly the best small (25 or so) professional chorus in the world. Polyphony is from Britain, where choral singing is a national fetish. Since their formation in 1986 by conductor Stephen Layton, they have amassed an impressive catalogue on the Hyperion label, which also includes the highly praised, Grammy-nominated recording of Morten Lauridsen’s Lux aeterna. But for pure Polyphony, the group’s CD Cloudburst, comprised entirely of works by wunderkind composer Eric Whitacre, is a stunning recording, their best showcase yet' (Encore, USA)

'As heart-stoppingly electrifying as anything you've ever heard … ranks as one of the truly worthwhile recording events of 2006' (Classics Today)

'If you have any interest in choral music, you absolutely must buy Cloudburst, a new CD of Whitacre’s choral music, sung with otherworldly purity of tone and security of pitch by the vocal group Polyphony, conduced by Stephen Layton … if someone sat you down, played Whitacre’s When David heard, and told you it was a new piece by Arvo Pärt, you’d just think it was another in a very long line of works of unalloyed genius from Pärt … When David heard is that good. Hair-raising. Electrifying. Whitacre has developed a remarkably distinct style … Whitacre is the genuine article' (Stereophile)

'This one is in the We Told You So Department. American composer Eric Whitacre in his mid-30s, is—with the estimable Morten Lauridsen—a part of a growing bounty of choral exploration and development frequently now being recorded by the British-based Layton and his remarkable ensemble, Polyphony. And the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences have heard the word and smartly nominated this outstanding CD for a Best Choral Performance Grammy. The title work alone is a tour de force, the singers themselves creating the percussive sound of a raging storm. Note, also, the wrenching despair of When David heard—this may be too much for families suffering the loss of military sons and daughters right now, by the way. Lauridsen’s new Nocturnes also with Polyphony—hits stores in February. For now, soak yourself in this superb Cloudburst' (CNN)

'Il y a des disques dont on n'attend rien et qui nous donnent tous! Eric Whitacre se spécialise dans la composition chorale. Et il a trouvé le bon filon' (Classics Today France)
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