Magazine article Gramophone

'Final Answer'

Magazine article Gramophone

'Final Answer'

Article excerpt

'Final Answer' Aminikia Music of Spheres (a) Bielawa Vireo Opening: Forest (a) Bleckmann Final Answer (b) Glass Hydrogen Jukebox--Father Death Blues Kahane Back of the Choir Kihlstedt Herring Run Vrebalov Bubbles (c) Welch Salute on the Birth of Rory Mor (d) Zorn Columbina San Francisco Girls Chorus / Valerie Sainte-Agathe with (b) Theo Bleckmann voe (c) Andy Meyerson vibraphone (d) Matthew Welch bagpipes (ac) Kronos Quartet Orange Mountain (F) OMM0126 (76' * DDD)

Most of the works on the newest release from the San Francisco Girls Chorus are receiving their first recordings, which brings up a pertinent question: will this music ever sound any more vital or affecting? The ensemble, led by artistic director Lisa Bielawa and conducted here by music director Valerie Sainte-Agathe, is a remarkable tapestry of teenage voices. They appear to be capable of handling any vocal challenge set before them. Beauty of tone, exceptional agility and keen attention to words mark everything the choristers touch.

On this new disc, Bielawa and Sainte-Agathe test the chorus in a rich array of styles as conjured by nine composers. The group are impressive in everything, but especially in the a cappella scores, including John Zorn's lyrical, lilting Columbina, set to pointed and extended syllables, and Gabriel Kahane's Back of the Choir, which chatters away to an Anne Carson poem while also embracing the verses' poignant implications. …

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