Category: By the bug

''For several decades, Thea Musgrave has composed a substantial number of choral works that may be judged as important contributions to the genre, though not as central in her oeuvre as her more impressive operas and orchestral works. This 2004 disc from Bridge presents two major pieces, For the Time Being: Advent for narrator, eight vocal soloists and choir, and Black Tambourine for choir, percussion, and piano (both 1986), and lighter groups of what reasonably can be called madrigals, On the Underground, Sets 1-3 (1994). On first impression, Musgrave's choral music seems inordinately difficult to sing because of the abundance of chromatic lines, tight dissonances, and tricky prosodic rhythms, yet the New York Virtuoso Singers' unerring pitch, pristine vocal blend, and practiced diction and timing make such advanced choral writing well within their grasp. Yet the seriousness of the texts and dark tone of much of this music may make listening hard in one sitting, and these pieces' mournful, minor-key quality is only slightly relieved by the the bumptious but brief John Cook (1963), the jaunty Lady "Rogue" Singleton, the cautionary The Subway Piranhas, and the rustic A Medieval Summer. Bridge's sound quality is fine. ~ Blair Sanderson, All Music Guide''

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