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“Magnificent choral singing.”
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

LEO SOWERBY: AMERICAN MASTER OF SACRED SONG celebrates “the Dean of American Church Music” and his contributions to the choral and organ repertory. In the 1920’s, Sowerby’s music was regularly performed by orchestras (especially the Chicago Symphony) and it is heartening to see so much interest in his works in the 21st century. Gloriæ Dei Cantores has selected ten anthems to represent Sowerby as an inspired composer for worship as well as several sacred vocal solos and four of his finest works for organ.

Premiere and Only Works

CD I: Track 1 Great is the Lord
Track 2-4 Three Psalms (sacred songs)
Track 5 Turn Thou to Thy God
Track 6 Whoso Dwelleth (sacred song)
Track 8 An Angel Stood By the Altar
Track 10 Lovely Infant
CD II: Track 1 All They from Saba Shall Come
Track 2 Jesu, Bright and Morning Star
Track 3 Canon, Chacony and Fugue (organ)
Track 4-5 Songs of Faith and Penitence (Sacred songs)
Track 6 Prelude on “Were you There?”
Track 7 Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Track 11 Come, Holy Ghost
Track 12 Bright, Blithe and Brisk (organ)
Track 13 O God, the Protector of All

Critical Acclaim

 

  • “Gloriæ Dei Cantores has a warm, rich, blended sound with impeccable diction. This is exactly the right sound for the wide range of emotions in these anthems ... the choir demonstrates not only a wide palette of colors but also a sincere belief in the texts ... it is magnificent choral singing. ”
    American Record Guide
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  • “... the choir sings well throughout the collection. They are well balanced and blended. They display a good dynamic range, which is well controlled and they sing with commitment.”
     
    “All these instrumental offerings are well played. David Chalmers, who has the lion's share, plays with sensitivity and skill and varies his registrations intelligently. James E. Jordan is similarly effective in his contribution.”
     
    “This is a worthy centenary tribute.”
    MusicWeb-International
  • “Concerning the performances on these discs, it is clear that the Gloriæ Dei Cantores choir has been expertly trained by director Elizabeth Patterson. All the anthems are well sung; the intensity of the singers’ commitment is evident in every piece. The organ works, too, are extremely well played.”
    Choral Journal
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  • “The choral work under the direction of Elizabeth Patterson is consistent and well executed ... Organist David Chalmers handles the accompaniments to all the pieces very well, complementing the choral ensemble as well as showing off the wonderful subtle changes of color possible on the organ at Mechanics Hall ... Chalmers also does a fine job interpreting the organ works ... Also of high quality is the Festival Musick, directed by [Richard] Pugsley with James E. Jordan at the organ.”
    Cross Accent
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  • “The directors of this choir clearly appreciate the importance of an outstanding American composer, and this extensive tribute pays him the honor due to him.”
    Fanfare
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  • “The music of Sowerby ... requires excellent blending of vocal sound, clarity of diction, and a clear understanding of the underlying emotions that Sowerby seeks to elicit. Gloriæ Dei Cantores provides just what this material needs ... This re-release opens with one of Sowerby’s best-known works, Great Is the Lord, and contains a very well-chosen combination of vocal and instrumental material that shows, throughout two-and-a-half hours, why Sowerby was deemed the ‘dean of American church music’ in the early-to-mid-20th-century.”
    TransCentury Communications
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  • “This is one of those surprise releases...where revelations ensue...anyone interested in choral singing or the organ, should investigate this...The organ pieces are uniformly wonderful...There is no denying that this 2 CD set offers a splendid conspectus of Sowerby's choral and organ output...and his music is a welcome mix of approachability and compositional sophistication.”
    Fanfare

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