William Ferris Chorale: Menotti and Vierne
- CDR 7001
GIAN CARLO MENOTTI (b. 1911)
Missa "O Pulchritudo" (1979) (43:22)
Recorded in concert December 12, 1982 in Saint James Cathedral, Chicago, in the presence of the composer
Joan Gibbons, soprano
Deborah Fair, mezzo soprano
John Vorrasi, tenor
Thomas Sillitti, bass
William Ferris Chorale
Composer Festival Orchestra
William Ferris, conductor
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These spectacular live performances by the William Ferris Chorale are available as a mid-price release on the Cedille FOUNDation label from Cedille Records.
The acclaimed William Ferris Chorale celebrated its 35th Anniversary with this release of two of its finest performances.
Gian Carlo Menotti is best known for dramatically engrossing operas such as The Consul, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and The Medium. For his Missa “O Pulchritudo”, Menotti applied his operatic skills to create an unusually compelling setting of the Catholic Mass (much as Verdi did with his Requiem). In addition to its gorgeously alluring music, Menotti’s Mass setting is notable for a key textual change: in place of the traditional Credo movement, Menotti sets a passage from the Confessions of St. Augustine that begins, “O Beauty, ever ancient ever new, late have I loved You.”
William Ferris and the William Ferris Chorale performed the Missa at the request of Gian Carlo Menotti, who was present for the performance. This is the only currently available recording of Menotti’s Missa “O Pulchritudo”.
With its sweeping melodies and harmonic grandeur, Louis Vierne’s Messe Solennelle has been called a triumphant counterpart to Fauré’s Requiem. This recording shows off not only the expert direction of William Ferris and glorious singing of the William Ferris Chorale, it also features two magnificent pipe organs: a rare, fully restored E.M. Skinner, and a tracker action Visser-Rowland.