|About this Recording
8.559361 - COOMAN: Sacred Choral Music
Carson Cooman (b. 1982)
All of the choral works on this recording were originally written in response to commissions from churches, conductors, and other performing institutions. In most cases they were written for première performance in specific circumstances – holidays, feast days, celebrations, anniversaries, and retirements. I am pleased that these sacred choral works have found life beyond these initial occasions and have entered the repertoire of many churches and choirs. My work as a composer has to date been divided in half between the world of concert music and the world of church music. As with many composers of the past, I do not find these to be incompatible pursuits (though many composers today tend to have interest in only one or the other), but rather I find that both worlds inform each other and provide variety to the projects I take on.
The music on this disc is organised by the liturgical year, beginning in Advent and proceeding through Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday. Other works for Ordinary Time, Communion, Evensong, Compline, and other occasions are interspersed.
[Track 1] 'Adam Lay Ybounden'(2004; Op. 576; SATB and organ) was commissioned by Robert Delcamp and the University Choir of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee for their 2004 annual service of Advent Lessons and Carols. Each year Sewanee commissions a different composer to write a setting of this traditional fifteenth-century medieval carol text.
 'In the Beginning Was the Word'(1999, rev. 2003; Op. 161; SATB and organ) was written for Robert Ferris and the choir of St Thomas Episcopal Church, Rochester, New York. The text is taken directly from the Bible, John 1:1–2, 4–5.
 'A Cosmic Prayer' (2002; Op. 460; SATB) was written in memory of the Welsh composer William Mathias (1934–1992) and is dedicated to Murray Forbes Somerville and the Choral Fellows of the Harvard University Choir. The text is a prayer by Howard Georgi (b. 1947), a professor of physics at Harvard University.
 I. 'Do You Know the Song?'
 II. 'In a Lowly Manger Sleeping'
 III. 'The Sky Can Still Remember'
 'Builders for Christ' (2003; Op. 498; SATB and organ) was commissioned by Murray Forbes Somerville in celebration of his first Sunday as director of music of St George's Episcopal Church, Nashville, Tennessee. The anthem also celebrated the end of a long capital building project at St George's. To celebrate this occasion, and Murray Somerville's long history as a builder of music programs, it was requested that the text be an adaptation of Matthew 7:24–27.
 'O Perfect Life of Love' (2002; Op. 361; SATB and organ) was written for Lenten services at St Peter's Episcopal Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is dedicated to composer Sally Beamish. The familiar text by Henry W. Baker (1821–1877) is set in a spare, plaintive manner, reflecting the spirit of Lent.
 'Premat Mundus' (2004; Op. 597; SATB and tenor) is dedicated to Marguerite Brooks and the Yale Camerata of Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. The text by controversial Italian religious reformer Girolamo Savonarola (1452–1498) reflects the fiery religious passion for which he was well known.
 'The Way, the Truth, the Life' (2002; Op. 381; SATB and organ) was commissioned by St Peter's Episcopal Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts in celebration and thanks for the ministry of Rev. Dr. Titus L. Presler as rector of the parish, from 1991 to 2002. The work is a setting of a text by W. H. Auden, the final chorus from his extended poem For the Time Being. It is cast in three interconnected sections for the stanzas of the poem. Each section is set off by a brief solo phrase (first tenor: "He is the Way", then soprano: "He is the Truth", then tenor and soprano together: "He is the Life"), followed by the rest of each stanza. The anthem moves over its course from a mood of mystical contemplation to joyous outburst.
 'God, You Move Among Us' (2005; Op. 657; SATB and organ) was written for Marisa Green and the choir of Marquand Chapel of Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. The evocative text by Thomas H. Troeger (b. 1945) celebrates the inspirational work of the Spirit.
 'Easter Triumph! Easter Joy!' (2004; Op. 585; SATB and organ) was written for Matthew F. Burt and Christ Episcopal Church, Alameda, California. It was written for a composer residency during Holy Week 2005. Two jubilant outer sections frame a middle section that quotes the traditional Easter plainchant 'Victimae paschali laudes'.
– Missa Brevis ("Trottier") (2004; Op. 558; SATB and organ) was written in celebration of Rev. François Trottier's installation as rector of St Peter's Episcopal Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts on Ascension Day 2004. The work was given its première by the church's choir, under the direction of Matthew F. Burt. The text is the ordinary of the Mass (excluding the Credo) and is set in English.
 'I Will Pour Out My Spirit' (2006; Op. 683; SATB and organ) was commissioned by St James Music Press and is dedicated to composer Mark Hijleh. The text of the anthem is adapted from the account of the first Pentecost in Acts 2.
 'Be Present, Holy Trinity' (2004; Op. 586; SATB and organ) was commissioned by St James Music Press and is dedicated to composer Martha Sobaje. The text by John Mason Neale (1818–1866) is a translation of an eleventh-century Latin hymn: 'Adesto, Sancta Trinitas'.The music of the anthem is based upon the York plainchant 'Ave Colenda Trinitas'.
 'O Bone Jesu' (2003; Op. 517; SATB and organ) was written for Nancy B. Granert and the choir of Emmanuel Church, Boston, Massachusetts. The text is a setting of the traditional Latin Eucharistic poem.
 Psalm 66 (Be Joyful in God) (2005; Op. 664; SATB and organ) was written for Holland J. Jancaitis and the choir of Battell Chapel, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. The text uses the Book of Common Prayer translation of the Psalter and sets verses from Psalm 66 (1–2a, 3–4, 7–8, 18a).
 'The Lamp of Charity' (2003; Op. 489; SATB) was commissioned by Peter J. Gomes and The Memorial Church at Harvard University in honor of Murray Forbes Somerville's ministry there from 1990 through 2003 as Gund University Organist and Choirmaster. The work was premiered by the Harvard University Choir under Somerville's direction on Ascension Day 2003. The text is an evening collect from the Book of Common Prayer.
 Prayer of Julian of Norwich (2003; Op. 528; SAB and organ) was commissioned by St James Music Press and is dedicated to composer Russell Schulz-Widmar. The work is a setting of a brief prayer attributed to the British mystic Julian of Norwich (c. 1342–1416). Julian's writings were the subject of my extended instrumental theater work, Showings of Divine Love (2002).
– Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis ("St. Peter's, Cambridge") (2003; Op. 470; SATB and organ) was commissioned by St Peter's Episcopal Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts on the occasion of the church's 160th anniversary. The work is a setting of the traditional English text of the evening canticles.
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