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David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2019

Gregory Hutter was born in 1971, with mentors including William Bolcom and William Albright, he has a career divided between composition and education. In 2008 he had a sudden desire to add a series of secular choral pieces to his portfolio of works, over the next five years completing the ten works included on this release. They show, as in a recent disc of orchestral works, a desire to connect with audiences who have rejected today’s experimentalists. That has directed him to a slightly modernised style of Vaughan Williams and Copland, a feeling reinforced by his use of words by famous names of the English Renaissance and American poets of the early twentieth century. From that backdrop you will gather the disc makes for pleasant and easy listening. At the same time I can quite well imagine the scores being very attractive to the many fine chamber vocal groups on both sides of the Atlantic. The words will be familiar to many—Shed No Tear from Keats and A Farewell from Alfred Tennyson—there content making for a rather sad opening, and it is a mood that continues through Shakespeare’s Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind, to the final track, Tears by Walt Whitman. How this disc came into being is not explained, as it was seemingly recorded as and when the songs were completed by three choral groups, the conductor and creator of Philovox Ensemble, who perform the first seven works, Robert Schuneman, having died since the recordings were made. They were a fine group and so well balanced to achieve a good clarity. That very differing recording dates were used is never evident in the quality of the sound from the Massachusetts Church, the only jolt coming in the congested seventh track made in a Boston studio. A quite short disc I have much enjoyed. © 2019 David’s Review Corner

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