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Classical - "American Declarations"

Norman Stinchcombe of Birmingham Post

ROY Harris is now best known for his short but epic-spirited third symphony a paean to the great American outdoors. But a year before that work, in 1935, he composed a three-movement Symphony for Voices which is one of a dozen items featured on this CD devoted to a capella choral works. Harris sets poems by Walt Whitman and the first movement Song for all seas, all ships is the same text that Vaughan Williams used in the first movement of A Sea Symphony - I think Harris's setting more effective. The St Louis choir's performance under their British conductor Philip Barnes is tremendous. Other works range from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. The film composer Miklos Rosza's The Lord is My Shepherd, Stephen Paulus's Stabat Mater and Melissa Dunphy's powerful What do you think I fought for on Omaha Beach? are all, in their very different ways, rewarding pieces.

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