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The individuality of the texts on this CD distinguishes it from the usual run of Americana, and there is much to interest the listener here. Words bring out the creative spirit of composers, and not surprisingly Walt Whitman looms large. The Saint Louis Chamber Chorus of some 51 voices has a well-rounded, warm tone, and the singers really excel when they have something to get their teeth into. Out of a diverse programme, putting the chorus to the test is William Schuman’s cry for peace, Declaration Chorale; the dissonance portrays the unrest in society. The most individual work is Melissa Dunphy’s What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?; Dunphy shows great ingenuity and individuality in this powerful setting of Philip Spooner’s public testimony before the State of Maine Senate discussing the Marriage Equality Bill. There are many composers to choose from, but the tour de force is Roy Harris’s Symphony for Voices, a stunning piece of choral writing merging many different choral techniques to great effect. This is one to stay in the memory and the SLCC show what they are made of.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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