horizontal line

St James Cathedral in Seattle has acoustics so reverberant they almost sound like a studio artefact. It probably ought not to work for some of the homelier material here – William Bergsma’s Riddle Me This and John Muehleisen’s Eat Your Vegetables – but it somehow does, and Pontén doesn’t hold back his singers. The Pacific Northwest is where the great frontier collision – all the European cultures, nativism and the influence of Asia – piles up most richly, and the only generalisation that can be made about the music here is that it can’t be generalised. Bern Herbolsheimer’s title piece, a premiere recording, seems to match Lutheran singing to an idiom that could be Native American or Japanese; Alan Hovhaness’s The Lord’s Prayer likewise. Whether dealing with religious/spiritual issues or the natural scene (and they’re often conflated) this is powerfully evocative music.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


   Read full review   


To continue reading, please upgrade to a premium account. You will have immediate full access.



Read more classical music reviews online here:



Choir & Organ, 2015 - ©Rhinegold Publishing