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Life and Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen ()

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Composer and conductor René Clausen has been an important presence in the world of late 20th and early 21st century American choral music. The pieces on this album, written between 1978 and 2011, represent a broad overview of the composer's career. Clausen's musical language in the earlier pieces such as All that hath life and breath, praise ye the Lord (1978) is essentially rooted in the tonal/modal harmonic idiom that had been the lingua franca of American Protestant sacred anthems since the mid-20th century and that was typified by composers like Daniel Pinkham. Later works like O magnum mysterium are more harmonically expansive and show the influence of composers like Morten Lauridsen. The most recent piece, Mass for double choir, written in 2011, is the most substantial, original, and demanding, and it is given its world-premiere recording here. Clausen is especially successful in making settings that capture the essence of the texts; the Kyrie, for instance, is almost desperately pleading, and... Hide synopsis

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