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Winter: An Evocation -- music for women's voices, harp & organ performed by Polyphony directed by Maxine Thévenot - [OAR-934] $15.98

Winter: An Evocation
Music for the Winter Season, for women's voices, harp, and organ
performed by Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico, Maxine Thévenot, founder and artistic director
Lynn Gorman DeVelder, harp
Maxine Thévenot, organist

Benjamin Britten: A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28
    Procession
    Wolcum Yole!
    Britten: There is no Rose
    That yongë Child
    Balulalow
    As Dew in Aprille
    This Little Babe
    Interlude (Harp Solo)
    In Freezing Winter Night
    Spring Carol
    Deo Gracias
    Recession

John Tavener: A Nativity

Trad. arr. Julia Lane: Down in Yon Forest (Harp Solo)

Andrew Ager: Winter - An Evocation

Andrew Ager: Dormi Jesu

Miklós Kocsár: Salve Regina

Seán Óg Tuamo, arr. Sunita Staneslow: The Virgin's Lullaby (Harp Solo)

Cary Ratcliff: Were We Dreaming

Tarik O'Regan: Bring rest, Sweet Dreaming Child

Patrick Hadley: I Sing of a Maiden

Trad. arr. Robert Isaacs: The Holly and the Ivy

Mykola Leontovich, arr. Peter J. Wilhousky: Carol of the Bells

Franz Gruber, arr. John Rutter: Silent Night

Winter: an evocation
Winter: snow, leafless boughs, log fires, fir trees, frozen lakes, woolly hats: winter is a season whose associations are as varied as its experiences. For many the world over it is bitterly cold and dark; some see no daylight for weeks. For others, winter is a mild season, cooler than the rest but otherwise not so different. In New Mexico the experience varies from the deep snows of the north in places such as the Taos Ski Valley (pictured on the cover) to the warm desert sun in the south.

Winter means different things to different people too. For some the associations are painful: the coldest and darkest season can be imbued with loss or other sadness. For others, it brings happy childhood memories of the joyful possibilities of the first snowfall of the season, the warmth and cosy security of a roaring fire, and the approach of a family Christmas.

This rich variety is at the heart of this program of music, which celebrates winter from a variety of angles. Christmas is a central theme. The music, including several premiere recordings, comes from Britain, Europe, Canada and the US and encompasses the sacred and the secular, including two harp solos, both arrangements of folksongs from the British Isles.

Reviews

Writes
Charles H. Parsons in The American Record Guide, Nov.-Dec. 2012:

Although billed as "music for the winter season for women's voices, harp and organ," this really is music for the Christmas season. The ubiquitous Ceremony of Carols opens the program, followed by two traditional English carols for solo harp and the just as ubiquitous '"Silent Night."  But in between come eight most unusual and new selections: music by Andrew Ager (2), Miklos Kocsar, Sean Og Tuamo (solo harp), Cary Ratcliff, Tarik O'Regan, Patrick Hadley, and John Tavener.  The music is quite lovely-soothing and tranquil.  The performances are the same.  Texts are included.

Writes D. S. Crafts in the Albuquerque Journal:
A concert recording artist, Thévenot is a musical force to be reckoned with, wearing many musical hats locally as music director for St. John's Cathedral, director of the UNM Women's chorus Las Cantantes, and if that is not enough, founder and director of the chorus Polyphony.
 
A group made up entirely and proudly of New Mexico singers, Polyphony, Voices of New Mexico, has quickly become the area's premiere chamber chorus in no small part due to Thévenot's direction. As a conductor, Thévenot knows exactly what she wants and precisely how to get it from the performers. And she does it with deceptively minimal effort. The group has just issued their first CD, a selection of season music, Winter: An Evocation.

Writes David Steinberg in the Albuquerque Journal: 
"Winter: An Evocation"  
Though the title doesn't hint at it, this is mostly an album of religious Christmas music performed by the other-wordly female voices of Polyphony. The centerpiece is a gorgeous rendition of Benjamin Britten's "A Ceremony of Carols." There also are tracks of carols by John Tavener, Franz Gruber and Tarik O'Regan, among others.
 
What captured my attention were Cary Ratcliff's "Were we Dreaming?" and the title track, an eight-minute secular, seasonal piece by Canadian Andrew Ager. Polyphony, which commissioned it, premiered the work two years ago. It moves from Lynn Gorman DeVelder's opening harp solo to the first of several choral segments, and closes, after a pause, with another harp solo. What is so hypnotic about the work is Polyphony's and the harpist's talents and Ager's genius for translating snowy winter scenes in nature into music. Polyphony is a treasure.

<font color = green>Winter: An Evocation</font> -- music for women\'s voices, harp & organ performed by Polyphony directed by Maxine Thévenot
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