‘Ešenvalds’ colorful, dramatic and multi-voiced works on the album reveal skillfully set narrative texts ranging from folk material to liturgical. An important new recording of works by a rising star in choral composition and a top-notch chorus and I am pleased to recommend it enthusiastically.’ — Morten Lauridsen
The Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds has rapidly become one of the world’s most performed choral composers. His ability to bring a dramatic text to life through textures that are lush yet permeated with a more stringent and angular aesthetic has ensured a steady stream of commissions from leading orchestras and choral forces.
The four works on the album reflect an interest in the beauty of nature, religious faith and legend. The First Tears is based on the Inuit legend of the Raven and the Whale, a story of how grief came into the world. Passion and Resurrection is a profound and powerful exploration of Christ’s death and resurrection constructed from a variety of liturgical sources.
Led by Ethan Sperry, Portland State Chamber Choir has recorded the music of Margaret Garwood, Veljo Tormis and Morten Lauridsen. Their album A Drop in the Ocean was a finalist for the 2012 American Prize in Choral Music and the 2014 release Into Unknown Worlds was named a “record to die for” by Stereophile. The Choir has performed and competed in venues across the US and around the world.
Recorded January and May 2016
St Stephen’s Catholic Church