Choral Music of Ned Rorem



Sing My Soul




Choral Music of


Ned Rorem




Richard Coffey, Artistic Director






The challenge in preparing a recording of choral works of Ned Rorem is not in the selection of what to include but in the perverse necessity of selecting what to omit in order to meet today's seventy-four minute disc maximum. For over a year, I pored over Rorem scores, both published and unpublished, corresponded with the composer who had a few modestly proffered suggestions, and sat at the piano for many a happy hour playing and singing a treasury of anthems, canticles, motets, choral hymns, and choral songs. For every work presented here there is another, equally beautiful, awaiting its turn before the microphone.




Ned Rorem's love for words is manifest well beyond his popular diaries and prose (themselves unique and engaging works of art). He selects great texts and then wraps them in fine melodies, tunes which ennoble and illuminate. After only a few listenings to "Love Divine" or "Come, Pure Hearts" one may be tempted (don't resist) to whistle and hum them quite spontaneously.




Musical America, in naming Rorem Composer of the Year for 1998, says, "Ned Rorem has stuck to his tonal guns throughout half a century of stylistic upheaval. Whatever the genre, vocal or instrumental, his music tends to sing sweetly, tartly, assertively, wryly, forcefully in a manner that makes instant contact with his listeners." (Musical America, 1998, pg. 21)




A tribute to Ned Rorem at his 75th birthday (October 23, 1998), this recording is an eclectic collection of works dating from 1955 through 1988, including pieces for a cappella choir, as well as others accompanied by organ or piano, with texts (both prose and poetry) from religious, scriptural, and secular sources. When asked to speak to some of the works present, Rorem says, "there's really nothing a composer can say about his music that the music can't say better. The music you've selected becomes an echo of my voice coming back to me through space and time, and that voice doesn't really change much."




As to commentary on the works herein, one needs to explain nothing; the enrichment comes in the hearing. Nonetheless, here follow some auditory "flags" as a guide. "Thee, God..," the third in a collection entitled Three Motets on Texts by Gerard Manley Hopkins, is a choral rhapsody, with voices frolicking and chasing each other up and down. The Seven Motets for the Church Year are a church musician's liturgical buffet. These short works capture the essence of the given seasonal thought, present it without affectation, and then end as humbly as they begin. Composed only a year apart, the two canticles could not be more divergent in style. The "Phos Hilaron" (Christianity's very first hymn, the words sung in the catacombs as the candles were lit so that worship could begin within the protective darkness) with its embracing warmth contrasts with St. John's revelatory text in "Canticle of the Lamb," set not so much as a song of triumph but rather as an unrelenting litany of urgency and petition.




The three anthems with organ testify to Rorem's high skill in writing for the most awkward yet the most thrilling instrument of all. Serving as equal partner, not accompaniment, the organ emerges strongly and in its own right (as well it does in the earlier "Thee, God.." and in "Surge, Illuminare," which closes the disc), adding far more than a fifth voice to the vocal four.




"Love Alone" must be heard with text in hand in order to grasp the agony of poet Paul Monette as he foresaw the impending death of his lover and companion, Roger Horowitz, and perhaps his own. The poem, actually entitled "Here" in the collection Love Alone: Eighteen Elegies for Rog, is itself inspired by words of Edna St. Vincent Millay: "Many a man is making friends with death even as I speak, for lack of love alone." The setting, for four-part male chorus and piano four-hands, is powerful, strident, and achingly poignant. Rorem states, "Paul was the first poet to prove to me that poetry could be 'political' and still be persuasive as art." Monette himself died in 1995.




In Little Prayers, the words of Paul Goodman, longtime friend of Rorem, give us pause (but the music does not, it flows on): the blur of sacred and secular, bitter self-examination tempered by whimsy, and Rorem's remarkable essence-catching skills. These are followed by What is Pink?, a cycle of six songs for treble voices and piano, with words by an impressive array of poets: Christina Rossetti, Vachel Lindsay, William Jay Smith, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Edwin Arlington Robinson. Composed originally for children's voices, these poems cover a wide array of emotional thought, from the heart-rending love song and lullaby, "A Pavane for the Nursery" to the onomatopoeic "Who Has Seen the Wind?" to the sad "The House on the Hill." As in the organ works, here the piano is full partner, sometimes being the wind and sometimes being a haughty cat.




Except for "Breathe on Me, Breath of God" (itself perhaps more a motet), the five choral hymns are chiefly homophonic, sometimes strophic, and generally one note per syllable, such as one might find in a hymnal. There the similarities end, however, for Rorem adds delicious twists and turns of chromaticism and key-changes, yielding a most listenable and affirming effect in every case. The well known "Sing, My Soul, His Wondrous Love" was composed for National Cathedral's Paul Callaway, the first person to conduct any of Rorem's choral music anywhere.




"Surge, Illuminare" was commissioned by three Hartford-area Episcopal churches in 1977: Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity, and St. James's. It is included here not only in a neighborly tribute to that endeavor, but also because the work itself is so sturdy, affirming, and brilliant. Like "Thee, God.." (which opens the recording), "Surge, Illuminare" shows the incomparable power and beauty of the right match of text and music.




Pulitzer Prize winner Ned Rorem is an American icon, a composer of music in many forms, large and small, and is worthily praised for his incomparable gift of melody, especially as rendered for the human voice. This prolific artist and composer mightily merits our admiration, respect, and affection.




Notes: Richard Coffey








1. "Thee, God.."




Thee, God, I come from, to thee go,


All day long I like fountain flow


From thy hand out, swayed about


Mote-like in thy mighty glow.




What I know of thee I bless,


As acknowledging thy stress


On my being and as seeing


Something of thy holiness.




Once I turned from thee and hid,


Bound on what thou hadst forbid;


Sow the wind I would; I sinned:


I repent of what I did.




Bad I am, but yet thy child.


Father, be thou reconciled.


Spare thou me, since I see


With thy might that thou art mild.




I have life before me still


And thy purpose to fulfill;


Yet a debt to pay thee yet:


Help me, sir, and so I will.




But thou bidst, and just thou art,


Me shew mercy from my heart


Towards my brother, every other


Man my mate and counterpart. Amen


Text: Gerard Manley Hopkins




Seven Motets for the Church Year




2. "While All Things Were in Quiet Silence"




While all things were in quiet silence,


And that night was in the midst of her swift course,


Thine Almighty Word, O Lord,


Leaped down out of thy royal throne. Alleluia.


Text: from the Antiphon of Matins, Christmas I




3. "Before the Morning Star Begotten"




Before the morning star begotten,


and Lord from everlasting,


Our Saviour is made manifest unto the world today.


Text: Antiphon of Evensong, Epiphany




4. "Lay Up for Yourselves"




Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,


where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt,


And where thieves do not break through and steal.


For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.


Text: Matthew 6: 20-21




5. "Praise Him Who Was Crucified"




Praise him who was crucified in the flesh;


Glorify him who for your sakes was buried;


Worship him who hath risen from the dead.


He whom you seek among the dead now liveth;


And the life of man with him hath arisen. Alleluia.


Text: Antiphon of Evensong in Easter Octave




6. "God is Gone Up"




God is gone up with a merry noise,


and the Lord with the sound of the trumpet.


The Lord is among them as in the holy place of Sinai,


He is gone up on high;


He hath led captivity captive. Alleluia.


Text: Alleluia verse for Ascension




7. "Today the Holy Spirit Appeared"




Alleluia. Today the Holy Spirit appeared in fire to the disciples


And bestowed upon them manifold graces;


Sending them into all the world


to preach the Gospel and to testify;


He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, Alleluia.


Today the Holy Spirit appeared in fire. Alleluia.


Text: Antiphon for Magnificat of Whitsunday




8. "Rejoice We All in the Lord"




Rejoice we all in the Lord keeping holy day


in honor of all the Saints;


In whose solemnity the Angels rejoice


and glorify the Son of God.


Rejoice in the Lord O ye righteous;


for it becometh well the just to be thankful.


Text: Introit for All Saints




9. "Phos Hilaron"




O joyous light of the Father's face in heaven


Shining through his Son, our Holy Lord, O Jesus Christ!


The sun fades now and one by one the stars shine forth


As we sing forth our love, O Father, Son and Holy Ghost.


You are forever worthy of our song, O Son of God,


For you bestow the light of life throughout the world. Amen.


Text: Greek, 3rd Century, tr. N. Rorem




10. "Canticle of the Lamb"




Worthy is the Lamb that was slain,


To receive all power and riches and wisdom and might,


Strength, honor, glory and blessing,


To Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.


Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God, King over all the earth;


Just and true are thy ways, thou King all eternal.


Who shall not revere thee, Lord, and glorify now thy name?


For thou alone art holy.


Praise our God, all ye his servants, ye that fear him, both great and small! Alleluia!


For the Lord God now reigneth omnipotent over all! Alleluia! Amen.


Text: Book of Revelation




11. "Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?"




Little Lamb, who made thee?


Dost thou know who made thee?


Gave thee life and bid thee feed


By the stream and o'er the mead;


Gave thee clothing of delight,


Softest clothing, wooly, bright,


Gave thee such a tender voice,


Making all the vales rejoice?


Little Lamb, who made thee?


Dost thou know who made thee?


Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,


Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:


He is called by thy name,


For he calls himself a Lamb.


He is meek and he is mild;


He became a little child.


I a child, and thou a lamb,


We are called by his name.


Little Lamb, God bless thee!


Little Lamb, God bless thee!


Text: William Blake




12. "Come, Pure Hearts, in Sweetest Measure"




Come, pure hearts, in sweetest measure


Sing of those who spread the treasure


In the holy gospels shrined;


Blessed tidings of salvation,


Peace on earth their proclamation,


Love from God to lost mankind.


See the rivers four that gladden,


With their streams, the better Eden


Planted by our Lord most dear;


Christ the fountain, these the waters;


Drink, O Sion's sons and daughters,


Drink, and find salvation here.


O that we, thy truth confessing,


And thy holy word possessing,


Jesus may thy love adore;


Unto thee our voices raising,


Thee with all thy ransomed praising,


Ever and forevermore. Amen.


Text: 12th c. Latin, tr. R. Campbell




13. "Mercy and Truth Are Met"




Mercy and truth are met together,


Righteousness and peace have kissed.


Truth shall spring out of the earth,


And righteousness shall look down from heaven.


Yea, the Lord shall show loving kindness,


And our land shall yield her increase.


Righteousness shall go before him,


And peace shall be the pathway of his steps.




Text: Psalm 85: 10-13




14. "Here" from Love Alone




everything extraneous has burned away


this is how burning feels in the fall


of the final year, not like leaves in a blue


October but as if the skin were a paper lantern


full of trapped moths beating their fired wings


and yet I can lie on this hill just above you


a foot beside where I will lie myself


soon soon and for the wrack and blubber


feel still how we were warriors when the


merest morning sun in the garden was a


kingdom after Room 1010 war is not all


death it turns out war is what little


thing you hold on to refugeed and far from home


oh sweetie will you please forgive me this


that every time I opened a box of anything


Glad Bags One-A-Days KINGSIZE was


the worst I'd think will you still be here


when the box is empty, Rog, Rog, who will


play boy with me now that I bucket with tears


through it all when I'd cling beside you sobbing,


you'd shrug it off with the quietest I'm still


here I have your watch in the top drawer


which I don't dare wear yet help me please


the boxes grocery home day after day


the junk that keeps men spotless, but it doesn't


matter now how long they last or I


the day has taken you with it and all


there is now is burning dark the only green


is up by the grave and this little thing


of telling the hill I'm here oh I'm here


Text: Paul Monette




Three Prayers from Little Prayers




15. "Creator Spirit, Who Dost Lightly Hover"




Creator Spirit, who dost lightly hover whence I know not,


And why to me I never questioned, come.


Do visit thy lover after Thy long absence.


I turn over awaking in the morning:


Thou art not there to my touch nor is a substitute there,


But nothing, nothing at all to talk to


and make love when I awake.


(from The Lordly Hudson)




16. "Father, Guide and Lead Me"




Father, guide and lead me stray


for I stumble forward straight my way undeviating,


I do not notice the pleasant bypaths


that make us this world surprising


Nor the precipice that sinks before.


O give me ground for next a step


to stagger walking in my sleep.


(from Empire City)




17. "Creator Spirit, Please..."




Creator spirit, please let your soft lamp


The soul of our poor land illumine


and its amber comfort us.


I am familiar with your grace


when you call me to look out the window


And quiet with its stars is heaven


and men are doing what they can.


(from Hawkweed)


Texts: Paul Goodman



What is Pink?




18. "What is Pink?"




What is pink? a rose is pink


By the fountain's brink.


What is red? a poppy's red


In its barley bed.


What is blue? the sky is blue


Where the clouds float thro'.


What is white? a swan is white


Sailing in the light.


What is yellow? pears are yellow,


Rich and ripe and mellow.


What is green? the grass is green,


With small flowers between.


What is violet? clouds are violet


In the summer twilight.


What is orange? why, an orange,


Just an orange.


Text: Christina Rossetti




19. "The Mysterious Cat"




I saw a proud, mysterious cat,


I saw a proud, mysterious cat,


Too proud to catch a mouse or rat -


Mew, mew, mew.


But catnip she would eat, and purr,


But catnip she would eat, and purr,


And goldfish she did much prefer -


Mew, mew, mew.


I saw a cat - 'twas but a dream,


I saw a cat - 'twas but a dream,


Who scorned the slave that brought her cream -


Mew, mew, mew.


Unless the slave were dressed in style,


Unless the slave were dressed in style,


And knelt before her all the while -


Mew, mew, mew.


Did you ever hear of a thing like that?


Did you ever hear of a thing like that?


Did you ever hear of a thing like that?


Oh, what a proud mysterious cat.


Oh, what a proud mysterious cat.


Oh, what a proud mysterious cat.




Text: Vachel Lindsay




20. "Who Has Seen the Wind?"




Who has seen the wind?


Neither I nor you;


But when the leaves hang trembling


The wind is passing thro'.


Who has seen the wind?


Neither you nor I;


But when the trees bow down their heads


The wind is passing by.


Text: Christina Rosset




21. "A Pavane for the Nursery"




Now touch the air softly,


Step gently. One two...


I'll love you till roses


Are robin's-egg blue;


I'll love you till gravel


Is eaten for bread,


And lemons are orange,


And lavender's red.




Now touch the air softly,


Swing gently the broom.


I'll love you till windows


Are all of a room;


And the table is laid,


And the table is bare,


And the ceiling reposes


On bottomless air.




I'll love you till Heaven


Rips the stars from his coat,


And the Moon rows away in


A glass-bottomed boat;


And Orion steps down


Like a diver below,


And Earth is ablaze,


And Ocean aglow.




So touch the air softly,


And swing the broom high.


We will dust the gray mountains,


And sweep the blue sky;


And I'll love you as long


As the furrow the plow,


As However is Ever,


And Ever is Now.


Text: William Jay Smith




22. "Counting-Out Rhyme"




Silver bark of beech, and sallow


Bark of yellow birch and yellow


Twig of willow.




Strips of green in moosewood maple,


Colour seen in leaf of apple,


Bark of popple.




Wood of popple pale as moonbeam,


Wood of oak for yoke and barn-beam,


Wood of hornbeam.




Silver bark of beech, and hollow


Stem of elder, tall and yellow.


Twig of willow.


Text: Edna St. Vincent Millay




23. "The House on the Hill"




They are all gone away.


The House is shut and still,


There is nothing more to say.




Through broken walls and gray


The winds blow bleak and shrill;


They are all gone away.




Nor is there one today


To speak them good or ill:


There is nothing more to say.




Why is it then we stray


Around that sunken sill?


They are all gone away,




And our poor fancy-play


For them is wasted skill:


There is nothing more to say.


Text: Edward Arlington Robinson




24. "All Glorious God"




All glorious God, what hymns of praise


Shall our transported voices raise!


What ardent love and zeal are due,


While heaven stands open to our view!




Once we were fallen, and O how low!


Just on the brink of endless woe;


When Jesus from the realms above,


Borne on the wings of boundless love,




Scattered the shades of death and night,


And spread around His heavenly Light!


By Him what wondrous grace is shown


To souls empoverished and undone!




He shows beyond these mortals shores,


A bright inheritance as ours;


Where saints in light our coming wait,


To share their holy, happy state!


Text: Anonymous




25. "Breathe on Me, Breath of God"




Breathe on me, Breath of God,


Fill me with life anew,


That I may love what thou dost love,


And do what thou wouldst do.




Breathe on me, Breath of God,


Until my heart is pure,


Until with thee I will one will


To do or to endure.




Breathe on me, Breath of God,


Till I am wholly thine,


Until this earthly part of me


Glows with thy fire divine.




Breathe on me, Breath of God,


So shall I never die,


But live with thee the perfect life


Of thine eternity.


Text: Edwin Hatch




26. "Lead, Kindly Light"




(from Goodbye, My Fancy)




Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,


Lead thou me on.


The night is dark, and I am far from home;


Lead thou me on.


Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see


The distant scene; one step enough for me.


I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou


Shouldst lead me on;


I loved to choose and see my path; but now


Lead thou me on.


I loved the garish day, and spite of fears


Pride ruled my will; remember not past years.




Text: John H. Newman




27. "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling"




Love divine, all loves excelling,


Joy of heaven, to earth come down,


Fix in us Thy humble dwelling,


All Thy faithful mercies crown!


Jesus, Thou art all compassion,


Pure, unbounded love Thou art;


Visit us with Thy salvation,


Enter every trembling heart.


Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit


Into every troubled breast!


Let us all in Thee inherit,


Let us find the promised rest.


Take away the love of sinning;


Alpha and Omega be;


End of faith, as its Beginning,


Set our hearts at liberty.


Come, Almighty to deliver,


Let us all Thy life receive;


Suddenly return, and never,


Nevermore Thy temples leave.


Thee we would be always blessing,


Serve Thee as Thy hosts above;


Pray, and praise Thee without ceasing,


Glory in Thy perfect love.


Finish, then, Thy new creation;


Pure and spotless let us be;


Let us see Thy great salvation


Perfectly restored in Thee;


Changed from glory, into glory,


Till in heaven we take our place,


Till we cast our crowns before Thee,


Lost in wonder, love, and praise. Amen.


Text: Charles Wesley




28. "Sing, My Soul, His Wondrous Love"




Sing, my soul, His wondrous love,


Who, from yon bright throne above,


Ever watchful o'er our race,


Still to man extends His grace.


Heav'n and earth by Him were made,


All is by His scepter sway'd;


What are we that He should show


So much love to us below?


God, the merciful and good,


Bought us with the Savior's blood,


And, to make our safety sure,


Guides us by His spirit pure.


Sing, my soul, adore His name;


Let His glory be thy theme:


Praise Him till He calls thee home,


Trust His love for all to come.


Text: Anonymous




29. "Surge, Illuminare"




Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.


For behold, darkness covers the land; deep gloom enshrouds the peoples.


But over you the Lord will rise, and his glory will appear upon you.


Nations will stream to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawning.


Your gates will be always open; by day or night they will never be shut.


They will call you The City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.


Violence will no more be heard in your land, ruin or destruction within your borders.


You will call your walls, Salvation, and all your portals, Praise.


The sun will no more be your light by day;


by night you will not need the brightness of the moon.


The Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.


Text: Third Song of Isaiah






About the Composer




Words and music are inextricably linked for Ned Rorem. Time has called him "the world's best composer of art songs," yet his musical and literary ventures extend far beyond this specialized field. Rorem has composed three symphonies, four piano concertos, and an array of other orchestral works, including music for numerous combinations of chamber forces, six operas, choral works of every description, ballets and other music for the theater, and hundreds of songs and song cycles. He is the author of fourteen books, including five volumes of diaries and collections of lectures and criticism.




Ned Rorem was born in Richmond, Indiana on October 23, 1923. The release of this recording is one of many tributes to his 75th birthday. As a child he moved to Chicago with his family; by the age of ten his piano teacher had introduced him to the music of Debussy and Ravel, an experience which "changed my life forever," according to the composer. At seventeen he entered the Music School of Northwestern University, two years later receiving a scholarship to The Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. He studied composition under Bernard Wagenaar at Juilliard, taking his B.A. in 1946 and his M.A. degree in 1948. In New York he worked as Virgil Thomson's copyist in return for $20 a week and orchestration lessons. He studied on fellowship at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood in the summers of 1946 and 1947.




In 1949 Rorem moved to France, and lived there until 1958. His years as a young composer among the leading figures of the artistic and social milieu of post-war Europe are absorbingly portrayed in The Paris Diary of Ned Rorem (Brazillier, 1966). He currently lives in New York City and Nantucket.




Ned Rorem has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship (1951), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1957), and an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1968). He received the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award in 1971, 1975, and 1992. Among his many commissions for new works are those from the Ford Foundation, the Lincoln Center Foundation, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the Atlanta Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, and from Carnegie Hall. Forthcoming is a commission by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Among the distinguished conductors who have performed his music are Bernstein, Leppard, Masur, Mehta, Mitropoulos, Ormandy, Previn, Reiner, Slatkin, Steinberg, and Stokowski. His suite, Air Music, won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize in music. The Atlanta Symphony recording of the String Symphony, Sunday Morning, and Eagles received a Grammy Award for Outstanding Orchestral Recording in 1989.




Rorem has said: "My music is a diary no less compromising than my prose. A diary nevertheless differs from a musical composition in that it depicts the moment, the writer's present mood which, were it inscribed an hour later, could emerge quite otherwise. I don't believe that composers notate their moods, they don't tell the music where to go it leads them... Why do I write music? Because I want to hear it it's simple as that. Others may have more talent, more sense of duty. But I compose just from necessity, and no one else is making what I need."




About the Artists




Richard Coffey, Artistic Director of CONCORA, is one of southern New England's principal choral conductors. He founded CONCORA, Connecticut Choral Artists, as a professional vocal ensemble in 1974. Coffey was recently celebrated for his twenty-five years as Organist and Minister of Music of the South Church of New Britain, where he conducts a choir of professional and amateur singers and serves as Artistic Director of its Music Series.




In frequent demand as a chorusmaster, Coffey has prepared choruses for many orchestras and festivals, including the Hartford Symphony, Orchestra New England, the Springfield Symphony, the New Britain Symphony, the Waterbury Symphony, the Bard Music Festival, and the Harkness Summer Music Festival. For five seasons, beginning in 1988, Coffey was chorusmaster for the Connecticut Opera Association.




For three years, Coffey was Visiting Artist in Choral Music at the Hartt School, University of Hartford, where he conducted the Hartt Chamber Singers and taught graduate seminars in choral literature. He has served on the faculties of SummerTerm at Central Connecticut State University, the President's College of the University of Hartford, the Colby Church Music Institute in Waterville, Maine, and the University of Connecticut at Storrs.




Coffey has served on the boards of directors of the New Britain Symphony and the Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He also serves region-wide as adjudicator and clinician for keyboard and choral competitions and festivals. From 1980-1985 he served on a panel of advisors to the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University. Coffey often makes presentations at regional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Chorus America, and the American Guild of Organists. He is a member of the board of Chorus America, the Washington, DC-based national service organization for professional choruses.




Coffey holds degrees in music from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the School of Sacred Music of New York's Union Theological Seminary. He was awarded France's "premier prix" in organ performance following studies with organist Marie-Claire Alain in 1979. In the fall of 1992 Coffey was named "Conductor of the Year" by the Connecticut Chapter of the ACDA.




Larry Allen, organist, a founding member of CONCORA, is Director of Music and Organist at Immanuel Congregational Church in Hartford, where he is also the Artistic Director of the Woodland Concert Series and Founder/Conductor of the Woodland Scholars. He has served as Music Director for the Greater Middletown Chorale and Chorusmaster of the Connecticut Opera Association. Mr. Allen studied organ with Marie-Claire Alain in Paris. He is an Associate in Organ at the Hartt School. The Connecticut Chapter of the ACDA named him "Conductor of the Year" in 1995.




David Westfall is the Co-chair of the Keyboard Department and Chair of Accompanying at The Hartt School. He has received degrees in piano performance from Indiana University, Texas Christian University, and The Juilliard School, and has studied with concert pianists Abbey Simon and Gyorgy Sebok. A native of Texas, he concertizes regularly throughout the United States, Canada, Spain, and Brazil. He has recorded for Musical Heritage Society and Arkay, and is currently Guest Professor at the Juan Pedro Carerro Conservatory in Barcelona. Mr. Westfall has served as Associate Organist and Choirmaster at South Congregational-First Baptist Church in New Britain, Connecticut, for the past nine years, and is a frequent accompanist for CONCORA.




Carol Allen is the Director of Music at Westminster Presbyterian Church in West Hartford, Connecticut, and is a member of CONCORA. She holds a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance and Church Music from the Eastman School of Music where she


studied organ with David Craighead and accompanying with Brooks Smith.




Stacey Schinas Grimaldi, soprano, first studied voice with Gerald Crawford at Oberlin College where she performed in Falstaff and Albert Herring (Emmie). She has sung for twelve seasons with the Connecticut Opera Association, making her solo debut as the Shepherd Boy in Tosca, and has performed light opera and musical theater roles with various local companies. Born into a long line of Greek Orthodox chanters (to which she attributes her love and talent for singing sacred music), she is in demand as a cantor and soloist throughout Connecticut. She has been a member of CONCORA since 1992.








This recording was made possible by major gifts from Dr. and Mrs. Theodore H. Johnson, The Helen M. Saunders Charitable Foundation, The J. Walton Bissell Foundation, The Music Series at South Church, New Britain, Mr. and Mrs. H. Alex Vance, Jr., and Choral Arts New England, Inc.




Other significant gifts came from Foley-Baker, Inc. (curators of the South Church organs), Robert and Polly Hincks, Deane and Judy Olson, and Robert and Dorothy Stavinsky.




Generous gifts were also received from the following individuals: David and Carol Allen, James Bagnall, Susan Bainbridge, Raymond and Margaret Bargelski, Donna D. Breen, Lorri Cetto, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Clough, Peter M. Curry, Raymond and Julia Giolitto, Bill Hively, Judith Hyde, Betty and Bill Knorr, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Laird, Joan and Alan McLean, Nancy Macy and Robert Painer,Charles A. Miller, Clifford J. Morin, Alden R. Murphy, Clinton and Florence Noble, Thomas Nunes, Mr. and Mrs. Vinton Pratt, Mr. and Mrs. Millard H. Pryor, Jr., Bernita and Ralph Sundquist, Eunice H. Trowbridge, and Elizabeth L. Vitale.




CONCORA is grateful to South Church, New Britain, Connecticut, for providing the recording site and the use of its Gress-Miles organ and Steinway piano. Microphones were graciously lent by Parsons Audio, Wellesley, Massachusetts; editing assistance was generously provided by Scott Campbell; and Allen Hill of Foley-Baker, Inc. kindly donated his services as organ technician. Boosey & Hawkes provided Mr. Rorem's biographical information. David Klotz provided technical information.




CONCORA 90 Main Street New Britain, Connecticut 06051




CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists, Inc.)




Richard Coffey, Artistic Director and Conductor




Carol Allen, Piano · Larry Allen, Piano and Organ · David Westfall, Piano






Carol Allen


Stacey Grimaldi


Miriam Kennedy


Christine Laird


Judith Milardo


Lisa Nappi


Sara Rogers


Karen Ryder


Joanne Scattergood






Catherine Backus


Amy Champagne


Deborah Flower


Diana C. Haley


Pamela Johnson


Betty Knorr*


Adrienne Milics


Catherine Mirakian


Cynthia Wolcott








Scott Campbell


David Dalena


Raymond Giolitto


James Gower


Joseph Groff


George Lombardo


Charles Miller


Peter Perkins


Robert Stavinsky


Richard Williams






Kevin Andersen


William Hively


David Kennedy


Scott Lamlein


Stanley Lewkowicz


Robert Lussier


Kevin McGoff


Brian Patton



Catherine Stockman, Executive Director · Jane Penfield, Director of Operations




CONCORA, Connecticut Choral Artists, was founded in 1974 by its Conductor and Artistic Director, Richard M. Coffey. CONCORA's mission is "to perpetuate and perform with excellence choral music of the highest quality for the broadest possible audience." Since its founding, the all-professional chorus has built an extraordinary reputation for artistic excellence throughout New England. The size of the performing group depends primarily on the repertoire, and varies from twelve to thirty-six voices. The ensemble's versatility is demonstrated in its wide range of repertoire, from the great choral masterpieces to newly commissioned compositions, including arrangements of folk-music, spirituals and popular music. Collaborations with area symphonies and other choruses, including high school and conservatory choruses, augment the annual subscription series presented in the Hartford area. CONCORA has enjoyed collaborations with Chanticleer and with the Gregg Smith Singers. CONCORA frequently performs with symphony orchestras and ensembles. In recent years those appearances have included the Hartford Symphony, Orchestra New England, the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, Springfield (Massachusetts) Symphony, New Britain Symphony, and the University of Connecticut Orchestra. Summer festival appearances include the Harkness Summer Music Festival and the esteemed Bard Festival in Annandale-on Hudson with Leon Botstein, Director.




CONCORA members are chosen each spring when all current and new applicants are required to audition. More than half of the artists are full-time musicians, and nearly all have degrees in music. Acceptance is based on voice quality and musicianship.




CONCORA has produced four other compact discs: "Made in USA," "Christmas with CONCORA," "A Sacred Sampler," and "Christmas in Our Time."




Recorded in the Chancel of the South Church, New Britain, Connecticut May 4, 5, 6, 1998 by Scott Metcalfe, Metcalfe Productions, West Hartford, Connecticut




Cover Art: Dave Magee "Soldiers & Sailors' Monument," Nantucket, Massachusetts








Choral Music of Ned Rorem


CONCORA - Connecticut Choral Artists


Richard Coffey, Artistic Director & Conductor


Larry Allen, organ & piano


David Westfall, piano · Carol Allen, piano




1. Thee, God.. (1973) (2:32)




Seven Motets for the Church Year (1986)


2. While All Things Were in Quiet Silence (2:20)


3. Before the Morning Star Begotten (1:04)


4. Lay Up for Yourselves (1:14)


5. Praise Him Who Was Crucified (1:42)


6. God is Gone Up (1:34)


7. Today the Holy Spirit Appeared (2:48)




Stacey Schinas Grimaldi, soprano




8. Rejoice We All in the Lord (3:30)


9. Phos Hilaron (1972) (2:29)


10. Canticle of the Lamb (1971) (1:48)


11. Little Lamb, Who Made Thee? (1982) (4:11)


12. Come, Pure Hearts, in Sweetest Measure (1973) (3:09)


13. Mercy and Truth are Met (1983) (3:39)


14. Here (from Love Alone) (1988) (6:58)




Three Prayers from Little Prayers (1973)


15. Creator Spirit, Who Dost Lightly Hover (1:28)


16. Father, Guide and Lead Me (:43)


17. Creator Spirit, Please (1:16)




What is Pink? (1987)


18. What is Pink? (1:43)


19. The Mysterious Cat (2:37)


20. Who Has Seen the Wind? (:58)


21. A Pavane for the Nursery (3:34)


22. Counting-Out Rhyme (:45)


23. The House on the Hill (2:25)


24. All Glorious God (1955) (1:43)


25. Breathe on Me, Breath of God (1989) (2:45)


26. Lead, Kindly Light (1988) (2:45)


27. Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (1966) (3:49)


28. Sing, My Soul, His Wondrous Love (1955) (2:33)


29. Surge, Illuminare (1977) (3:11)




Total Time = 72:24