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Alex Freeman - Under the Arching Heavens

Composer Alex Freeman
Performer Helsinki Chamber Choir
Nils Schweckendiek, conductor
Period Contemporary
Catalogue Number BIS-2592 SACD
EAN 7318599925929
Format SACD Hybrid

This hybrid disc plays on both CD and SACD players
SACD Surround - SACD Stereo - CD Stereo

Release date Jan 2021
Total time 81'30

A Requiem
The Finnish-American composer Alex Freeman has been described as being ‘as comfortable in the realm of the pop ballad as in that of the concert hall’ and yet his songs ‘are imbued with the craftsmanship and care one would expect of a composer of his formidable academic training, just as his concert works carry the emotional immediacy of popular music.’ Himself a choral singer, Alex Freeman has written a number of works for choir: &&&music that aims to be sonorous and melodic, but is carefully crafted to avoid the clichés that can burden conventional tonality.

Freeman’s requiem Under the arching heavens was commissioned by Nils Schweckendiek and the Helsinki Chamber Choir to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Finnish civil war. Structured around the Latin liturgy of the mass for the dead, the work has a duration of more than an hour and also incorporates poems in Finnish, Swedish and English, reflecting both the specific reason for the commission and the universality of human suffering caused by war. In the non-liturgical texts chosen by Freeman, birds are a recurring image, as is that of a mother and child. The work ends with lines by Walt Whitman from a poem written in the aftermath of the American Civil War; lines described by the composer as ‘some of the most comforting poetry in the English language.’ Also included on the disc is A Wilderness of Sea, another recent choral piece which draws on works by Shakespeare, and the poet’s images of the sea, and of mankind’s relationship with it.
Choose format
  Alex Freeman
  Under the Arching Heavens: A Requiem 65'45
01 I. Sydämeni laulu 7'37
02 II. Requiem æternam 4'55
03 III. Sequence - Dies irae 6'36
04 Sequence cont. Thrushes 3'53
05 Sequence cont. 3'51
06 Sequence cont. Fientliga stjärnor 5'33
07 Sequence cont. 8'45
08 IV. Sanctus 5'18
09 V. Mikä lienee se lintu ollut? 4'33
10 VI. Agnus Dei 4'15
11 VII. O Years and Graves! 10'29
  A Wilderness of Sea, for mixed chorus
12 A Wilderness of Sea 14'32
  Album total 81'30
ComposerFreeman, Alex
Chamber choirHelsinki Chamber Choir
ConductorSchweckendiek, Nils
LyricistKajava, Viljo
Kivi, Aleksis
Sassoon, Siegfried
Sodergran, Edith
Whitman, Walt

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