Seasonal Serenity from Brian Galante and Stephen Paulus

This release features two world premiere recordings: Brian Galante’s “So Hallow’d the Time,”  and Stephen Paulus’ “Christmas Dances.” They couldn’t be in better hands.

Robert Taylor’s ensemble, the Taylor Festival Choir sings with a clean, translucent sound that resonates with the deep spirituality of these works.

“So Hallow’d the Time” is a quiet contemplation on the time leading up to Christmas, moving from darkness to light.

Galante lightly orchestrates his work with harp, flute, and violin. These instruments add a crystalline iciness to the score that’s quite effective.

Paulus composed his “Christmas Dances” in 2008. Its use of flute and harp with the choir reminds me a little of Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols.” But I like this better.

As with the Galante work, “Christmas Dances” evokes a sense of spirituality and serenity. Paulus conveys a sense of joyous wonder, though in a subtle fashion.

If the holiday season is an especially trying time for you, give this release a listen. Choral music focused on the spiritual center of the season, sung with beauty and sensitivity, instilling a sense of tranquility. I love it.

So Hallow’d the Time
Christmas Music by Brian Galante and Stephen Paulus
Taylor Festival Choir; Robert Taylor, conductor
Delos DE3580

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