Life and Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen


Conducted by Charles Bruffy, the Kansas City Chorale performs choral works by René Clausen.

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The Kansas City Chorale, Conducted by Charles Bruffy
Featuring soloists Sarah Tannehill Anderson, Pamela Williamson, Rebecca Lloyd, and Lindsey Lang

2013 GRAMMY® Award winner:
Best Choral Performance (Charles Bruffy, conductor)
Best Engineered Album, Classical (Tom Caulfield & John Newton, engineers; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer)

Produced by 2013 GRAMMY® Award winner for Producer of the Year (Classical) Blanton Alspaugh

Track Listing

  1. All that Hath Life and Breath Praise the Lord
  2. O magnum mysterium
  3. The Tyger
  4. The Lamb
  5. Mass: Kyrie
  6. Mass: Gloria
  7. Mass: Credo
  8. Mass: Sanctus
  9. Mass: Agnus Dei
  10. Magnificat
  11. Prayer
  12. O vos omnes
  13. A New Creation: Set me as a seal

Reviews and Accolades for Life and Breath

‘Life and Breath’ has a pleasing choice of liturgical and sacred texts, and René Clausen’s word-setting is always appropriate and approachable to listeners. Much of the music moves at slow tempi but dancing jazzy rhythms in the manner of Robert Chilcott or John Rutter are heard in ‘All that hath life and breath, praise ye the Lord’ and the ‘Gloria’ from the Mass. Elsewhere, you’ll hear slow, sustained and widely spaced chordal textures, which are so characteristic of composers including Lauridsen, Mealor and Whitacre. However, Clausen’s harmonic language is generally richer, with expressive bitonality and modulations. In this respect, his style is akin to that of Herbert Howells, as you’ll hear par excellence in ‘The Lamb’ and the Mass’s ‘Agnus Dei.’ All this presents quite a challenge for choirs, which the Kansas City Chorale under the assured direction of Charles Bruffy are fully capable of meeting. They do so with bright, youthful, polished singing, giving Clausen’s music fine advocacy. It’s also good to listen to new, fresh settings of words that are well known through other composer’s works. ‘O magnum mysterium’ by Lauridsen and ‘Set me as a seal’ by William Walton may be familiar pieces, but listeners may prefer Clausen’s more overtly emotional music. Certainly his choral works deserve wider international recognition and would be worthy additions to the choral repertoire.—Gramophone Magazine

The Kansas City Chorale’s stellar performance further solidifies Clausen’s rightful prominence in the American choral music landscape.—Thomas Lerew, Choral Journal

This well-selected collection highlights his career from early to more recent, including such stellar ‘hits’ as the opening ‘All that Hath Life and Breath, Praise ye the Lord’. Clausen has been especially successful in writing music according to the abilities of his ensembles, which makes The Tyger and The Lamb all the more exciting for their ability to conjure emotion while using the simplest of means. I found the ‘Magnificat’ maybe the most melodically alluring while the more daring harmonics of ‘O vos omnes’ are highly moving. The other pieces are equally engaging and make fine filler. Bruffy’s forces are in top notch condition while Chandos’s capturing of the ambience at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Kansas City translates into truly superb surround sound, from the mellow pianissimos to the forceful fortes, spread to perfection among all the speakers. A record to cherish.—Audiophile Audition