The Crossing I Want To Live

The Crossing I Want To Live
7
The Crossing are a women's choir based in Philadelphia that specialize in contemporary works. They've developed a relationship with composer David Lang that has yielded some exquisite performances — I Want to Live is peppered with five pieces by Lang, including the title work. Opening piece "I Live In Pain" is a startling expression of deeply felt personal sorrow refracted through an collective of voices. The effect of an ensemble giving voice to such intense emotion is at once beautiful and unsettling. Lang's "Evening Morning Day" tackles a non-liturgical creation story that hints at the religious roots of Western vocal music. But it's the performances of Lang's "I Lie" and "This Condition" that form the heart of this collection; they're contrasting pieces that build upon minimalist procedures to realize their form and texture. The rest of the disc features pieces by William Brooks, Paul Fowler and Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, each offering a different direction in choral composition. Brooks's "Six Mediaeval Lyrics" is an expanded arrangement of a trio work using Latin text. Paul Fowler's "Potter's Clay" explores a similarly religious expression from a Buddhist perspective, one built upon a restricted set of pitches. And Gudmundsen-Holmgreen's "Statements" ventures into the abstraction of a radically reduced set of words and notes, which are explored procedurally. The end result of this set is a mixed bag. While the heavily reverberant space of St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Chestnut Hill is an important part of the choral sound, there are times when the atmosphere fights against the diction of the text. One begins to suspect that contemporary (and particularly secular) choral music may call for a dryer environment. That aside, much of this is overwhelmingly consistent and irresistibly beautiful. (Innova)