CDs to Treasure
Voices of Ascension albums are available at all concerts and online at Amazon. Please click the title to be linked to the Amazon CD page.
Voices of Ascension's newest, Grammy-nominated recording was released June 30, 2009 by Naxos.
Conductor Dennis Keene, Voices of Ascension and organist Mark Kruczek collaborated with pianist and Granados scholar Douglas Riva and Naxos to produce the North American premiere performance and recording of Granados' Cant de les estrelles, Salve Regina, and Escena Religiosa. Cant de les estrelles received its premiere in 1911 at Barcelona's Palau de la Música Catalana with Granados at the keyboard. The manuscript was never published, and was only recovered in 2004 through the efforts of Mr. Riva and Granados biographer Walter Clark, among others. Works by Catalan composers Pablo Casals, Enrique Morera, Manuel Oltra, and Manuel Blancafort complete the recording.
Artistic Director Dennis Keene describes the work as "hauntingly beautiful. We are thrilled to add Song of the Stars to our repertoire and discography."
"This is an exceptional program, full of rewarding new encounters, very respectably recorded - and especially noteworthy for Manuel Oltra's Eco and Preludio and Granados' often strange and wonderful Cant de les estrelles. Highly recommended!" David Vernier for Classics Today
"A gorgeously blended and fully transparent sound. Recordings of the Requiem are plentiful, but few are as transporting as this one." The New York Times
"a stunning performance" Choral Journal
"Here are Durufle's finest sacred works, the 9 soaring, dramatic movements of Requiem, Op. 9, Messe Cum Jubilo, Op. 11, and the lovely short piece, Notre Pere. All orchestra-accompanied with some nice viola, violoncello, horn and harp solos. Vocal solos by Patricia Spence and Francois Le Roux are standouts. The Voices of Ascension is one of our favorite mixed choirs and The Duruflé Album is a wonderful collection of works by the master 20th century sacred composer." Singers.com
"There is glorious music a plenty here, and this is a good starting point for Renaissance choral listening. Keene's choir consists of 21 beautifully balanced singers ... refined and technically superlative." American Record Guide
Renaissance masterpieces by Hildegard of Bingen, Josquin, Tallis, Byrd, Palestrina and others. Recorded October 1994 at the Church of the Ascension.
Including Missa Papæ Marcelli, motets and offertories. Numerous buyers have posted enthusiastic reviews and recommendations at Amazon.
Originally issued as AVE MARIA. Works by Palestrina, Victoria, Bruckner, Fauré, Holst, Casals, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Duruflé, Bach-Gounod. "... an exquisite debut recording ..." The New York Times
"Dennis Keene and one of New York's finest all-professional choirs perform 16 sacred choruses. All are sung to near perfection. A classy seasonal offering and a memorable recording debut." The Daily News
"Voices of Angels, sung by the all-female section of Voices of Ascension, aims at the straight, unadorned singing of a basic repertoire: "It is our feeling," Dennis Keene explains, "that the inspired poetry and highly nuanced music comes across clearest without a second layer of music added." There is a lot to be said for this approach: few groups have the nerve or the necessary discipline and austerity to give it a try. These singers introduce variety by contrasting soloists with the soprano group and their alto counterpart: it's as simple as that. The singing is pure, possibly just what Hildegard herself would have enjoyed and promoted." Gramophone.net
Voices of Ascension's most recent Delos International recording, Hear My Prayer, with soprano Hei-Kyung Hong, has received rave reviews.
"This performance was recorded live in St John the Divine in New York City, which claims to be the largest Gothic space in the world, and drew upon a chorus of 140, another 140 young voices for the children's part which Berlioz added later, and an orchestra of over 100. The effect, in a powerfully resonant but welcoming acoustic, is superb, and Berlioz would surely have been thrilled. It is also quite a soft acoustic, so that his marvellous orchestral combinations blend easily without losing the distinctiveness that is one of the prime characteristics of his scoring: an example is the manner in which the calls of "Sanctus!" sound through the woodwind arpeggios in the Tibi omnes, something not easy to achieve and missed on some recordings; and again, the clarity of the vocal counterpoint in the Dignare. Dennis Keene can afford to take spacious tempos, and does so, with impressive results. He controls the pace beautifully, maintaining the movement in each section but neither losing impetus nor putting a strain on the singers in the necessity of holding so much together. His tenor is John Aler, excellent in the Te ergo quaesumus. " Gramophone.net
A celebration of one of America's favorite composers. Choral arrangements by Donald Fraser, James Bassi and Dennis Keene.
Favorite Disney Tunes in the style of great classical composers.