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Eric Whitacre: Home

VOCES8; Emma Denton (cello), Christopher Glynn (piano) (Decca)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Eric Whitacre – Home
The Sacred Veil; Go, lovely Rose; The Seal Lullaby; All Seems Beautiful to Me; Sing Gently
VOCES8; Emma Denton (cello), Christopher Glynn (piano)
Decca 485 3970   72:53 mins

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VOCES8’s gorgeous sound, impeccable ensemble and intense responsiveness to text, harmony and melodic shape is all of the highest quality. Hearing them sing is a joy, making this new album from Grammy-winning composer Eric Whitacre a sumptuous delight.

A special highlight is the world-premiere recording of All Seems Beautiful to Me, commissioned by the United States Air Force Band. Setting an extract from Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of the Open Road’, Whitacre conjures a sense of fluid, psalm-like movement from this warmly celebratory text, and the work is executed with total assurance by VOCES8. At the heart of the album is a cantata, The Sacred Veil, written in 2019 for choir, cello and piano. This hour-long work sets a text by Whitacre’s longstanding friend and collaborator Charles Anthony Silvestri and commemorates the death of the poet’s young wife Julie from ovarian cancer. The 12 movements are by turns heart-wrenching, meditative and affirming. Whitacre’s score is at once complex yet emotionally direct and is performed here with consummate flair, with notable contributions from cellist Emma Benton and pianist Christopher Glynn.

Other moments in the selection might tip towards the saccharine for some tastes. The Seal Lullaby, composed for a Disney animation (ultimately never made) may tug a little too directly on the heart-strings for some sensibilities, but when Whitacre deploys a touch more harmonic bite, his work is richly rewarding and could not hope for better advocates than VOCES8.

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Kate Wakeling