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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 17 April 2012
Eric Whitacre has created the healing nest for the weary traveller, the youthful searcher and the narrowed academic. How could anyone want for more on one CD..... indeed, how coud anyone want for more at all? Not me.

Whitacre's craft as creator of these soundscapes surpasses even his previous work, in my opinion. I had no doubt the choral compositions would meet my needs but I didn't realise the singers would give me, a Teacher of Voice, 98% of what I wanted to hear in the shaping and comittment to the composition; it is excellent.

I hadn't realised there were instrumental tracks on here before ordering. I would normally be disappointed. Realising there were I attempted to put aside my increeping negative voice of "but I wanted all choral!" Oh how wrong I was and what a lesson I have learned. SO..... completely different from the choral tracks I was just captured by and swooning over Whitacre's abiltiy to give us such richness in his writing.

I want to buy LOTS of copies to give to my friends. I say listen to this and no one can ever even breathe the phrase: "Classical music is dead"
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on 24 April 2012
Eric Whitacre is, deservedly, the most popular choral composer of our time. His ethereal compositions have won him hundreds of thousands of fans all across the globe, many of whom say that his music has a profound effect on them. As for myself, I first heard Whitacre's music ("Water Night") in 2001, and have been mesmerized by his music ever since. I can't describe the effect it has on me, but "clearing," "soothing" and "healing" are some words that approach that unearthly experience. It helps me get over a headache, truly. It is so profound, clearing and ecstatic.

This is Whitacre's first CD that also includes orchestral renditions. He's upped his game here -- the choral pieces are more lush, shimmering and spine-tingling than ever. His orchestral pieces are a fairly new offering from him, and gratefully so, since they too are moving and utterly beautiful. "The River Cam" was written for cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and captures the presence of not just the river itself, but of the English pastoral landscape. A delicate, touching, memorable piece.

Very hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to name the one I listen to the most, it would be Alleluia. The way this song swells and fills my entire body with basking joy is a feat that, musically, only Whitacre can do. This song gives me wings. Similar in its exultant joy is "Oculi Omnium," a rewriting of the Gregorian Chant, which Whitacre has spat on his hands and raised from the dead. No longer quiet and secluded -- now alive, effervescent, ebullient -- with the brilliant Grace Davidson soaring to thrilling heights.

"Her Sacred Spirit" feels more like an intimate invocation, a tribute from a loving companion. Made me cry a couple of times. I feel strength is funneled into me as I listen. "Goodnight Moon" is a sweet little tune made delightful by the exquisite Hila Plitmann. Warning, extremely likely to get stuck in your memory.

"When David Heard" has a special place in my heart for the countless times it has brought much-needed consolation when I've suffered from one sorrow or another. A long piece (a good 15 minutes), it really goes there with you in the deep dark place where we stash feelings that are hard to deal with, the sorrows that we are too busy to face when they happen. It gives me a chance to release things that no longer serve me. It's a feat of composition in its unsurpassed honesty in portraying grief. I can't possibly state how transformational and healing this piece is. "David" alone is worth the price of the whole CD.

Eric Whitacre is also known for his immensely popular Virtual Choir project, bringing together people from around the world and enabling them to join in an international choir performance from their living rooms. Whitacre is one of the most performed and beloved composers of our time. The song samples above will show you that this album is just indispensable.
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on 9 May 2012
A great album with both choral works and orchestral pieces.
I am relatively new to Eric Whitacre's choral works and therefore I am not the best person to fully review this album or compare it to his previous ones, as I bought it primarily for the River Cam. It is a lovely lyrical piece, undeniably British, with serious echoes of Elgar and Vaughan WIlliams and was written by Eric for the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber to mark his 60th birthday. I first heard the piece in April 2011 when it was premiered at the Royal Festival Hall and fell in love with it. There are so many pieces for cello and orchestra, not many pieces for cello and strings and The River Cam fills the gap beautifully and very likely to become a staple in the repertoire.
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How wonderful to have three orchestral pieces from Whitacre on this disc! They are each different from the other, providing a much more varied and richer album than his previous ones.

The River Cam is a tone poem with solo cello, and it deserves to become a staple of the repertoire. Those special Whitacre harmonies sound amazing on an orchestra - try the wondrous sound after 6:15, and again the final unearthly chord at the end of the piece. It's worth the price of the CD to hear that one chord alone. Water Night comes across well on string orchestra, sounding reminiscent in places of Arvo Part, but with that special Whitacre sound prevailing, and again a joy to hear those special harmonies on orchestra. Equus is in an unusual style for Whitacre, but it is well put together and an intelligent work, reminding me in places of Michael Torke (no bad thing!). I certainly don't agree with the Gramophone review's dismissal of it.

As a complete contrast in style, we get the setting of the children's book, Goodnight Moon, with Hila Piltmann taking the solo soprano part. This too is very enjoyable in its own way.

The rest of the disc is given over to the more typical Whitacre choral pieces, five of them in all. Whitacre has maintained his very high standards and they are all very good indeed. I'll just mention two. 'Oculi Omnium' is the shortest and is a model of perfection in miniature. The setting of 'Amen' is one of those divine moments. 'When David Heard' is the longest piece I have heard of Whitacre, at 17 minutes. It captures the distress of a father losing his son, and is dramatic and rather harrowing. Maybe Whitacre should tackle an opera at some point.

Whitacre is one of the most important developments is 'serious' music at the moment - don't be put off by the glamorous packaging. Thoroughly recommended.
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on 15 May 2012
I bought Water Night about two weeks ago. Since buying it I have been unable to listen to anything else; no more Billie Holiday, no more Del Amitri, Simply Red, Crosby Stills & Nash, Jamie Cullum, Rumer, Cuban Music, Ella Fitzgerald, Glen Miller. Gone is all the Blues and Bluegrass, even the Gospel Music. When will I be able to listen to them again?
The first few times I played "Water Night" I wept. That's the power of music! It sounds like the music of heaven. I get my friends to sit down, shut up and listen; they all love it. I've never heard anything like it, and I am 63. That's all I can say. You have been warned.
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on 28 August 2015
Mesmerising.watched. This at the proms and was transfixed. Just had to buy relaxing and absorbing. Also recommend his other cds which gave been investigating as nevercheard of him before. The river cam track which he wrote for the cellist lloyd webber is just bliss. I am an avid fan of his now for his choral work too.throughly recommend this cd.
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on 8 May 2014
As i have become accustomed to with regard to the works of Whitacre, sublime..sublimely beautiful...
Though i love the whole album, The River Cam is simply wonderful... Shades of Elgar and Vaughan Williams... Cannot praise the track enough..
A bargain purchase...
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on 30 May 2012
Fans of Eric Whitacre's previous choral work will know what to expect - delicious dissonances laced with enough honeyed harmonies to make the work an unalloyed pleasure from the very first hearing.

The disappointment of having another track on this album of his (albeit near-perfect) setting of David's lament over his son Absalom, from Whitacre's earlier album Cloudburst, was more than made up for by several orchestral pieces here which show another side of his talent. The first of the these, Equus, is an exhilaring musical gallop which one only wishes were longer the nine minutes or so it actually takes.
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on 20 May 2014
This is superb music, beautifully performed. I find Eric's music almost intoxicating; the wonderful harmonies sink into my inner being and transport me to a heavenly place. I downloaded the cd last week and can't stop listening to it. I couldn't recommend it more highly.
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on 7 January 2015
got this for Mrs G when she was expecting our little daughter - Seal Lullaby is a clear stand out track but the whole album will forever be the sound track to our early steps in to parenthood, haunting, soothing and beautiful. Check out Morten Lauridsen too.
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