Silent Voices

Silent Voices (New Amsterdam Records) comes from the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The recording, from young forces who have performed with everyone from the New Philharmonic and Mariinsky Orchestra to Barbara Streisand and Elton John, showcases works composed for their ongoing multimedia, multi-composer concert series, Silent Voices. Some of these works, which have already been heard at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, National Sawdust, and other prestigious venues, are sure to find their way into the songbooks of many a professional and student organization.

One measure of the esteem in which this chorus is held is that their accompaniment is by no less a body than the 35-member International Contemporary Ensemble (ironically known as ICE). Internationally renowned, these recipients of the American Music Center's Trailblazer Award and the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming have held residencies at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Ojai Music Festival, and major festival in Europe and Mexico.

The music written specifically for Brooklyn Youth Chorus's Silent Voices project may sound considerably tamer and fresher than the works by Mathew Rosenblum discussed in my last review, but their subject matter is anything but sanitized. Recorded somewhat dryly, mostly in 24/88.2, the chorus sings works written for them by Jeff Beal ("House of Cards"), Ellis Ludwig-Leone (San Fermin), Mary Kouyoumdjian, Paul Miller/DJ Spooky, Nico Muhly, Shara Nova, Toshi Reagon, Kamala Sankaram, and Caroline Shaw. If the cred of that impressive list of living composers is not with-it enough for you, the modern day resonances of Beal's settings of letters between First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and an extraordinary Black lesbian feminist scholar named Pauli Murray certainly will be.

In addition to Beal's work, which is a mind-opening history lesson that many will appreciate, Nova's truly inspiring "Blind to the Illness" and "Let Freedom Ring," Reagan's engrossing "Brooklyn Bound," and DJ Spooky's tell-it-like-it-is, recitation with chorus "Go Tell It" are major standouts. While this particular incarnation of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus may not be as polished as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, nor the engineering demonstration class, Silent Voices is highly recommended for those who care about freedom and the future of youth in America. There's a lot of beautiful and moving stuff here, much of which deserves a home in the repertoire of choruses throughout the country.

COMMENTS
Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Good Vibrations" ................ The Beach Boys :-) ..............

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Let's Hang On" .............. The Four Seasons :-) ...............

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Boogie Wonderland" ................ Earth, Wind & Fire (with The Emotions) :-) ............

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"It Only Takes a Minute Girl" .............. Tavares :-) .................

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Larger Than Life" ............... Backstreet Boys :-) ..............

Indydan's picture

No offense meant; but is there a point to all of these similar comments? I've noticed you doing the same thing, on other sites as well.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Nothing serious .......... Just for information about different artists and songs/tracks, for people to explore, if they are not familiar with the artists :-) .........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Whatever It Takes" ................ Imagine Dragons :-) .............

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Drag Me Down" ............. One Direction :-) ..............

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Amazing Grace (Live)" ................ The Blind Boys of Alabama :-) ..........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Hallelujah" ................. Cantus :-) .............

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"If You Want to Get to Heaven" ................ The Ozark Mountain Daredevils :-) ............

"Jackie Blue" ................ The Ozark Mountain Daredevils :-) ................

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Stayin' Alive" .................... Bee Gees :-) .................

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty" ................. KC and the Sunshine Band :-) ...........

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I know that you take great pleasure in making these associations, but these are life and death issues that this chorus grapples with in this recording. Please listen to what these young people are saying before you make the review into a platform for your own amusement.

Thank you for listening.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Sorry ......... I listened to the recording ........... Many of my suggestions are really good and are very big hits ............ I sincerely do appreciate your recommendations ......... As always, thank you :-) ............

JoeinNC's picture

Yeah. I always look to Stereophile for guidance on issues of life and death.

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