21st Century Sacred

21st Century Sacred: by Gregroy Sullivan Isaacs and the Dallas Singers Collective (2016 rel; CD recording)

Contains Gregory Sullivan Isaacs; :1. My Name Shall Be There 2. A Simple Lovesong (on Victorian Stances) 3. Gather Us In 4. Three Psalms 5. Behold and See 6. Eventide 7. The Annunciation 8. The First Psalm 9. More Than Conquerors

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This collection of recordings under the direction of the composer are sacred anthems and solos that were commissioned from the composer for special occasions over a number of years for various uses such as the opening of a new sanctuary, the anniversary of an older one, weddings, funerals or a gift to the church by a donor.

Two of them are celebratory: More than Conquerors and My Name Shall Be There Those two have brass parts in addition to piano and/or organ and were revised for this recording. The Annunciation is from a larger work, Behold!, that is a completely through-composed Christmas Eve service, incorporating scripture, meditations and familiar hymns. It can be performed with organ, piano or string quartet.

Gather Us In is the choral passage from Isaacs' dramatic cantata, UNDELIVERED, for mezzo-soprano, soprano, baritone, string quartet, horn and bassoon. It is based on JFK s undelivered speech (CD of a complete performance is available). This text, by Suzanne Calvin, is based on G. D. Matheson s Book of Common Prayer. This arrangement for piano and chorus is a tribute to Brahms.

Behold and See is a quiet motet for Holy Week. Eventide (Abide with me) gets a dramatic arrangement and was commissioned for a funeral. This revised version is for organ or piano and voice (all keys available).

The First Psalm is an exploration of a modern-day use of the classical era s Alberti bass (inverted). Three Psalms is a dramatic soliloquy for a soprano (or tenor) and piano or orchestra.

A Simple Song was written for a wedding.

The American composer Gregory Sullivan Isaacs is the author of a catalogue of vocal and instrumental works for both large and chamber ensembles. He has been feted for his “clean, neo-romantic, richly melodic musical idiom” (D Magazine). Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in composition, he has also received a grant from the American Music Center and an ASCAP award for his commitment to American music. Recent works include his critically acclaimed Henry Faust, a three-act opera for tenor and piano, produced for public television, and a cantata for singers and a chamber ensemble, UNDELIVERED (libretto by Suzanne Calvin), based on President Kennedy’s final, but undelivered speech, which received a highly successful premiere in May 2014. Recent chamber music includes Dance Suite for Violin and Piano (2015) written for Gary Levinson, Senior Associate Concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony..

Mr. Isaacs, also an instrumentalist and tenor vocalist, began his musical training at the high school division of the Interlochen Arts Academy (Michigan). He studied at the universities of Michigan and Miami and holds a Master of Music in vocal performance from Indiana University (Bloomington). His list of teachers and mentors include Thor Johnson, Barre Hill, Martha Lipton, Ivan Davis, Frederick Fennell, Leslie Bassett, Tibor Kozma, Gustav Meier, and Pierre Bernac.

After his singing career, Isaacs continued his compositional work while holding numerous musical directorships, as well as composer-in-residence appointments, with opera, musical theater, choral, and symphonic organizations. In 2009, he was chosen as a fellow in the NEA/Columbia Music Journalism Institute. He is currently the Senior Classical Music Critic for the respected on-line performing arts magazine, Theater Jones. He also writes for other publications such as the Fort Worth Star Telegram and teaches private lessons in voice and composition. Isaacs is currently coaching performers and chamber ensembles as well as teaching voice and composition at the Dallas Music Academy. He also offers a series of classes on music history and literature throughout the year.