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New Music, Early Music

The recent premiere of composer Kile Smith's "Vespers" was praised by reviewers for its successful melding of the new and the old.  A work for choir and Renaissance band, the composition sought to fuse the musical ideas and choral textures of today with the instrumental sounds of the 16th Century.

The composer modeled his piece on the Lutheran Vespers, which is made up primarily of hymn and psalm settings.  The choral ensemble The Crossing joined the Renaissance band Piffaro in the premiere in Philadelphia in January of 2008.

Kile Smith's compositions have been performed throughout the United States and abroad.  He has received numerous commissions that have ranged from the more traditional chamber and orchestral settings to ones like "Vespers," which seek to combine seemingly disparate sound worlds.  In addition to composing, Smith is a classical host on WRTI Public Radio in Philadelphia.

The choral ensemble The Crossing was founded in 2005 by conductor Donald Nally who is, in fact, the Chorus Master at Lyric Opera of Chicago.  He brings together singers from many cities to form The Crossing.  They have presented numerous critically acclaimed programs from the choral repertoire of today, featuring new and modern music.

One of America's most respected and highly sought after period ensembles, Piffaro, commissioned "Vespers."  Each of the ensemble's members, in typical fashion, performed the premiere on a number of instruments, often alternating between winds, strings, and percussion within the performance.

Watch a section of Kile Smith's "Vespers" as performed by Piffaro and The Crossing:

Our new release of the week is a recording of Monteverdi's opera "L'Orfeo," an offering from the Centaur record label.  The singers and instrumentalists of Music from Aston Magna perform under the direction of Daniel Stepner.

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