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When the planning for this set of recordings first began, the driving concept was to revive interest in the American choral repertoire of the middle of the 20th century as represented by recordings made by the Gregg Smith Singers. With the death of Gregg Smith on July 12, 2016, these recordings also serve as a memorial to the career of a man whose devotion to choral music in general, and especially American choral music "of every time and place," was greater than that of almost any other of his generation. Smith had an uncanny gift for seeking out and nourishing the talent of lesser-known American choral composers—both young and old—showcasing their works through concerts and recordings. Gregg Smith was founder and conductor of the Gregg Smith Singers; conductor of the Long Island Symphonic Choral Association; and composer-inresidence for Saint Peter's Lutheran Church in New York; as well as being a composer. No other conductor did as much to raise the standards of choral singing in the second half of the 20th century, or was as influential on other American choral conductors and composers. The full array of mid-twentieth century American choral music is presented here—all coming from the archives of the Gregg Smith Singers.
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"...The Gregg Smith Singers is augmented here by the hearty voices of the Long Island Symphonic Choral Association... The entire effect of these combined forces is quite stunning, maintaining the dignity and simplicity of Carl Sandburg's texts ... The characteristic rhythmic drive, the spirited sound of his virtuoso singers, and this album is perhaps the best of his formidable best."
Raymond Beegle - Fanfare - March/April 2017
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Chandos Records is one of the world's premier classical music record companies, best known for its ground breaking search for neglected musical gems. The company has pioneered the idea of the 'series' and proudly includes series of such composers as Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Parry, Walton, Grainger, Berkeley and Bridge. Renowned for its superb sound quality, Chandos has won many prestigious awards for its natural sound.