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This recording captures the poetry of James Weldon Johnson in a vigorous and moving musical setting by American composer and singer, Gordon Myers (1919-2006). One of the missions of Gloriae Dei Cantores is to preserve in recordings worthy American sacred music that would otherwise be neglected. This splendid oratorio certainly fits that category and has been performed by large choral groups for more than fifty years. James Weldon Johnson wanted to portray the “old-time preacher” from the early 19th century that was rapidly disappearing by the 1920’s. When Myers composed the work, he said he wanted to blend the best elements of a church choir, folksongs and Afro-American spirituals. The result is a work full of energy, warmth, good fun and a dose of Americana. Gloriae Dei Cantores is proud to re-release this recording, originally from 1995, as part of their effort towards the preservation of American sacred music.
"...it is necessary to have a voice with great distinction and dramatic, compelling power.[Gordon] Myers still had that voice in 1995. The most notable aspect of Myers's singing is diction."
"The Gloriae Dei Cantores...is conducted by Elizabeth C. Patterson. The ensemble's choral sound is in tune, with a wide range of dynamics required by the text. The Gloriae Dei Brass Ensemble performs with notable vitality underscoring the dramatic focal points of the work."
"This recording is an excellent addition to the storehouse of musical Americana."
Caroline Cepin Barnes Choral Journal April 1998
"My long-standing love affair with James Weldon Johnson's classic God's Trombones was sparked anew by this splendid 78 minute cantata and the tonally sumptuous recording the Gloria Dei forces have made of it. ... it is a major triumph for the Paraclete operation to have secured his (Gordon Myers) participation in this venture."
"This is an important work which deserves to be heard, known, and widely appreciated."
John L. Hooker Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians February 1998
"Gloriae Dei Cantores again show their incredible versatility in moving easily from sections resembling Britten or Vaughan Williams to others resembling African-American spirituals."
Mark Sedio Cross Accent January 1998
“The singing is top
notch and the performances bloom with drama and gravity. Myers' voice is
potent and exact and the choir inspired. This is a piece of music that
deserves to be heard and preserved.”
C. Michael Baily All About Jazz May 2018