Julian Lloyd Webber (cello), Hila Plitman (soprano).
The Eric Whitacre Singers, London Symphony Orchestra, Eric Whitacre.
Eric Whitacre follows the Grammy-winning success of his debut Decca album, Light and Gold (2743209), with Water Night, a brand new album that features no less than seven World Premiere Recordings. Light and Gold was awarded ‘Best Choral Performance’ in February 2012 at the 54th Grammy Awards for Whitacre’s first recording as both composer and conductor. This second disc for Decca juxtaposes music written as a young composer alongside brand new repertoire, both choral and orchestral, displaying the different influences and styles of Whitacre.
The Eric Whitacre Singers positively shimmer on these world premiere recordings of “Alleluia” and “Oculi Omnium”, two of the brand new works alongside one of the greats of his oeuvre, “Her Sacred Spirit Soars”. “Equus” is played by the full forces of the London Symphony Orchestra.
By way of contrast, “The River Cam” is a beautiful, pastoral piece that demonstrates Nevada-born Whitacre’s absorption of the works of Elgar and Vaughan Williams during his time in the UK as a visiting Fellow at Cambridge University. It was written at the invitation of the distinguished cellist, Julian Lloyd Webber, to mark his 60th birthday in 2011, who also gives the performance here.
An unexpected gem of the album is a setting of Goodnight Moon, the multi-million selling American children’s book by Margaret Wise Brown (Harper Collins). Written for soprano and strings, this tender piece is performed by Hila Plitmann, a Grammy-winning artist with great commitment to contemporary music.
The title track, “Water Night”, is one of Eric Whitacre’s most performed works, heard on this album performed by the strings of the London Symphony Orchestra.
"In The River Cam...Vaughan Williams and Elgar are acknowledged points of reference, and the mellowly lyrical lines spun for solo cello are feelingly played here by Julian Lloyd Webber, for whose 60th birthday the piece was written...[When David heard] remains one of Whitacre's most intensely expressive pieces. It's raptly performed here, with the composer conducting, and is the high point of this particular programme."
BBC Music Magazine"