Cantus vocal ensemble makes national news, part 2

So earlier today I posted on the New York Times’ review of Cantus’ latest CD “That Eternal Day.”

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The review, by James Oestreich, was less than stellar, and had at least one MPR Classical host, Brian Newhouse, fuming. He writes:

I think Mr. Oestreich needs to do a little more exercising, if he finds Cantus’ version of Simple Gifts “exhausting.” I first put Cantus’ That Eternal Day into the car CD player on an overcast autumn afternoon last year. That very track, Stephen Caracciolo’s arrangement of Simple Gifts, was the most beautiful thing on disc I’d heard all year. A first: I pulled over and listened to it three times in a row. When I put the car in gear again, the world was less gray, a little more illumined by beauty. How Mr. Oestreich hears this music as curdled and soupy is absolutely stupefying to me. What’s that they say beauty being in the eye of the beholder?

However, Cantus Executive Director Mary Lee points out that sometimes a little negative attention is better than no attention at all:

We were thrilled that our latest disc, “That Eternal Day,” was noticed and reviewed by the NYTimes. Cantus does not have the PR power of a label and doesn’t use a national publicist, so the fact that the NYTimes has brought this recording to the attention of its national and international audience is very good news for us. And whether we agree or not with his specific comments, critical or constructive feedback is always much more welcome than none at all.

Have you listened to “That Eternal Day?” If so, what do you think of the album?

  • Joseph

    That Eternal Day might be the most moving choral album I’ve heard in ten years, certainly top three. “Paradise” and “Hallelujah” are revelations, and the “Simple Gifts” is more powerful than the King’s Singers justifiably praised arrangement. I, too, can simply leave it repeating, single songs or whole album. And “There’s a Meeting Here Tonight”? Wow.