August 8, 2017

The Blizzard Voices

Paul Moravec’s contemporary update to the vaunted tradition of the oratorio, chronicling the fearsome “Schoolhouse Blizzard” that hit the Great Plains in 1888.

Apple Music

About the album

Emily Pulley, soprano
Deborah Selig, soprano
Erica Brookhyser, mezzo-soprano
Matthew DiBattista, tenor
David Kravitz, baritone
David Cushing, bass-baritone
NEC Concert Choir
Boston Modern Orchestra Project
Gil Rose, conductor

Track Listing

1) The Blizzard Voices: I. Prologue - The Plains
2) The Blizzard Voices: II. There Was a Day
3) The Blizzard Voices: III. The Blizzard Bore Down
4) The Blizzard Voices: IV. Billy
5) The Blizzard Voices: V. I Never See a Sunflower
6) The Blizzard Voices: VI. All Night the Wind Moaned
7) The Blizzard Voices: VII. Lois Mae Royce
8) The Blizzard Voices: VIII. Fare Thee Well, Mother
9) The Blizzard Voices: IX. Telegraph
10) The Blizzard Voices: X. Minnie Freeman
11) The Blizzard Voices: XI. My Sister Was Born
12) The Blizzard Voices: XII. In The Morning - XIII. Light The Fire
13) The Blizzard Voices: XIV. The Searching Parties
14) The Blizzard Voices: XV. In Remembrance
15) The Blizzard Voices: XVI. Epilogue

"Mr. Moravec’s response is that of a painter. Scored for six soloists and a large chorus and orchestra, the oratorio becomes a vast canvas filled with vivid depictions of nature; chiaroscuro changes in lighting; and individual characters fixed with quick, confident brush strokes… For the most part the music is tonal, and Mr. Moravec’s writing for the solo singers aims for an unaffected simplicity…The musical depiction of the outbreak of the storm was nothing short of terrifying."
The New York Times
"Moravec’s darkly tonal music captured these stories in powerful dramatic detail in this expansive, 70-minute work."
Boston Classical Review
"Seasonally enough, last night I attended Blizzard of Voices, an oratorio by Paul Moravec (husband to your friend and mine Wendy Lamb). While you might have thought the warm and woody Jordan Hall would have been an oasis in Boston's horrible weather, Moravec's commemoration of the 1888 Schoolhouse Blizzard was terrible--in the exactest sense--in its evocation of the wind and cold and terror and death that swept over the Great Plains and killed more than two hundred people."
The Horn Book
"The composer says in his booklet notes that ‘a well-balanced mixed chorus singing perfectly in tune strikes me as the most beautiful and resonant of sonorities’. The New England Conservatory Concert Choir and Chamber Singers give him all that and, with expert work from the orchestra and earnest, generally splendid work from the soloists, give a passionate and committed performance."
Lasting more than an hour, it is a major, unusual addition to the choral repertory.
Classical CD Review