Houston Chamber Choir Releases World Premiere Recording of 'Psalmi ad Vesperas' Today, 9/18

Houston Chamber Choir will release the world premiere recording of Psalmi ad Vesperas (1694) by Italian composer Giovanni Paolo Colonna. The work received its first modern day performance when the Chamber Choir presented it October 29, 2011 in Houston. The recording will be available on the MSR Classics label today, September 18, the same day as the Chamber Choir's season opening concert, at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (1111 St. Joseph Parkway, Houston, Texas). CDs will be available for purchase for $15 at the concert.

Hidden away for centuries in the archives of Westminster Abbey and the Central Library of Zurich, Giovanni Colonna's monumental Vespers has recently come to light, thanks to the Soul Music of Tchaikovsky, Tavener and Gοrecki work of Greek musicologist Pyrros Bamichas. To his knowledge, the Houston Chamber Choir's performance of the work was the first in modern times. Composed in 1694 for a grand festival at the Basilica of St. Petronio in Bologna, this piece calls for choir, soloists and string orchestra. His contemporaries called Colonna "the Orpheus of our century," and the very fact that copies of the Vespers traveled to England and Switzerland attests to its popularity. Psalmi ad Vesperas of Giovanni Paolo Colonna illustrates the little-known splendor of late 17th-century sacred music in northern Italy.

Robert Simpson, Founder and Artistic Director of Houston Chamber Choir said, "I am very pleased that the Houston Chamber Choir and I were joined by such spectacular soloists and instrumentalists for this world premiere recording. Colonna's music was prized throughout Europe during his life-time. After 300 years of neglect, it was a thrill for all of us to bring this music back to life for modern listeners." Simpson collaborated with noted music scholar Dr. Anne Schnoebelen on the project. Dr. Schnoebelen served as the "connector" of the Vespers composition, which was posted on the Web by Dr. Bamichas on a 17th century music forum, of which Schnoebelen is an active member.

For more information on the Houston Chamber Choir, visit their website at www.houstonchamberchoir.org or call (713) 224-5566.

About the Houston Chamber Choir: The Houston Chamber Choir is a professional ensemble dedicated to increasing the awareness, appreciation and esteem of choral music and musicians through performance, outreach and education. Described by Peter Phillips, founder of the Tallis Scholars, as "one of this country's leading ensembles," the Houston Chamber Choir was established in 1995 by Artistic Director Robert Simpson. In April 2012, Houston Chamber Choir made their New York City debut at Trinity Church Wall Street and continued on to Yale University at the invitation of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music where they presented a master class and concert in Marquand Chapel. The Chamber Choir will release the world premiere recording of Psalmi ad Vesperas (1694) by Giovanni Paolo Colonna on the MSR label available on September 18, 2012.

About Dr. Anne Schnoebelen: Dr. Schnoebelen, the artistic advisor for this project has spent her career studying Italian sacred music of the 17th century and she is recognized as the world's foremost authority on the music of Colonna. She served as musical advisor to Robert Simpson in the Houston Chamber Choir's performance of Messa a Nove Voci Concertata con Stomenti (Mass for Nine Concerted Voices with Instruments) by Colonna for the Choir's 15th Anniversary Season finale, Venetian Vespers and continues her collaboration with the Choir on Psalmi ad Vesperas (1694).

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