Vespers CD, more reviews

Uncle Dave Lewis, allmusic.com, 21 May 2009

The passages written for Piffaro alone… validate the faith they place in Smith; his thinking out of the centuries-old box in regard to Renaissance instruments leads to some novel combinations of textureVespers is an appealing listen; Smith’s music is colorful and ingratiating, and the performance of both Piffaro and the Crossing is of front-rank caliber. Performance ★★★★, Sound ★★★★

Choral Moderns

Infodad, 27 May 2009

Like Penderecki, Smith mixes old elements with distinctively modern ones, but both the elements and the way they are joined are quite different. Smith incorporates Renaissance vocal techniques and fluent modern writing for wind band, with some strikingly effective choral sections (on the word “Alleluia,” for example) and a series of instrumental movements that are more than interludes – they are themselves based on religious texts, which they seem to have absorbed and then reproduced in an alternative form. Smith… incorporates a clean, modern sound while paying tribute to compositional techniques of the past…. Vespers is an emotionally and musically appealing update of some timeless religious sentiments, with the use of German text enhancing a never-quite-imitative connection to the era of Bach – for example, in “Herr Christ, der einig Gotts Sohn” (“God’s only Son, for all time”).

Kile Smith’s Vespers released on the Navona label

Michael Lawrence, The Recovering Choir Director, 6 May 2009

Many composers today, however likable their work might be, still seem to be searching for something to say, as if they haven’t yet completely found their musical voice. Unlike so much that sounds experimental, Smith is a composer who has found his voice: Here is a man that teaches with authority. Behind his work stands not only a well-trained pen, but also the excellent Lutheran musical tradition. Vespers… combines old and new and embraces originality without eschewing lovability.

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