Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman | Sacred Music, Vol. 1

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Sacred Music, Vol. 1

by Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman

This recording contains sacred choral music, including Gregorian chant, that is primarily joyous and on celebratory texts. Most are in major keys or modes. The music is from the Renaissance, based on sacred Latin texts and sung a capella
Genre: Spiritual: Praise & Worship
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Ave Maria
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
1:58 $0.99
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2. Alma Redemptoris
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
3:02 $0.99
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3. Verbum Caro
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
3:26 $0.99
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4. Regina Caeli
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
1:30 $0.99
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5. Cibavit Eos
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
3:05 $0.99
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6. Jubilato Deo
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
2:00 $0.99
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7. Sicut Lilium
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
2:00 $0.99
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8. Adoramus Te
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
2:13 $0.99
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9. O Quam Gloriouso
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
2:40 $0.99
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10. Pueri Hebraeorum
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
2:08 $0.99
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11. Factus Est
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
4:02 $0.99
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12. Exultate Deo
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
3:39 $0.99
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13. Omnes De Saba
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
2:14 $0.99
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14. Ave Verum Corpus
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
2:13 $0.99
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15. Sancte Paule Apostole
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
2:35 $0.99
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16. O Magnum Mysterium
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
3:03 $0.99
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17. Sepulto Domino
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
3:10 $0.99
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18. Sacerdos Et Pontifex
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
2:43 $0.99
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19. Ascendit Deus
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
1:56 $0.99
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20. Sanctus/Benedictus
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
3:30 $0.99
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21. Sicut Cervus
Church of the Ascension Choir & Thomas Wikman
5:15 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Sacred Music (Volume One)

This first recording of the Church of the Ascension Choir under Choirmaster Thomas Wikman contains primarily joyous music on celebratory texts. Almost all are in major keys or modes. Most of these works are from the Renaissance. They are based on sacred Latin texts and are sung a cappella (without instrumental accompaniment). They are typical of what
is heard during Sunday worship services at The Church of the Ascension in Chicago. Among the most exuberant are the Exultate Deo of Scarlatti and Jubilate Deo by di Lasso. Handl’s Omnes de Saba is another very positive piece written for the Feast of the Epiphany, with many alleluias and prayers of thanksgiving as the Magi present the baby Jesus with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Sicut Cervus by Palestrina is a parish favorite, performed by the Ascension choir every
year during the Great Vigil of Easter. Among the few somber pieces is the Sepulto Domino of Victoria, which recalls the burial of Jesus.

Gregorian chant is a key component of the music program at Ascension. At all Solemn High Masses throughout the year, the men (schola) of the choir chant the traditional Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, and Communion from the Roman Gradual. These pieces are the “minor propers.” (The “major propers” comprise the Collect and the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel readings for the day.) Cibavit eos is the Introit for the Feast of Corpus Christi. The Alleluia Ascendit Deus
is sung on the Feast of the Ascension (our patronal feast), and the Factus est is the Communion chant for Pentecost. These pieces of Gregorian chant have been sung in worship services for many hundreds of years.

Complementing the three pieces of Gregorian chant, sung by men, are three pieces written for higher voices. The Pueri Hebraeorum was written by Palestrina for Palm Sunday, using soprano I, soprano II, alto and tenor. The piece mimics the voices of the Hebrew children as they welcome Jesus to Jerusalem with olive branches. O Magnum Mysterium by Morales is another piece for high voices, with soaring lines and shifting harmonies. Morales uses soprano and tenor voices, not grounded by a bass line, to represent the mystery of the virgin birth. Ave Verum Corpus by Josquin des Prez starts with just sopranos and altos; halfway through, the trebles are joined by tenors in beautiful three-part polyphony.

A typical Solemn High Mass at Ascension contains many musical offerings. The parts of the Ordinary typically sung by the choir are the Kyrie, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei. (On major feast days the choir may also sing the Gloria and
Credo.) In addition, the men of the choir will chant the minor propers from the Graduale Romanum, which comprise five pieces of Gregorian chant. There will also be several motets, and usually four hymns. Each piece of music must fit into the liturgy, enhancing worship without impeding the flow of the Mass. The Ave Maria by Arcadelt is an example of the compact type of setting used at Ascension. It is used for Stations during processions. There are much longer settings of this common prayer; this one is both gorgeous and brief. The Adoramus Te by Handl is another very beautiful, short setting of a prayer that has been set to music by many composers. This rich double-choir motet is commonly sung at Ascension on Good Friday during Communion. Hassler’s Verbum Caro, a communion motet for the Christmas season, uses six voices in the echo style of Gabrieli.

The Ascension choir maintains a roster of some 30 singers. The singers stand in quartets (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) rather than in sections — an arrangement that enables each singer to hear his/her voice in clearer context, and which
also places greater responsibility on each member. The choir’s vocalism is pure and classical, similar to the vocalism soloists may employ in early Italian arias. Wikman emphasizes pure vowels, clean attacks, sostenuto and legato. These values, along with good intonation, result in the excellent choral sound heard on this recording.

At Church of the Ascension, there exists a spiritual tradition of rich depth: the worship is Anglo-Catholic, full of the very best music and poetry, using the language and beauty of traditional Anglican forms. Beauty and the fine arts, particularly music,
are used as important expressions of a yearning for God. Church of the Ascension maintains a professional choir of mixed voices including 30 professional singers.

CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION CHOIRMASTER, Thomas Wikman has had an extensive career as a choral and orchestral conductor, voice teacher and organist. As Choirmaster of Church of the Ascension since 1984, he has conducted the professional choir in more than 1,700 worship services replete with masterpieces from the year 1000 A.D. to the present, including pieces by Orlando di Lasso, Victoria, Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, Liszt, Brahms, Herbert Howells, Leo Sowerby and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Wikman is founder and conductor laureate of Chicago’s Music of the Baroque; he served as Music Director of that organization for 30 years. With Music of the Baroque, Wikman specialized in presenting the large choral works of J. S. Bach (Mass in B Minor, St. Matthew and St. John Passions, Christmas Oratorio, etc.) and also mounted many revivals of major Handel oratorios and operas (Saul, Jephtha, Athalia, Deborah, Semele, Hercules, Samson, etc.) His discography includes numerous CDs: among them a critically acclaimed Vespers of the Blessed Virgin (1610) by Claudio Monteverdi. In addition to his work at Music of the Baroque, Wikman also performed large-scale romantic and 20th-century repertoire with two groups: The Elgin Choral Union and The New Oratorio Singers and he explored smaller works conducting The Tudor Singers and The New Court Singers. He has appeared as conductor, organist and harpsichordist with
the Ravinia and Grand Teton Music Festivals. In May 2002, The University of Illinois at Chicago awarded Wikman the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts (Honoris Causa) for “…making an incomparable contribution to the musical life of Chicago.”

Wikman maintains a voice studio producing students who have performed roles at the Metropolitan and Chicago Lyric Operas as well as the major European Houses including LaScala, Bayreuth, Vienna and Berlin. He is also an active organist who has played over 600 recitals. Wikman currently is the Artistic Director of the Paul Manz Organ series for the
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and he was the organist and Artist-in-Residence at the Chicago Theological Seminary where he played weekly recitals. He has toured Europe seven times as an organist playing recitals in France, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Denmark and Italy. Highlights include recitals at The Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei
Frari in Venice; Saint-Sulpice, Paris; and The Royal Castle at Hillerod, Denmark.

The Church of the Ascension Choir: Thomas Wikman, Choirmaster
Soprano: Theresa Enright, Bethany Hamilton, Esther Joo, Patricia Mueller, Sheryl Veal, Alessandra Visconti, Dawn Lauber/Elise La Barge, Rebecca Richey/Susan Nelson.
Alto: Edward Bee, Andrea Holliday, Cynthia Mace/Raymond Chenez, Amy Pickering, Roger Pines, Corrine Wallace.
Tenor: Daniel Shirley, Enrico Bellomo, Kiel Galland, Madison Bolt, Patrick Muehleise, David Anderson.
Bass: Todd von Felker, David Govertsen, John Holland, Jan Jarvis, Wilbur Pauley, Leo Radosavljevic/Myron Myers.

Producer: Judith Mintel
Recording Engineer: Richard Mintel
Graphic Design: Nathan Lambshead, Goodnews Graphics
Photos: churchartphotography.com
Cover: The Coronation of the Virgin, Paulo Veronese (1528–1588). Oil on canvas (1555). Chiesa di San Sebastiano, Venezia.

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Reviews


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David

Music at Church of the Ascension
This recording is typical of the outstanding offerings that are a weekly occurrence on Sunday mornings at the 11 AM Solemn High Mass at Church of the Ascension in Chicago. The music offered, choral, organ and hymn selections, are thoughtful reflections of the lessons and character of the day. The choir tends to specialize in earlier music but offers music from a wide range of styles and time periods. I purchased 2 recordings already as gifts and will probably buy more for Christmas gifts.
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Sylvia Sorgel

Must Have!!
This is a "must have" for anyone who appreciates glorious music! Each piece is lush - what a joy to listen to such superb music!
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Doug M.

Hauntingly Beautiful Music from Church of the Ascension Choir
In an era when, all too often, "church music" means a praise band crooning "I Love You Jesus," the choir at Church of the Ascension, Chicago reminds us all how glorious sacred music can actually be. Under the thoughtful and talented leadership of Tom Wikman, the choir performs hauntingly beautiful selections from the classic repertoire of western Church music.
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