CAROL BARNETT: Treasures from the Archives – Christine Starr (piano)/ Jay Johnson (percussion)/ Doleen Hughes-Zdunek (piano)/ Dale Warland Singers/ Dale Warland/ National Lutheran Choir/ David Cherwien/ Murray State University Concert Choir/ Bradley Almquist Kantorei/ Richard Larson/ MMEA All-State Women’s Choir/ Sandra Snow – Navona NV5970, 43’ [Distr. by Naxos] ***:

The heading above pretty much writes this review for me; I enjoyed this program of music by Carol Barnett, for eight years the composer-in-residence for the Dale Warland singers, yet her music sounds curiously throwback to me. This isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just that the current state of the choral art is so different that what she composes—a direct and very straightforward emotional tonality—strikes you as something from another era. Many will like this; indeed, I did, especially her vigorous and clever spirituals arrangements. And it’s nice to hear her music as presented by a few other ensembles to understand how well her music travels. But I doubt I would have sought this album out after having a chance to hear it first. You might think differently, and if a more uniform and uncluttered choral experience is what you are seeking, look no further. Sound and performances are exemplary.


Traditional: My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord
Traditional: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Traditional: Wonder Where
Traditional: Angelus ad Virginem
Carol Barnett: Children of the Heavenly Father; Hodie; Veni Sancte Spiritus; Aprile; By and By; Remember the Ladies; Dance of Zálongo

—Steven Ritter