Since his death in 1999, Robert Shaw continues to be revered by American choral directors and music lovers, and his recorded interpretations are regarded as the gold standard among all those available. His numerous Grammy Awards—several of them earned during his prolific years on the Telarc label—attest to the regard in which he was held by his fellow musicians.
In recognition of Shaw's stellar body of work, Telarc releases a cappella, a collection of seventeen choral selections recorded during his last decade. These tracks are considered the best of the best, exquisite examples of the deep spiritual rapport Shaw achieved with unaccompanied choruses. One piece, the Verdi "Ave Maria," is performed by his 200-voice Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus in one of their rare opportunities to engage in a cappella singing. The remaining sixteen tracks were recorded by the smaller ensembles he formed in his final years—the Robert Shaw Festival Singers, who performed and recorded at his summer choral festivals in the south of France, and the Robert Shaw Chamber Singers, which brought together the best of his Atlanta voices for concerts and recordings during the winter months.
"These selections, ranging from sacred masterpieces of the Renaissance to gems of the late twentieth century, all had special meaning for Shaw," according to the liner notes by Nick Jones, program annotator for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. "The care he lavished on their preparation and performance flowed from his personal need to communicate both the words and the musical meaning beyond the words. He continues to speak to us through them."