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In 1959, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir won a Grammy Award for its album titled Battle Hymn of the Republic, recorded with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. More than forty years later, that well-loved arrangement for chorus and orchestra is given a dramatic new performance on Telarc's The Sound of Glory (CD-80579), with DSD (Direct Stream Digital) recording technology that brings the true sound of the 350-plus-voice ensemble with orchestra to the listener as never before, and virtually recreates the monumental Mormon Tabernacle experience.
The recording also includes a collection of inspirational hymn tunes, representative of the music heard around the world on the weekly radio program Music and the Spoken Word. Begun in the 1920s, this popular program usually includes familiar hymns and short sacred choruses from many sources, often in arrangements composed especially for the grand forces of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Most of the impressive arrangements on this recording were contributed by the associate directors of the Choir, Mack Willberg and Barlow Bradford.
Opening the disc is a powerhouse version of the popular German hymn tune, "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty," arranged by Willberg for chorus, organ and orchestra. Another well-known German hymn, "All Creatures of Our God and King," is also included here in an arrangement by Bradford. Traditional Irish and English hymn tunes include the lyrical "Take Time to Be Holy," arranged by organist John Longhurst; and Willberg's arrangements of "The King of Love My Shepherd Is," and "All Things Bright and Beautiful."
Three popular hymn tunes of prayer and supplication are also featured in this collection: "Sweet Hour of Prayer," "Abide with Me," and an expressive performance by tenor soloist Christopher Cock of "I Need Thee Every Hour."
Other familiar and favorite hymns included on this recording are "Lead, Kindly Light;" "Arise, O God, and Shine;" "The Spirit of God Is Like a Fire Burning;" the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts;" "Sing Praise to Him;" the American folk hymn "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing;" and a beautiful setting of "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling."
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been featured on two previous Telarc recordings under its new music director Craig Jessop, who succeeded long-time conductor Jerold Ottley in 1999. The first was a recording of Brahm's A German Requiem (CD-80501) in a new English adaptation by Robert Shaw. In 2000, Telarc released a collection of Christmas hymns and songs, A Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas (CD-80552), which also featured the newly formed, all-volunteer Orchestra at Temple Square.