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  • Reena Esmail (b. 1983):
  • 1When the Guitar06:29
  • Nico Muhly (b. 1981): How Little You Are:
  • 2How Little You Are: No. 1, We Washed Our Faces at the Spring07:33
  • 3How Little You Are: No. 2, Do You Remember06:05
  • 4How Little You Are: No. 3, A Long-Drawn Wall06:23
  • 5How Little You Are: Interlude. Springtime03:00
  • 6How Little You Are: No. 4, How Little You Are07:14
  • 7How Little You Are: No. 5, The Night Herders10:35
  • Kile Smith: The Dawn's Early Light:
  • 8The Dawn's Early Light: No. 1, I, Sarah Winnemucca01:35
  • 9The Dawn's Early Light: No. 2, My Grandfather Jumped Up04:03
  • 10The Dawn's Early Light: No. 3, While They Were Fishing04:47
  • 11The Dawn's Early Light: No. 4, The Paiutes Are Not Fond of Going to War02:15
  • 12The Dawn's Early Light: No. 5, The Star-Spangled Banner05:28
  • 13The Dawn's Early Light: No. 6, I Shall Be Beautiful02:57
  • Craig Hella Johnson (b. 1962):
  • 14The Song That I Came to Sing02:45
  • Total Runtime01:11:09

Info for The Singing Guitar

Music for choir and guitars with Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Texas Guitar Quartet, Austin Guitar Quartet and cellist Douglas Harvey.

The wonderful Conspirare chamber choir, known for its interpretive depth and otherworldly sonic lushness, offers another of its captivating programs—this time joined by three superb guitar quartets—in a program remarkably relevant to our time.

Nico Muhly’s musical mediation How Little You Are evokes powerful landscapes of American pioneers in a compelling work for choir and 12 guitars; soprano Estelí Gomez is a featured soloist. Kile Smith’s The Dawn’s Early Light sets selected text from Native American Sarah Winnemucca’s autobiography that addresses the significant divisions in our human family. The texts present contrasting perspectives of Sara Winemucca, the first Native American to publish and English language narrative, and the pioneer women whose texts are set in Muhly’s piece.

Indian-American composer Reena Esmail’s “When the Guitar,” in a new instrumentation created for Conspirare and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, opens the album. Conspirare’s sopranos and altos join cellist Douglas Harvey in Craig Hella Johnson’s “The Song That I Came to Sing”.

Conspirare gratefully acknowledges the following for their support of this recording: Anonymous, Dale and Tina Knobel, Legacy of Sound 2, Hella Circle, CAPTRUST: STMM, National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, City of Austin Economic Development Department, Cultural Arts Division and St. Luke’s Methodist Church.

“I always want to find ways for listeners to have their own rich experience of knowing a work deeply and being moved by its unique language and expression.” (Craig Hella Johnson)

Austin Guitar Quartet
Craig Hella Johnson, conductor
Douglas Harvey, cello
Estelí Gomez, soprano
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
Texas Guitar Quartet

Craig Hella Johnson
is the Founding Artistic Director and Conductor of the Austin-based, internationally renowned, Grammy®-nominated choir Conspirare. Additionally, he serves as Music Director of Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble and Artistic Director of the Victoria Bach Festival.

In 1998, Johnson was Artistic Director of San Franciscobased Chanticleer and from 2000-2005 was Music Director of Houston Masterworks Chorus. Known for crafting thoughtprovoking musical journeys that create deep connections between performers and listeners, Johnson is in frequent demand as a guest conductor of choral and orchestral works in the USA and abroad. Johnson was named Texas State Musician for 2013, received the Louis Botto Award from Chorus America in 2009 and was inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame in 2008. Johnson served as the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Texas in Austin from 1990 to 2001 and was appointed Texas State University’s first Artist-in-Residence in Fall 2012.

Johnson’s compositions, arrangements, and edited scores are published by Alliance Music and as part of the Craig Hella Johnson Choral Series with G. Schirmer and Hal Leonard. He also performs as a pianist and singer in a variety of styles. Johnson studied at St. Olaf College, the Juilliard School, the University of Illinois, Yale University, and at the International Bach Academy with Helmuth Rilling as a National Arts Fellowship recipient.

This album contains no booklet.

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