The Austin Chronicle


New CD of Kevin Puts' music allows the company of voices to be a 'Swan' and 'Touch the Sky' once more

By Robert Faires, September 6, 2013, Arts

If you missed Conspirare's stunning debuts of "If I Were a Swan" and To Touch the Sky last season, you're in luck. The two choral works, commissioned from Pulitzer Prize for Music winner and former University of Texas composition instructor Kevin Puts by the professional vocal ensemble and the Thelma Hunter Fund of the American Composers Forum, were recorded for a new CD on Harmonia Mundi USA. Conspirare shares the disc with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performing Puts' Symphony No. 4 ("From Mission San Juan"), but its pieces are so strong that they're worth the price alone. Puts' knack for conjuring the natural world in sound is much in evidence here, and Conspirare voices his evocations – the thrum of bird wings beating, the quivering of aspen leaves, the warm glow of twilight, a sunburst – with its characteristic clarity and beauty.

If that isn't enough Conspirare for you, though, the company of voices is also releasing One Voice, a recording of its 2012 holiday concert featuring soloists Kathlene Ritch and Charles Wesley Evans. And you can purchase it and the Puts disc at a CD release party Thursday, Sept. 12, 5-7pm, at Waterloo Records, 600-A N. Lamar. Evans and Conspirare singer Mela Sarajane Dailey (soprano soloist in To Touch the Sky) will perform, with Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson at the keyboard, after which they will sign CD copies purchased on-site.

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