First Drop

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Conductor:

Conducted by Paul Hillier since 2003, Denmark’s Ars Nova Copenhagen has built an immovable reputation as one of the world’s most versatile and inventive vocal ensembles. First Drop is testament to that spirit. Music by Steve Reich, Terry Riley, David Lang, Michael Gordon, Howard Skempton, Luis Andriessen, Gabriel Jackson, Kevin Volans and Pablo Ortiz.

Conducted by Paul Hillier since 2003, Denmark’s Ars Nova Copenhagen has built an immovable reputation as one of the world’s most versatile and inventive vocal ensembles. First Drop is testament to that spirit; it’s a wide-ranging and ambitious project that interprets the choral work of some of the giants of contemporary classical music, including Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Louis Andriessen, Michael Gordon, David Lang and more. 

“Almost all the works on this CD are first recordings,” Hillier explains, referring to one source of inspiration behind the title. “Ideally we wanted the idea of First Drop to remain ambiguous, but the diligent listener will sooner or later notice that it originates with Ralph Waldo Emerson.” 

Recorded over a stretch of nearly ten years, in different locations and with different configurations of singers, the performances documented here still come across as parts of a seamless whole. From the haunting strains of Michael Gordon’s He Saw A Skull (composed specifically for the 12 voices of Ars Nova) to Hillier’s vocal arrangement of Steve Reich’s classic Clapping Music, First Drop channels a vernal energy that’s unparalleled in new vocal music.

  • "...a disc that is full of delights and surprises"

    Paul Hillier, the venturesome director of (among other things) the Danish chorus Ars Nova Copenhagen, provides a personal guide through the recent works on this lovely new release. But in truth, you don’t need his written testimony.

    San Francisco Cronicle
  • The Times: First Drop review

    Most impressive is Jackson’s L’Homme armé, an antiwar meditation deriving from a 15th-century song, and a harmonic triumph.

    The Times
  • Edel

    Ein großartiges Porträt der Arbeit Paul Hilliers mit Ars Nova Copenhagen über ein Jahrzehnt hinweg. Eine solche Platte nach persönlichen Bekanntschaften zusammenzustellen, kann als extravagant gelten, wirkt bei Hillier aber durchaus sympathisch. 

    www.klassisk.com