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American Choral Music

Jeanne Ellison Shaffer: "I have described the text in such detail because it is so carefully planned and moving that it would be extremely powerful when spoken. Shaffer's music is first of all a marvelous enhancement. The intense, yet fluid rhythms are true to the words, both in accent and in meaning. [This piece] demands skilled performers, which this recording has. Johannes Somary: "The bouncing rhythm of Over the fence and the somewhat plodding rhythm of the first lines of Some keep the Sabbath are appropriate, and I found the distorted waltz rhythm of Two Butterflies went out at Noon especially intriguing. The cycle opens and closes with poetry about sunsets--a true circle--and Somary provides a Schumannesque touch by adding an effective postlude. This is a fine addition to the repertoire for women's voices." Jocelyn Mackey, Pan Pipes of Sigma Alpha Iota.

[Shaffer] produces moments of real power, beauty, and reflectivity...The exchanges between a solo quartet and choir in section 7--Blessed are the peacemakers--are quite effective, and the succeeding blessing and two prayers for peace are lovely and quite moving.... Written for women's voices with flute, viola and piano, [the Somary piece] sets seven of Emily Dickinson's delightful lesser trifles with tenderness and whimsy, illuminating Dickinson's poetic images." American Record Guide.


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