House of Voices

House of Voices

The Great Wallendas of new choral music
Yu-Hui Chang
Ted Hearne
Donald Crockett
Eric Moe
Wayne Peterson
Mark Winges
Robert Geary
Catalog Number: 
new classical

San Francisco, CA

Release Date: 
Jul 31, 2012
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

Under the direction of founder and artistic director Robert Geary, the twenty professional singers that make up Volti lead the nation in the discovery, creation and performance of new vocal music and are the only six-time winners of the Chorus America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music. On their new album, House of Voices, they introduce six 21st-century works from American composers of dazzling range and diversity, including five Volti commissions.

The program opens with Yu-Hui Chang’s Being: Two Collins Songs, wherein the composer sets two very different poems by Billy Collins. The playful Shoveling Snow with Buddha contrasts with the meditative The Night House, from whose text the album draws its name. Next is Ted Hearne’s Privilege, a 5-movement rumination on the inequities of contemporary life which weaves together his own texts, portions of a Bill Moyers interview of David Simon (creator of HBO’s The Wire) and a South African anti-Apartheid folk song. Donald Crockett then takes us to the vast expanses of Tuva (near Mongolia) for a sonic portrait of the nomadic tribes still living much as their ancestors have for centuries in the haunting Daglarym/My Mountains.

Eric Moe sets Matthea Harvey’s strange and wonderful prose poem The Crowds Cheered as Gloom Galloped Away, in which we are introduced to a world where mail-order antidepressant medication comes packaged with six tiny ponies who are tasked with trotting away with your sadness. San Francisco Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Wayne Peterson contributes the lovely Two Poems of Delmore Schwartz, and the disc finishes with a major new work by Volti’s resident composer Mark Winges, Luna, Nova Luna. Co-commissioned by Volti and the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, this remarkable piece was part of a multi-year cycle of commissioning works for professional chamber choir and high-level children’s choir.

Listening to Volti’s music is like visiting a modern art museum – stimulation for the mind, the imagination and the heart.


“… an innovative and visionary spirit that is willing to push boundaries and take an active role in shaping our musical landscape and future.”   — Charles Amirkhanian    

"[R]avishing. All of it is a testament to the excellence of the Volti ensemble. The music has a direct, straightforwardly aesthetic quality that should be accessible to a larger-than-usual audience for new music." [FULL ARTICLE]
Greg Edwards