Westminster Williamson Voices Recording Nominated for a Grammy

Conducted by James Jordan, James Whitbourn's "Annelies" is the first major choral setting of the Diary of Anne Frank
Sunday, December 8, 2013

Annelies, the Westminster Williamson Voices’ recording of James Whitbourn’s setting of The Diary of Anne Frank, conducted by James Jordan, was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Choral Performance category.  The recording also features soprano Arianna Zukerman, The Lincoln Trio and clarinetist Bharat Chandra.

The recording industry's most prestigious award, the Grammy is presented annually by The Recording Academy's voting membership to honor excellence in the recording arts and sciences. It is a peer honor, awarded by and to artists and technical professionals for artistic or technical achievement, not sales or chart positions.  Winners were announced in Los Angeles on Sunday, January 26, and the top prize went to the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir's recording of Arvo Pärt's Adam's Lament.

The first major choral setting of Anne’s Frank’s diary, Annelies takes the teenager’s remarkable and penetrating observations, written while hiding in an Amsterdam attic, as the basis of a libretto by Melanie Challenger. Gramophone magazine praised the ensemble’s performance on the recording and described its singing having “a precision and finesse normally found in the best of the UK's large chamber choirs, complementing the exhilarating performances of the soloists and orchestra.”

“I have had the privilege of working with these fine young musicians for a number of years and have come to learn the true value of the methods of their conductor, James Jordan,” composer Whitbourn said about the Westminster Williamson Voices and its conductor. “Their preparation for this recording was one of total immersion, not only in the text and the music but also in wanting to learn the historical context and the philosophical questions that arise from attempting to create a work of art from so devastating a tragedy as the Holocaust.”

Praised by reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic, The Westminster Williamson Voices has distinguished itself in the choral world for its artistry, recordings, educational outreach and its mission to perform new music. American Record Guide praised the ensemble as “without peer.” Choral Journal has recognized the Westminster Williamson Voices an ensemble of “supreme artistry” and a choir that performs with “truth and precision.”

James Jordan is recognized and praised around the musical world as one of the nation’s pre-eminent conductors, writers and innovators in choral music. The most published performer/author in the world and described as a “visionary” by The Choral Journal, he has written more than 30 books on all aspects of the choral art.  His book Evoking Sound was cited as a “must read” on a list of six books by The Choral Journal. Professor at Westminster Choir College, he conducts Westminster Schola Cantorum and the Westminster Williamson Voices.

Annelies was recorded by Princeton-area recording engineer John Baker in May 2012 at the Princeton Meadow Church and Event Center.

It is available online at amazon.com, naxos.com and iTunes.

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"Annelies" takes the teenager’s observations as the basis of a libretto by Melanie Challenger.